Holy river Ganga came down to Earth from the heavens on this day, or so is the belief. Taking a dip in the Ganges today is believed to cure people of their illnesses
Ganga Dussehra, also known as Gangavataran, is a Hindu festival celebrating the avatarana (descent) of the Ganges. It is believed by Hindus that the holy river Ganges descended from heaven to earth on this day. Ganga Dussehra takes place on Dashami (10th day) of the waxing moon (Shukla Paksha) of the Hindu calendar month Jyeshtha. The festival celebration lasts ten days, including the nine days preceding this holy day.
Ganga Dussehra is observed by Hindus mainly in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, and West Bengal, where the river flows. Haridwar, Varanasi, Garhmukteshwar, Rishikesh, Prayagraj, and Patna are the main locations of the celebrations, where devotees gather at the banks of the Ganges and perform aartis (a religious ritual in which a light lamp is moved clockwise circularly in front of a deity as a part of prayer) to the river. Taking a dip in the river on this day is believed to bring the devotee to a state of purification and also heal any physical ailments he may have. In Sanskrit, Dasha means ten and Hara means destroy; thus bathing in the river during these ten days is believed to rid the person of ten sins or, alternatively, ten lifetimes of sins
Celebrate India – Ganga Dussehra at major ghats of India!
Lakhs of pilgrims took a holy dip at Har Ki Pauri, with Ganga Dussehra being observed on Sunday with great religious fervor. With two back-to-back ‘sense of Ganga Dussehra and Nirjala Ekadashi, and the festival falling on a Sunday, pilgrims from different states of the country thronged the holy city.
Security was upped by the district administration in Haridwar. The main bathing ghat Har Ki Pauri and other bathing ghats along the stretch of Ganga were dotted with pilgrims throughout the day. Monday will again see an important bathing date of Nirjala Ekadashi, the 11th day of the lunar month
The river Ganga has a great religious, historical and mythological significance for Indians, especially Hindus. It rises at Gangotri, high in the snow-clad Himalayas and cascades down mighty boulders, flowing into the hot plains of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and finally meets the waters of the sea in the Bay of Bengal. The Ganga is revered all over India, even in places far from its course, and water from the Ganga is considered to be very sacred and is an important inclusion for all Hindu rituals.
Ganga Dussehra is a holy festival that is dedicated to the worship of the river Ganga and is celebrated for ten days, beginning on the Amavasya (dark moon night) and ends on the Shukla Dashami (tenth phase of the moon). It is celebrated on the 10th day of the month of Jyeshta as per the Hindu calendar. This period corresponds to the month of May or June according to the Gregorian calendar. This festival is celebrated with great fervor in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal
Mythology states that this is the day on which the sacred river Ganga descended on earth from heaven. So this festival is also known as ‘Gangavataran’ which means the descent of the Ganga. Regarded as a celestial river descending from heaven, Ganga is the most sacred river in India and is worshipped with a belief that Goddess Ganga can wash away all sins of mankind. The name Dussehra comes from ‘Dus’, which means ten and ‘Hara’ which is tantamount to defeat. Thus, it is believed that praying on this day can help you attain salvation from 10 sins and cure your physical ills. Ganga Dussehra is celebrated at major ghats of India such as Varanasi, Allahabad, Garh-Mukteshwar, Prayag, Haridwar and Rishikesh.
The spirit of celebration
Ganga Dussehra also symbolises the peaking of summer and hence devotees distribute lassi, sharbat, shikanji, and rose milk in various places.
While the priests and others performing ‘puja’ of the Yamuna by applying Chandan (sandal) and showering rose petals, kite-flying is an important an event. The largest crowds assemble at Haridwar, Mukteshwar and Varanasi of Uttar Pradesh.
Why is it important for devotees?
When the river came down to Earth, it brought along 10 rare Vedic astrology calculations namely- Jyeshtha month, Shukla Paksha (bright half), Tenth date, Wednesday, Hasta Nakshatra, Vyatipata yoga, Gar Anand Yog, Moon in Virgo, and Sun in Tauras. Now it is said that these ten Yogas absorb all the sins when a devotee takes bath in the holy river on Ganga Dussehra.
So it is believed that Hindus who take a dip in the river this day will be able to purify themselves and remedy their physical ills.