The perennial river Ganga originates in the mighty
Himalayas and flows through the Northern Plains of India and drains into
the Bay of Bengal. The Northern plains of India have been shaped by the rich alluvial
deposits carried by the river over a vast period of time.
The Ganga is associated with the legend of the penance carried out by King Bhagirata
to bring the heavenly river down to the earth.
The Ganga has its source in the Gangotri
glacier in the lofty Himalayas at a height of about 14000 feet above sea
level. Bindu -Sar - near Gangotri is referred to as the spot where
Bhagirata is believed to have carried out his penances.
At its origin, the river is referred to as Bhagirati.
The Jahnavi and the Alakananda merge with the Ganga in
the Himalayas. On the banks of the Alakananda is the ancient Himalayan pilgrimage town of Badrinath. Heading down through Rishikesh, the river descends down to the
plains at Haridwar - also
referred to as Gangadwara.
The Ganga then flows through the state of Uttar
Pradesh and Bihar through the ancient pilgrimage towns of Benares
and Prayag. Prayag (Triveni Sangamam)
marks the confluence of the river Yamuna with the Ganga.
About 250 miles before reaching the ocean, the river
divides itself into several streams, and drains into the Bay of Bengal. Also merging with
the Ganga here is the river Bhramaputra. The Ganga assumes other names
such as the Padma and the Meghna.
One of the islands at the mouth of the river Ganga is
the Gangasagar - said to be the location of the
hermitage of Kapila Muni, who is associated with the legend of Bhagiratha and the descent of the