Interesting Facts on Ganga

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Interesting Facts on Ganga

River Ganga holds great importance in the economic, social and cultural life of the Indian people in general and Hindus in particular. Here are some interesting facts on the most sacred River of India, Ganga.

  • River Ganga is about 1557 miles long (2506 km).
  • The Ganges basin is about 200 to 400 miles (322 to 644 km) wide.
  • The river Ganga originates at Gangotri glacier on the southern slopes of the Himalayas, some 14, 000 feet above sea level.
  • River Bhagirathi and Alaknanda join each other at Devprayag to form River Ganga.
  • Major pilgrimage places on River Ganga are- Rishikesh, Haridwar, Varanasi and Prayag (Allahabad).
  • The mouth of River Ganga forms a vast delta, the Sundarban delta (the largest delta in the world).
  • There are two major dams on the Ganga. One at Haridwar and the other dam is a part of the hydroelectric project at Farakka.

 Course of River Ganga

River Ganga is one of the largest rivers of the Indian sub continent. It originates in the Gangotri glacier and covers through the great Indian plains of North India. Right from its origin to its confluence with the ocean, river Ganges flows through many ancient pilgrimage towns and cities of India. Some of the important pilgrimage centers on River Ganga are Rishikesh, Haridwar, Prayag and Varanasi.

Char Dham (Chota Char Dham ).

The Chota Char Dham, is an important Hindu pilgrimage circuit in the Indian Himalayas. Located in the Garhwal region of the state of Uttarakhand, the circuit consists of four sites—Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath, and Badrinath.


Rishikesh is the Gateway to the Himalayas. It is at Rishkesh that one experiences the might and purity of the Ganges River. Situated in the serene atmosphere of the Himalayas, Rishikesh has been an important Hindu pilgrimage center for centuries. Many ancient as well as modern temples are located on the banks of River Ganga, at Rishikesh. Besides the temples, the most important attraction at Rishikesh is the Lakshman Jhoola (a bridge) across the Ganges.



In Hindu religion, Haridwar is famous as the Gateway to God. The River Ganges enters the North Indian plains at Haridwar. Haridwar forms an important destination for the Hindu pilgrims from all over the world.   Kumbh Mela , one of the most sacred events for Hindus, is held at Haridwar, Prayag, Nashik and Ujjain. The Kumbha Mela occurs once in every twelve years,  at each of the four locations. Millions of devotees gather at Haridwar on the occasion of   Kumbh Mela  and other important Hindu festivals. Har ki pairi, where the entire riverside is lit up with the glow of hundreds of lamps, in the evening, is the most important pilgrimage spot in Haridwar.

Prayag (Allahabad)
Prayag is another important pilgrimage center for Hindus. It is one of the four pilgrim places, where the "  Kumbh Mela " is held. The place where river Ganga merges with River Yamuna is called "Sangam". Prayag is an ancient pilgrimage site and attracts thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year from all over the world.

Varanasi, also known by the name of Kashi or Benaras, is the most venerated of the Hindu pilgrimage sites in India. Varanasi, known as the cultural capital of India, is located on the banks of the holy Ganges River.

 The Route

A rough idea of the route it takes. Here is a list of the main places the India Ganges River runs through (in order).

 Step 1: Uttarakhand (state + Start)

 Step 2: Kanpur, Soron, Kannauj, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Ghazipur, Bhagalpur

 Step 3: Through the Rajmahal Hills

 Step 4: Mirzapur, Ballia, Buxar, Saidpur and Chunar

 Step 5: The Bay of Bengal (Sea + End)

 It may not be the most accurate depiction of a rivers course but it is sufficient.

 Rivers that make up the Ganges:

 Alaknanda river, Dhauliganga river, Nandakini river, Nandprayag, Pindar river, Karnaprayag,  Mandakini river, Rudraprayag river and Bhagirathi river.

 Rivers that join the Ganges:

 Yamuna Kosi, Son, GandakiGhaghra, Padma River Jamuna River, Meghna River, Meghna's

 Another amazing fact:

Only the Amazon and the Congo remove more water from land than the Ganges.

 Other interesting things about the route - Dams:

 There are two main dams on the river, one at Haridwar which was constructed by the British in   1854 to irrigate the land around and to divert the Himalayan melt water into the Upper Ganges Canal. Consequently, thanks to brilliant planning and foresight, the result is that not enough water makes it into the Ganges river causing a greatly deal of the decay that we see today.

Dam number two is rather terrifyingly large hydro-electric job by where the river enters Bangladesh. This of course, has caused more problems, this time with Bangladesh who says that the river Hooghly is not getting enough water.

On the bright side, another dam has been proposed near to the Mahakali. This time though it will not just be any other dam.., but the highest dam in the world.

The India Ganges Dolphin:

Dolphins still somehow survives in the murky waters of the Ganges river although still greatly under threat from extinction.

The People of the Ganges:

The India Ganges river from start to finish, in some way or another influences over 400 million people. Quite a large proportion of this is made up from people living on chars - little islands made up of sediment. Despite these being only temporary islands they can and do support at any one time around 20,000 people.

The soil is extremely fertile making it ideal for raising cattle and growing crops. The people who make their lives islands are not recognised by the Bangladesh or Bengali governments. As a result they do not benefit from health care and other such benefits.