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Thursday, 29 August 2013 20:37

The Ganga

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From the Himalayas, two main rivers, the Bagirathi and Alakananda, flow down towards the plains. Long before reaching the plains, however, they meet one another in a place called Devprayag. At this confluence, the great Ganga River begins.

The source of the Bagirathi is high in the Himalayas in a place called Gaumuck, in the Uttarkashi district of Uttaranchal. From Gaumuck, the river makes its way to Gangotri, a very holy place for Hindus. From there, it winds its way to Uttarkashi, but before arriving there, it passes through an electricity generating unit at the Maneri Bhali Dam in Maneri. Between Uttarkashi and Devprayag, the Bagirathi flows through Tehri where the biggest dam in Asia is currently under construction.

The Alakananda begins in the Satopanth Glacier, 15 kilometers north of Badrinath, in the Chamoli district. From the glacier it reaches Badrinath after going through Vasudhara. Badrinath is the biggest holy place on the banks of the Alakananda, and it is northern one of the four holy Dhams in the country.

Where the Alakananda meets other rivers along its path there is a prayag. All five of these famous confluences are in Uttaranchal, and they are known as Panch Prayag. In Devprayag, where the fifth confluence occurs with the Bagirathi, the river becomes known by only one name, the Ganga.

After reaching Rishikesh and Hardiwar, the Ganga leaves the hills and continues its meandering course into the plains. In  the plains, the Ganga fulfills the needs of many people and farmers. There are many holy places and holy cities along the banks of the river, such as Kanpur, Allahbhad, Varanasi, Patna, and Kolkata.

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