Ganges River – Location, Pollution, Rites and Ancient Traditions –

Ganges, that moves quicklythat is the true meaning of the name of this mystical, religious river, full of mystery and spirituality. The most sacred river in India, a river that is capable of healing the soul of sins while the body is alive, and is in charge of starting the reincarnation process when the body dies. In this article titled Ganges River – Location, Pollution, Rites and Ancient Traditionswe are going to deal with the religious aspects of the river and the problems that come with being the most visited river in India.

Ganges River – Location

The Ganges rises in the Himalayas western, at a place called Gomuhk, or “cow mouth” sheltered in a cave, receiving the name of Bhaguirati, specifically in the Gangotri glacier. It runs for 210 km alone and with great bravery until linking up with the calm Alaskan River, coming from the Nanda Devi mountain, from this point and after the confluence of both rivers, receives the name of Ganges.

The Ganges flows from this moment to the east, passing through Haridwār, crossing the plains of northern India where it will receive the contribution of water from numerous tributaries, rivers and lakes. Forming after dividing into many smaller rivers such as the Hoogli or Padma, the delta of the Ganges, where it empties.

The length of Ganges ranges between 2,500 and 3,000 km, giving shelter to a large concentration of population on its shores. The contribution of water from the Ganges makes its basin one of the most fertile. But due to the concentration of population, its waters are highly polluted.

Ganges River – Pollution

Talking about health and talking about Ganges is talking about two very different things, a dichotomy between tradition and healthwhich in other cases could be compatible, is not in the case of the Ganges and India.

Considered the most sacred river of India, the Ganges welcomes hundreds of children every summer who come to its waters to learn to swim, while a crowd made up of thousands of people bathe at any time of the day.

But this practice is not the most recommended, The Ganges River is considered one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Waste of all kinds such as sewage, industrial waste, remains of semi-burned bodies in funeral rites, float in its waters, generating a breeding ground for bacteria all types.

This raises a problem, from the point of view medical, It is reckless and insane to bathe in the Ganges River, but for the mostly Hindu citizenry, it is a blessing to dip and bathe in it. According to published studies, it is estimated that every day it is poured into the river about 300 million liters of wastewatersince all sewage and drainage systems of the cities ends as in the case of the city of varanasi in the Ganges river.

The offerings are another polluting source of the river, according to the Hindu tradition, “Whoever is created in Varanasi is free from Mokshatherefore he is freed from Karma, which makes body parts cremated be deposited as a offering in the river.

If we take into account that a year they can burn about thirty-two thousand human bodies, the amount of human remains that may be floating down the river are innumerable. Special mention when it comes to the corpses of poor or homeless people, since they cannot pay for their cremation, it is done with materials of low calorific value, which means that the bodies are thrown into the river practically without burning, whole.

The industrial contributions of an emerging economy, where the number of factories are increasing practically exponentially, dumping all their waste materials, including heavy metals like chrome or cadmium to the river.

All of this increases the risk of contracting diseases transmitted by water, the most serious diseases being those caused by the Ecoli bacteria, causing strong diarrhea and even causing death by septicemia.

Ganges River – Ancient Rites and Traditions

As we have commented before, the Ganges river embodies the goddess Ganga, which according to the Hindu religion is the goddess of purification. The myth explains the birth of the Ganges, at the beginning of which it ran only through the sky, until the king Bhagarthi He wanted to wash away the ashes of his ancestors with the river that flowed through the sky, but if the river fell suddenly it would annihilate the people who lived on earth, so he softened the fall by making it fall first on the ground. shiva headwho with her curls stopped the water and made it fall drop by drop on the ground.

The faith that pilgrims have in the purifying power of its waters, makes them make trips that are sometimes exhausting and extremely long until they reach the Ganges, to later drink its waters or bathe in them, on some occasions, the pilgrims arrive in a terrible health condition.

The Hindus, by their faith, are convinced that if a body dies and is burned on the banks of the Ganges and its ashes scattered by it, your soul will go straight into Nirvana or paradise. Since according to Hindu reincarnation, the body will reincarnate as many times as necessary until it achieves the purity necessary to enter Nirvana.

The Hindus who are burned and their ashes scattered by the Gages, are automatically purified, not needing to reincarnate anymore to get to paradise.

Every spring It is estimated that more than 100,000 Hindus, celebrate at the birth of Mother Gangesin the Sacred City of Haridwar, where they deposit on the river Ganges some small boats made with leaves and stuffed with marigold petals dipped in clarified butter or ghi, this butter is set on fire and they are set sail.

But like everything in India has its castes, in Varanasi the suns are in charge of cremations, converted into a trade, they are in charge of watch over the sacred fire used to set the funeral pyre on fire. When a family wants to go through the cremation process, they must pay the domsbuy the firewood and incense necessary for the ritual, something that many families in India cannot afford.

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