Created by Urvashi Shah Updated on May 24, 2018
India being a secular state has a number of religions to boast of. With many religions come different ideologies that people follow and hence emerges various festivals. One such festival is dedicated to Goddess Ganga. Yes, I am talking about the river Ganges here. Ganga is a celebrated river in India, holding a high religious value among the people. It is believed that taking a dip in the river Ganges helps one in getting rid of the sins. Ganga Dussehra is widely celebrated by Indians, on 24th May, who hold high sentiments about this river.
History Behind The Existence Of Ganges
It is believed that it was the 10th day of Jyeshta month when Goddess Ganga was descended on earth from the heaven. This day is celebrated as Ganga Dussehra. The word ‘Dussehra’ comes from 'Dus' which means ten and 'Hara' which connotes defeat. Thus, it is believed that praying on this day can help one attain salvation from 10 sins. As per legend, a Suryavanshi King, Bhagirath, did a lot of penance and hard work to please Ganga to come down to earth. It is on this day that he achieved success and Ganga embarked up on her journey on the earth. Since then, every year the occasion of Ganga Dussehra is celebrated by performing several rites and rituals of Ganga pooja to commemorate her.
When Ganga incarnated on earth, the occasion was obliged with rare ten Vedic astrologic calculations, that is, Jyeshtha month, Shukla Paksha (bright half), Tenth date, Wednesday, Hasta Nakshatra, Vyatipata yoga, Gar Anand Yog and Moon in Virgo and Sun in Tauras, and all these ten Yogas absorb all the ten sins by merely take a bath in river Ganga on the occasion of Ganga Dussehra.
Ganga Dussehra Rituals
Ganga Dussehra is celebrated at major ghats of India such as Varanasi, Allahabad, Garh-Mukteshwar, Prayag, Haridwar and Rishikesh. Amidst hundreds and thousands of pilgrims, the priests perform pooja of goddess Ganga. As mentioned above, on this occasion, one needs to take a bath or a dip in the holy Ganges. Since that is not possible for everyone, one can pray at some other river, holding a religious significance or with pure water at home. A recital pooja is also conducted in front of the idol of Goddess Ganga, which is adorned with white clothing and white lotus.
King Bhagirath and the Himalayas are also worshipped on this auspicious occasion. Lord Shiva being the prime deity should be worshipped on this day as he is the sole owner and holder of river Ganga and it was by his grace that Ganga began her journey on earth to purify the souls from their sins. A number of people make donations of 10 food items, consisting mainly fruits and black sesame seeds on this day.
River Ganga holds a lot of value mythologically, historically, religiously and economically for the Indians as it has nourishes and nurtures millions of beings every day from her origin at Gangotri in Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. Ganga's water is considered to be very sacred and is used by everyone for all Hindu rituals.
These are the things that you can teach your child about this auspicious occasion. You can even involve your little one during the Ganga pooja, to enlighten him/her more about the same.
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