Geology of Ganga River
Geology of Ganga River relates to natural resources found in the river. The abundance of illite, chlorite, smectite and kaolinite has been recorded in the river. The varied degrees of physical and chemical weathering in the Ganga River basin has also been recorded. From the early post-glacial deposits, the dominance of physical weathering prevalent at the time can be comprehended.
Geography of Ganga River
Geography of Ganga River relates to the features of the river. Ganga River is 2525 km (1,569 meters) long and drains an area of approximately 1000000 square kilometers. Ganga River helps in sustaining one of the world's highest densities of population in India. Major cities along the river are Haridwar, Rampur, Moradabad, Allahabad, Kanpur, Varanasi and Patna.
Origin of Ganga River
Origin of Ganga River is in the Gangotri glacier in the Indian state of Uttarakhand in central Himalayas. Here, the confluence of five headstreams namely, Bhagirathi River, Alaknanda River, Mandakini, Dhauliganga and Pindar at Dev Prayag takes place.
Course of Ganga River
Course of Ganga River relates to the journey of the river. After traveling 250 km through the narrow Himalayan valley, Ganga River emerges in the pilgrimage town of Haridwar in the Shivalik Hills. At Haridwar, a dam diverts some of the waters of the river into the Ganges Canal, which links the Ganges to its main tributary, the Yamuna River. The Ganges now begins to flow in the south-eastern direction through the plains of northern India. From Haridwar, the river passes about 800 km (500 meters) through the city of Kanpur, before the 'sangam' or union with the Yamuna River from the southwest at Allahabad. The union of three rivers namely, Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati takes place at Triveni Sangam in Allahabad.
Ganga River forms a stretch between Allahabad and Malda in West Bengal through many rivers such as the Kosi River, Son River, Gandak River and Ghaghara River. On its way it passes through the towns of Mirzapur, Varanasi, Patna and Bhagalpur. At Bhagalpur, the river wanders past Rajmahal Hill and changes its course southwards. At Pakaur, the river branches out from the Bhagirathi River and forms the Hooghly River. Close to the border with Bangladesh, the Farakka Barrage, built in 1974 controls the flow of Ganga River, diverting some of the water into a feeder canal, which is linked to Hooghly to keep it relatively silt free. Fanning out into a 350 km (220 meters) wide Ganges Delta, the Ganga empties into Bay of Bengal and also enters Bangladesh.
Religious Significance of Ganga River
Religious Significance of Ganga River is immense and the river is considered to be the most sacred of the Indian rivers by the Hindus. They worship the river as a goddess namely, goddess Ganga. It is mentioned in the ancient scriptures that the water of Ganga River carries the blessings of Lord Vishnu. Therefore, Ganga River is also known as Vishnupadi, which means "Emanating from the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, Sri Vishnu." The river is mentioned in the Rig Veda, the earliest of the Hindu scriptures. In Nadistuti, the river is mentioned as flowing from east to west. According to Hindu religious beliefs, King Bhagirath pleaded Lord Shiva and was granted his wish that goddess Ganga comes down on earth to bring to life his expired ancestors. Hindus believe that bathing in the Ganga River frees one from sins and helps in attaining salvation. People immerse the ashes of their kin in the river which is believed to send the soul to heaven. Some of the most significant Indian religious festivals are held on the banks of the Ganga River such as the Kumbha Mela and the Chhath Puja. Many sacred places such as Haridwar, Varanasi and Kashi lie along the banks of Ganga River.
Economic Significance of Ganga River
Ganga River is an important source of fertile soil and significantly affects lives and settlement in the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Agriculture in India and Bangladesh depends on Ganga River. Ganga River and its tributaries provide water for irrigation to an extensive area. The chief crops cultivated in the area include rice, sugarcane, lentils, oil seeds, potatoes and wheat. Along the banks of the river, swamps and lakes provide a rich growing area for crops such as legumes, chillies, mustard, sesame, sugarcane and jute. Fishing along the Ganga is a possibility, but it is important to note that the river remains highly polluted.