(Last Updated on : 16/05/2014)
Ganga Dussehra is one of the most cherished festivals observed on Dashami tithi in the month of Jyeshtha
of Hindu calendar which falls in the month of June. It is believed that Rishi Bhagirath meditated for many years for convincing Ganga
to come down on the earth. Thus this festival is celebrated for honouring the descent of Ganga to the earth which is known as Gangavataran. Owing to its sacredness, River Ganga
holds a special significance in the life of Indians. It is worshipped as the most sanctified river of the country and with the belief that Goddess Ganga has the power to wash away all the mortal sins.
Rituals of Ganga Dussehra
The celebration of Ganga Dussehra takes place at major ghats of India including Rishikesh
. Thousands of pilgrims partake in the celebrations. Aartis are performed by the priests in the honour of Goddess Ganga. Standing beside, another priest pours water on the heavily cloth wrapped hands of the first priest for protecting him from burns. Chants and songs in the praise of Ganga can be heard from the devotees amidst the floral fragrances. They also take holy dip in the river. The river flows with great force by twilight, however pilgrims still do not cease to take the holy dip. It is believed that the dip in the river calms and cleanses the mind. In case a person is unable to take a bath, he performs Ardhaya near the river followed by Tarpan and Tilodak. In the evening the ambience of the ghat gets filled with the sound of kirtans, bhajans and shlokas. Leaf boats are also offered to the river with flames, sweets and flowers which creates a mesmerizing spiritual experience. On the occasion of Ganga Dussehra grand fairs
are organized at different parts of the country.
Significance of Ganga Dussehra
River Ganga is an important river religiously, historically, mythologically and economically. Originating from Gangotri
the river has nurtured numerous lives up to the Bay of Bengal
. The sacred water of Ganga River is extensively used in Hindu rituals
. The festival is entirely dedicated to commemorate the presence of this holy river in India. The name Dussehra
also signifies a special meaning in which 'Dus' refers to ten and 'Hara' means defeat. Thus is the believed that praying on Ganga Dussehra can help in achieving salvation from 10 sins.