Rituals of Ganga Dussehra
The celebration of Ganga Dussehra takes place at major ghats of India including Rishikesh, Haridwar, Garhmukteshwar, Allahabad and Varanasi. 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 in Himalayas 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.