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Ganga Dashami – Ganga Dashahara Festival

Ganga Dashami, also referred as Ganga-Dashahara, celebrates the birthday of River Ganga – her descent on earth. The festival begins on the Amavasi day in the Hindu month of Jyestha and ends on the Dashami tithi. The festival lasts for 10 days.

Goddess Ganga Devi is an important deity in Hinduism and bathing in the divine river is the believed to cleanse the sins committed. The ritual of bathing in Ganga is also a way to achieve moksha – the escape from the endless cycles of birth and death.

The festival of great importance in those places through which the Ganges flows especially at Haridwar and Prayag (Allahabad). Ganga is worshipped in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal during this period.

Apart from bathing in the river on the day, people mediate on the banks and recite the prayer dedicated to Ganga:
Devi suresvari bhagavati gange
Tribhuvana tarini tarala tarange
Sankara mauli viharini vimale
Mama matirastam tava pada kamala
Bhagirathi sukhadayini matas
Tava jala mahima nigame khyatah
Naham jane tava mahimanam
Pahi krpamayi mama ajnanam

The global warming phenomenon has started affecting Ganga and the glaciers that provide water to this perennial river is fast depleting. Environmentalists have been warning about the serious consequences that are in store, if we humans are not ready to change and live in harmony with nature. Many scientists have even predicated the death of River Ganga.

Ganga Dashami is an ideal opportunity to contemplate and usher in change and save Mother Ganga.
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