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Bhogawati – The Underground Ganga River

From heaven, Bhagirath and the divine river, Ganga, journeyed towards Kailasha, the abode of Lord Shiva. Bhagirath was on a divine mission to bring Ganga down to the earth, but he was acutely aware of the potential consequences. If Ganga descended directly to the earth, her immense force would be unbearable, causing catastrophic collapse.

Understanding the gravity of the situation, Ganga herself acknowledged that only Shiva possessed the power to contain and regulate her force. Bhagirath, leaving Ganga behind, embarked on a journey of devotion to seek Shiva’s assistance. Upon reaching Kailasha, Bhagirath fervently prayed to Shiva, who inquired the reason for his visit yet again.

Bhagirath explained the dilemma: the earth was too fragile to endure the tremendous weight and velocity of Ganga’s descent. He earnestly requested Shiva’s intervention to moderate her speed and prevent disaster. Moved by Bhagirath’s devotion and recognizing the urgency, Shiva agreed to assist.

In a dramatic turn of events, Ganga leaped onto Shiva's head. Shiva, with his massive locks of matted hair, enveloped Ganga, causing her to become entangled within the labyrinth of his tresses. Lost and unable to find her way out, Ganga remained trapped.

Seeing this predicament, Bhagirath once again sought Shiva's help to release Ganga. In response to Bhagirath’s sincere prayers, Shiva parted his locks, allowing Ganga to flow out gracefully. This significant event occurred at Haridwar, a place that became holy due to Ganga’s emergence from Shiva’s hair.

As Ganga continued her journey, a branch of her waters made a crack in the earth and went underground, forming a subterranean river known as Bhogawati. This underground flow symbolized the hidden, sustaining aspects of the divine river, nourishing the earth from below. Thus, Ganga manifested both as a visible and an invisible river, enriching the earth in multiple ways.