20+ Ganges River Facts: That Will Leave You Water-Wowed!

The Ganges is a transboundary river that flows through two countries, India and Bangladesh. This river rises in the western Himalayas, is situated in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and meets with the Bay of Bengal. This river flows almost 2525 km or 1569 miles through the Gangetic plain of North India. 

This river is a lifeline to millions of Indians who depend on it for their everyday requirements. This river continues into Bangladesh, changing its name to the Padma River. So, in this article, we will now explore some amazing facts about the Ganges River in Asia.

Interesting Ganges River Facts

The origin and length of the Ganges River:

Ganges River

The Ganges River is the most important and sacred in India. It is a lifeline to millions of Indians who live near its course and rely on it for their daily needs.

This sacred river originates from the Gangotri glacier, located on the southern slopes of the Himalayas. This glacier is located almost 14000 feet above sea level. Also, the Ganges River flows through two countries, India and Bangladesh.

For most of its course, this river flows through the lands of India. However, it has a large delta, which lies mostly in Bangladesh.

It is the third-longest river:

The incredible length of this holy river of India makes it the third-longest river in the world. It passes through several states in northern India, including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and Bihar.

It is the heart of Indian culture:

Mythologists, geographists, and historians consider this remarkable river as the heart of Indian tradition, culture, and also living. Moreover, the word “Ganga” is also mentioned in Rig Veda, though it is unclear if the reference is mainly about the river.

Moreover, according to the ancient and sacred scriptures of Hindu Mythology, such as Skanda Purana, the goddess Ganga is Lord Murugan or Karttikeya’s foster mother. Lord Karttikeya is the son of Supreme Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.

The water of the Ganges is holy:

Holy Water of Ganges

Millions of pilgrims take home small and big containers of water from there to give to friends and family, as the water of this river is considered holy in India.

Moreover, this river is considered the holiest river in India, with a great amount of spiritual, religious, and ritual significance. Many Indians bathe in this river to purify themselves. 

There are mainly six auspicious days that are decided by the alignment of stars when Hindu devotees enter this river to wash away their sins, along with freeing themselves from the samsara or the cycle of death and rebirth.

It is a ‘tirtha’:

Tirth Place

The banks of the Ganges River are considered a ‘tirtha’ that is known to be a crossing point between earth and heaven. Mahabharata describes this river as the “best of rivers, which is born of all the sacred waters.” Moreover, this river is personified as the goddess Ganga in Hindu mythology.

Some of the important cities of India are located on the banks of this holy river, such as Hrishikesh, Hardwar, Varanasi, Allahabad, Patna, Kanpur, and Bhagalpur.

By the Ganges river, there are many popular pilgrimage destinations:

Besides the banks of the Ganges River, you can see many popular pilgrimage destinations in India, like Ayodhya, the alleged birthplace of Lord Rama; Varanasi, Mathura; the reported birthplace of Lord Krishna; Mount Kailas in Tibet, known as the home of Supreme Lord Shiva’s mountaintop heaven, and also Kurukshetra, the location of a great battle in the Mahabharata.

An integral part of the Hindu religion:

According to Hindu mythology, the Ganges River is the daughter of Lord Brahma, the universe’s creator. Lord Shiva brought this river down from heaven to earth to purify the people’s souls. 

Also, this river is a popular site for the scattering of ashes after cremation, as, according to the Hindus, this river could help the deceased soul attain liberation.

Rivers that flow into the Ganges:

Several important rivers of India flow into the Ganges River; some of those are Ramganga, Gomti, Ghaghara, Gandaki, BurhiGandak, Koshi, Mahananda, Tamsa, Yamuna, Son, and Punpun.

Many historically famous cities or imperial capitals were on river banks. Some of those capitals and provinces were Munger, Kara, Kannauj, Pataliputra, Patna, Kashi, Delhi, Kolkata, Murshidabad, and many more.

The Padma River and the Ganges Delta:

After entering Bangladesh, the Ganges’ main branch is the Padma River. The Jamuna, the largest distributary of the Brahmaputra river, then joins the Padma River. Next, while going further downstream, the river Padma joins the Meghna River. 

The Delta of the Ganges River is created by the large, sediment-laden flows of both the rivers, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, and is known as the world’s largest delta with an area of 25000 square miles or 64,000 square kilometers.

The animals on the banks of the Ganges River:

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the upper part of the Gangetic Plain sheltered several species of wild animals, such as Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, gaurs, Indian rhinoceros, sloth bears, barasinghas, and also Indian lions.

However, in the 21st century, there are few wild animals like wild boars, deer, wildcats, and a few numbers of golden jackals, Bengals, and red foxes can be seen.

Also, only a few threatened animals can be found in the upper part of the Gangetic Plain, such as the elephant, tiger, sloth bear, and four-horned antelope.

The birds of the riverbanks on the Ganges:

Birds at Riverbanks

Various types of birds can be seen throughout the basin of the river Ganges, such as Psittacula parakeets, myna, crows, partridges, kites, and fowls. Snipes and ducks migrate across the Himalayas during the cold winter days, attracted to a vast wetland area.

There are no endemic birds in the upper Gangetic Plain; birds like the lesser florican and the great Indian bustard are considered globally threatened species.

The Ganges basin:

The Ganges river basin ranges from the Himalayas and the Trans-Himalaya in the north. Then it proceeds to the northern slopes of the Vindhya range, located in the south, from the Aravalli in the west to the plateau of Chota Nagpur and the delta of Sunderbans in the east.

Within the Himalayas, the basin of the Ganges River spreads around 1200 km from the Yamuna-Satluj divide. 

The hydrologic cycle:

Hydrologic Cycle

The Southwest Monsoon actually governs the hydrologic cycle in the basin of the Ganges River. Almost 84% of the overall rainfall occurs in the monsoon season from June to September. Also, the streamflow in the Ganges River is mostly seasonal. 

The seasonality flow of this river is so acute that it may result in floods and drought. Particularly, Bangladesh experiences drought during the dry season and also suffers from floods during the monsoon.

Fishes in the Ganges river:

It has been estimated that almost 350 fish species live in the entire drainage of the river Ganges. According to a major study, almost 143 fish species, including ten non-native introduced species, live within the basin of this river.

Some diverse orders of fish can be seen here, such as catfish, barbs, allies, and perciform fish, all comprising much of the total fish species in the drainage.

The threatened fish species in the Ganges:

The Ganges river basin is home to almost 30 species of fish enlisted as threatened species. These species have been threatened by pollution, overfishing, siltation, water abstraction, and invasive species.

Several species of fish migrate between various parts of the Ganges River, but these movements may be affected by dam building.

Dolphin of the Ganges river:

Another famous animal that lives in the Ganges water is the freshwater Ganges river dolphin. This animal has been declared the national aquatic animal of India.

Previously, this dolphin existed in large numbers in the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers. However, this species is now seriously threatened by dam construction and pollution.

Their numbers are now reduced to a quarter of their numbers of fifteen years ago. According to a recent survey by the World Wildlife Fund, only 3000 dolphins are left in the water catchment of both rivers.

Turtles and crocodiles in the Ganges:

The main parts of the Ganges river are home to mugger crocodiles and gharial. Also, the delta of this river is home to saltwater crocodiles. Also, you can see various types of semi-aquatic and aquatic turtles in the basin of this river. 

Some of those turtle species are the three-striped roofed turtle, northern river terrapin, black pond turtle, red-crowned roofed turtle, Indian black turtle, brown-roofed turtle, Indian eyed turtle, Indian tent turtle, Indian softshell turtle, Indian flap shell turtle, Cantor’s giant softshell turtle, and many more.

The Ganges river and pollution:

Polluted Ganges River

The river Ganges is suffering from severe pollution levels caused by the 400 million people who live near this river. Industrial waste, sewage from cities, religious offerings wrapped in plastics, and other types of pollutants fall into this river as it flows through many densely populated places.

Moreover, many poor people depend on this river for washing, bathing, and cooking purposes. Thus, this river is becoming more and more polluted. Thus, the Indian Government is trying to save this river from the clutches of pollution.

Therefore, the Ganges River is a significant part of India’s livelihood, culture, history, and environment. According to Hindus, this river can purify the soul and offer salvation. 

At the end of this article, we learned about 18 amazing facts about this significant river on our planet. These facts offer us a clear picture of this important natural resource of our world called the Ganges River. To know more, you may visit our website.

Ganges River Facts
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