Ganga Dussehra- Observance & Significance
About Ganga Dussehra
Ganga Dussehra is one of the major festivities observed in India in the honor of Goddess Ganga who is also popular as Gangavataran. The day is celebrated to mark the descent of Ganga on Bhumi (Earth). Because of the sacred Ganges coming on the Earth, it became purified and attained a heavenly status. Ganga Dussehra is a ten-day long festival which starts a day before Nirjala Ekadashi.
When is Ganga Dussehra?
As per the Hindu calendar, the celebrations of Ganga Dussehra takes place in the month of Jyeshtha during the Shukla Paksha on the tenth day (Dashami Tithi). According to the Gregorian calendar, the day falls in the month of May.
What is The Significance of Ganga Dussehra?
Ganga Dussehra signifies the potential of sacred Ganges to purify the ten sins which are related to actions, speech, and thoughts. It is believed that when the devotees worship Goddess Ganga on this day then they get relieved from their present and past sins as well as also attain salvation. It is regarded as an auspicious day to make investments, purchase new house property, vehicle, etc. and also for entering into a new house.
What are The Rituals of Ganga Dussehra?
On the day of Ganga Dussehra, the devotees perform a number of rituals such as:
- Devotees wake up early in the morning and take a holy dip in the sacred Ganges.
- In the evening, the devotees also perform Ganga Aarti and offer flowers, Diya, betel leaves, fruits, and sweets to the sacred river.
- Devotees also perform meditation at the bank of the Ganges.
What is The Legend of Ganga Dussehra?
According to the Hindu scriptures and mythology, it is stated that in Satya Yuga, there was a King named Sagara who used to rule the Suryavansha dynasty. King Sagara was the ancestor to King Bhagirath.
Once, King Sagara performed the Ashwamedha Yajna in order to prove his primacy and sovereignty. Lord Indra was scared due to the outcomes of the Yajna and out of anxiety and fear he stole the horses of Ashwamedha Yajna so that it could not be completed. He left the horses in the hermitage of Sage Kapila.
When King Sagara and his sons came to know about the horses, they mistakenly thought Sage Kapila as the one who stole their horses. Thus, in anger and reprisal, all the sons of the King were about to attack the pious sage. But before they commited such sinful act, the sage cursed them and as a result, all of them were burnt.
Knowing about all the scenario, Sage Kapila returned back the horses to King Sagara’s grandson named Ayushman. He requested the sage take his curse back. To this, Sage Kapila told him that they could be relieved from their curse only when Goddess Ganga cascaded to Earth and purify all of them with her divine water.
Later, Bhagirath, one of the successors to the King performed great penance to seek the help of deities and to get rid of the past karma and to purify the souls of his forefathers. He knew that only Ganga possessed the power to sanctify him. Bhagirath performed huge penance and after ages finally, Lord Brahma provided him the assurance that Goddess Ganga will take birth on Earth and help him out.
But still, there was one major dilemma as the surge of Ganga was so compelling that it could completely destroy the Earth. Lord Brahma asked Bhagirath to request Lord Shiva to release the river from his hair as he is the only one who can control the flow of Ganga. Due to the devotion and true penance of Bhagirath, God Shiva agreed and thus Ganga came on Earth and purified the souls of his forefathers.
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How to Celebrate Ganga Dussehra?
- To celebrate the festival of Ganga Dussehra, devotees visit Varanasi, Rishikesh, Prayag, and Haridwar to take holy dips and meditate.
- Devotees also perform Pitra Tarpan for their deceased forefathers and their salvation on the day of Ganga Dussehra.