Ganga Dussehra Festival: Honoring the Life Line of Varanasi
Ganga Dussehra festival is celebrated to mark the descent of Ganga on Earth. People gather on Varanasi ghats for worship and bring peace and prosperity in their lives.
Ganga Dussehra festival is another landmark in the cultural and unique festival celebration of Varanasi. Hindus celebrate this festival to acknowledge the descent of the Ganga on Earth. Though this festival is not limited to the boundaries of Varanasi, residents of this holy city celebrate it with extreme faith.
Ganga Dusshera History & Legend
Is Ganga Dussehra auspicious? The festival of Ganga Dussehra is auspicious among Hindu communities because Ganga came down to Earth on this day to free the ancestors of Bhagirath from the curse.
Before descending to Earth, Ganga was in the stoup of Brahm Dev. Ancient sage Bhagirath spent many years in the worship of the Goddess and requested her to come down to Earth to clear out his ancestors from the curse. But why the ancestors of this great sage were given a curse? Furthermore, by whom?
Several years back, the great ancestor of sage Bhagirath, King Sagar, performed Ashwamedh Yajna to establish dharma and prove his supremacy. But Indra Dev became fearful of his power and stole the horses of Yajna and left the stolen horses in Rishi Kapil’s hermitage. However, when king Sagar’s sons found those horses in the sanctuary of the Rishi, they thought he only stole those horses. Unaware of the power of the sage, they attacked him and, in return, were burned to ashes.
Because of the death of King Sagar’s sons, the kingdom lost its peace and prosperity. To destroy the effect of this destructive energy and establish positivity again in the domain, Bhagirath did rigorous penance for years. It is the result of his meditation that Ganga descent on Earth. But the flow of Ganga was so strong that it could have eradicated Earth. Further, pleased with the worship and request of Bhagirath, Lord Shiva contained Ganga in the matted coils of his hairs and let her fall from his Jata.
Even today, Ganga emerges from Gangotri in Himalaya, the abode of Lord Shiva. Read about another great festival of Varanasi, Dev Deepawali.
Cultural Significance of festival
Why is Ganga Dussehra celebrated? What do we do in Ganga Dussehra? Ganga Dussehra festival celebrations are significant among people around the world. Devotees worship the Goddess to seek Her blessings. Goddess grants relief from the hardships, worry, anxiety and concern. This day is auspicious for house warming ceremony, starting new ventures, or purchasing valuable items.
As per Vedic belief, Ganga Mata washes ten sins related to thoughts, action, and speech. Devotees who offer prayer on this day attain salvation. But, if due to any reason, if you cannot take a dip in the holy water of the river, then put a few drops of Gangajal into your regular bath water and take a bath from it. To know about Nak Nakatiya click here.
How is Ganga Dussehra Celebrated?
People worship the Ganga as India’s holy river and seek Her blessings for good fortune. On the day of Ganga Dussehra, they light several lamps to bring peace and prosperity to their life. After bathing in the waters of river Ganga, Devotees meditate and perform Pitru puja. After that, they sail a leaf-laden boat with a lit Diya and some flowers. Subsequently, they donate things to needy people. The Ganga Dussehra Daan must include a donation of ten items; even dip in the holy water should also be ten in numbers.
People keep fast on this day to pay homage to Ganga Mata, light incense sticks, offer flowers, do Aarti with floating Diyas. The Ganga river banks are decorated, and the atmosphere is lit with religiousness and festivity. Fairs are organized, people gather in groups and sing devotional songs. Priests perform special Aarti on Ghats of Varanasi.
When & Where Ganga Dussehra is Celebrated
The festival of Ganga Dussehra is essential for the people. It falls on the Dashmi tithi, the tenth day, Shukla Paksha of Jyestha month. Generally, this day falls on the day before Nirjala Ekadashi.
People in large numbers gather on the river banks of Varanasi, especially Dashaswamedh Ghat, to take a dip in the holy water with the belief to purify their body and soul.
The city of Varanasi is essential to Hindus since it is the favorite city of Lord Shiva. As per Vedic scriptures, Shiva promised never to desert this city. There are 84 Ghats in Varanasi, representing 84 lac yonis, or births. Scriptures mention that a soul has to pass through 84 lacs yonis to take birth in a human form. Further, if any soul is cremated in Varanasi or anyone visits Varanasi during his lifetime, they will attain salvation.
Q- In which month is Ganga Dussehra celebrated?
A- As per the Hindu calendar, the festival falls in the month of Jyestha, and as per the Georgian calendar, it falls in May/June.
Q-Where to go to see the ritual or procession of the festival?
A- It is celebrated in a magnificent way on Dashaswmedh Ghat, Varanasi. Though, you can perform ritualistic puja on any ghat.
Q- Is Ganga Dussehra is only celebrated in Varanasi?
A- Apart from Varanasi, people celebrate this festival in Prayagraj, Garhmukteshwar, Haridwar, and Rishikesh.