Among the most distinctive features of India are its various rivers that hold high religious importance among its people. Covering the vast geographical area these rivers have been an important reason for the rural prosperity of India. Carrying a wider importance in cultural, economical, geographical as well as religious development, the numerous river of India is of great value. The rivers are considered gods and are even worshiped among the Hindus. They provide tourists a wonderful insight into the historical, cultural and traditional aspect of India. Here is a guide to some of the holy rivers of India.
River Ganga, also known as the Ganges, is the greatest waterway in India. It is also one of the longest rivers in the world. Ganga originates in the Himalayas at Gaumukh and flows into the bay of Bay of Bengal. The great river provides water to many places and is synonymous to spirituality in India. A holy dip in the river is believed to absolve you from all accumulated sins. The river is the heart of Hinduism, inscribed profusely in the Vedas, the Puranas and the two Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. When a person dies and is cremated, their remains are released into the river because it is believed that is purifies the soul. There are hundreds of temples situated along the banks of this holy river.
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Originating from the Champasar Glacier at an altitude of 4421 mt in the state of Uttarkhand, river Yamuna or Yamnotri has a special mention in the Hindu mythology. Some believed that the source of river Yamuna is a glacial lake known as the Saptarishi Kund. Situated here is a scared temple dedicated to the Goddess Yamuna. According to Hindu mythology Yamuna is the consort of Lord Shri Krishna, and it is believed that Yamuna and Yama are the offspring of Sun God ‘Surya'. Hence whoever takes a dip in the holy waters of the river Yamuna gets free from the fear of death. Yamuna and Ganga are the most holy rivers in India.
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The River Godavari originates near Trimbak in Nashik and flows towards the Eastern Ghats and finally merges into Bay of Bengal. Godavari is the second largest river and considered to be one of the seven holy rivers. Kumbh Mela held at Nashik is well known as an important centre of pilgrimage in India because of the holy river. A holy dip in the sacred water of river Godavari is believed to free all from their sins.
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Kaveri River or Cauvery is a very sacred river in the southern region of India. It originates from the Brahmagiri Hill in the Western Ghats and flow towards the Bay of Bengal. The river travels along the states Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the southeastern direction. The striking Shivasamudram falls of the Kaveri river is the second biggest waterfall in India.
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River Narmada, originates from the Maikala ranges at Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh and flows between the Vindhya and Satpura ranges in a southwestern direction before finally meeting the Gulf of Cambay, an inlet of the Arabian Sea. It is believed that Narmada descended from the sky as per the order of Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology this river frees a human soul from all the sins and by simply her divine sight.
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The Kshipra River, also known as the Shipra, rises from the Vindhya Range north of Dhar and flows across the Malwa Plateau to meet the Chambal River. It is one of the holy rivers of Hinduism and the city of Ujjain is situated on its banks. Ujjain is an ancient city located in the Malwa region in central India renowned for one of the twelve celebrated Jyotirlingas in India known as Mahakaleshwar. Kumbh Mela festival, held once in every 12 years, takes place in Ujjain and millions of devotees flock to take a holy bath in the sacred Kshipra River.
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ThePamba River is the third longest river in the south Indianstate ofKerala and is the longest river in the erstwhile princely state ofTravancore.The Sabarimalatemple dedicated toLord Ayyappais located on the banks of this river. The Pamba originates at Pulachimalai hill in the Peerumeduplateauin theWestern Ghatsat an altitude of 1650 mt and flows throughRanni,Kozhenchery,Tiruvalla,Chengannur,Kuttanad,Karthikapally andAmbalappuzhataluks before emptying into the Vembanad Lake. Devotees heading to Sabarimala, stop at the banks of this river and take a dip in its waters before starting the climb uphill. It is believed that a dip in this river cleanses your soul and prepares you to meet the lord.
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The Krishna river originates in the western ghats nearMahabaleshwarat an elevation of about 1300 mt in the state of Maharashtra. It is one of the longest rivers in India and flows through the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh before merging in the Bay of Bengal at Hamasaladeevi in Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the oldest river in India and is sacred among the Hindus. The river is named on the name of the Lord Krishna and it is believed to resolve you of your wrongdoings. There are many pilgrimage centers on the banks of the River Krishna including Mallikarjuna temple (Srisailam), Amareshwara Swamy temple (Amaravati), Dattadeva temple, Sangameshwara Shiva temple, Ramling temple and Durga Malleshwara temple (Vijyawada). The center of attraction is the Krishna Pushkaram fair that is held once in 12 years on the banks of the river.
Photo Courtesy: Sarath Kuchi