Course of River Ganga
River Ganga is one of the largest rivers of the Indian sub continent. It originates in the Gangotri glacier and traverses through the great Indian plains of North India. Right from its origin to its confluence with the ocean, river Ganges flows through many ancient pilgrimage towns and cities of India. Some of the important pilgrimage centers on River Ganga are Rishikesh, Haridwar, Prayag and Varanasi.
Rishikesh is the Gateway to the Himalayas. It is at Rishkesh that one experiences the might and purity of the Ganges River. Situated in the serene atmosphere of the Himalayas, Rishikesh has been an important Hindu pilgrimage center for centuries. Many ancient as well as modern temples are located on the banks of River Ganga, at Rishikesh. Besides the temples, the most important attraction at Rishikesh is the Lakshman Jhoola (a bridge) across the Ganges. In recent times Rishikesh has developed as an important center of adventure sports, including water rafting.
In Hindu religion, Haridwar is famous as the Gateway to God. The River Ganges enters the North Indian plains at Haridwar. Haridwar forms an important destination for the Hindu pilgrims from all over the world. Kumbha Mela, one of the most sacred events for Hindus, is held at Haridwar, Prayag, Nashik and Ujjain. The Kumbha Mela occurs four times every twelve years, once at each of the four locations. Millions of devotees gather at Haridwar on the occasion of Kumbha Mela and other important Hindu festivals. Har ki pairi, where the entire riverside is lit up with the glow of hundreds of lamps, in the evening, is the most important pilgrimage spot in Haridwar.
Prayag is another important pilgrimage center for Hindus. It is one of the four pilgrim places, where the "Kumbha Mela" is held. The place where river Ganga merges with River Yamuna is called "Sangam". Prayag is an ancient pilgrimage site and attracts thousands of Hindu pilgrims every year from all over the world.
Varanasi, also known by the name of Kashi or Benaras, is the most venerated of the Hindu pilgrimage sites in India. Varanasi, known as the cultural capital of India, is located on the banks of the holy Ganges River.