A report on Ganges and Haridwar

Meandering main Ganga river, known here as Neel Dhara (left) and the Ganga canal (right), passing through Haridwar.
Bhagirathi River at Gangotri.
Ganga Aarti at Haridwar
Devprayag, confluence of Alaknanda (right) and Bhagirathi (left), and beginning of the Ganges proper.
Prince Bhagiratha in penance for the salvation of 60,000 of his ancestors.
The Himalayan headwaters of the Ganges River in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, India.
Gangadhara, Shiva bearing the Descent of the Ganges River as Parvati and Bhagiratha, and the bull Nandi look on. circa 1740
The Gandhi Setu Bridge across the Ganges in Patna, Bihar
Head of the Ganges Canal, Haridwar, ca 1894–1898.
A sailboat on the main distributory of the Ganges in Bangladesh, the Padma river.
Haridwar from the opposite bank of the Ganges, 1866
The Ganges delta in a 2020 satellite image.
Haridwar as a part of the United Province, 1903
A 1908 map showing the course of the Ganges and its tributaries.
Neeldhara Bird Sanctuary at the main Ganges Canal, before Bhimgoda Barrage, also showing signs of an ancient port.
The River Ganges at Kolkata, with Howrah Bridge in the background
Panoramic view of Har ki Pauri
Lower Ganges in Lakshmipur, Bangladesh
Panorama of Haridwar city from Mansa Devi Temple
Hardinge Bridge, Bangladesh, crosses the Ganges-Padma River. It is one of the key sites for measuring streamflow and discharge on the lower Ganges.
Main bathing Ghat, at Haridwar, in the 1880s.
Chromolithograph, Indian woman floating lamps on the Ganges, by William Simpson, 1867
The Clock Tower on the Malviya Dwip at Har Ki Pauri.
Descent of Ganga, painting by Raja Ravi Varma c. 1910
The Haridwar Kumbh Mela is held in every 12 years and the date is determined by Hindu astrology.
Preparations for cremations on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi], 1903. The dead are being bathed, wrapped in cloth, and covered with wood. The photograph has a caption, "Who dies in the waters of the Ganges obtains heaven."]
Das Mahavidya temple, Daksheswara Mahadev temple
Women and children at a bathing ghat on the Ganges in Banares (Varanasi), 1885.
Ropeway to Mansa Devi Temple, Haridwar.
Shiva, as Gangadhara, bearing the Descent of the Ganges, as the goddess Parvati, the sage Bhagiratha, and the bull Nandi look on (circa 1740).
Bholanath Sevashram temple by the Ganges, Haridwar
A procession of Akharas marching over a makeshift bridge over the Ganges River. Kumbh Mela at Allahabad, 2001.
Haridwar from Chilla Range, Rajaji National Park
Head works of the Ganges canal in Haridwar (1860). Photograph by Samuel Bourne.
Shiva statue by the Ganges, across Har-ki-Pauri, Haridwar
The Ganges Canal highlighted in red stretching between its headworks off the Ganges River in Haridwar and its confluences with the Jumna (Yamuna) River in Etawah and with the Ganges in Cawnpore (now Kanpur).
Shri Chintamani Parshwnath Jain Shwetambar Mandir
A girl selling plastic containers in Haridwar for carrying Ganges water.
Pantanjali Yogpeeth
Ganges from Space
Haridwar Railway station
Lesser florican (Sypheotides indicus)
The catla (Catla catla) is one of the Indian carp species that support major fisheries in the Ganges
The threatened gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is a large fish-eating crocodilian that is harmless to humans
The Gangetic dolphin in a sketch by Whymper and P. Smit, 1894.
People bathing and washing clothes in the Ganges in Varanasi.
The Ganges at Sultanganj.

The city is situated on the right bank of the Ganges river, at the foothills of the Shivalik ranges.

- Haridwar

After flowing for 256.90 km through its narrow Himalayan valley, the Ganges emerges from the mountains at Rishikesh, then debouches onto the Gangetic Plain at the pilgrimage town of Haridwar.

- Ganges

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David Teniers the Younger: Flemish Pilgrim

Pilgrimage

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Journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about their self, others, nature, or a higher good, through the experience.

Journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about their self, others, nature, or a higher good, through the experience.

David Teniers the Younger: Flemish Pilgrim
Ancient excavated Buddha-image at the Mahaparinirvana Temple, Kushinagar
Tibetans on a pilgrimage to Lhasa, doing full-body prostrations, often for the entire length of the journey
Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Israel according to tradition is the site where Jesus was crucified and resurrected
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima is one of the largest pilgrimage sites (Marian shrine) in the world.
Kumbh Mela
Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the black cube of the Kaaba in the Al-Haram Mosque
Arba'een pilgrims in Mehran
Jews at the Western Wall in Jerusalem during the Ottoman period, 1867
Sikh pilgrim at the Harmandir Sahib (the Golden Temple) in Amritsar, India.
Baishatun Pilgrimage: Mazu and her palanquin
The Yazd Atash Behram in Iran is an Atash Bahram, the highest grade of fire temple in Zoroastrianism

Kumbh_Mela_2013_Sangam,_Allahabd.jpg during Prayag Kumbh Mela]]Kumbh Mela: Kumbh Mela is one of the largest gatherings of humans in the world where pilgrims gather to bathe in a sacred or holy river. The location is rotated among Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain.

Kanwar Pilgrimage: The Kanwar is India's largest annual religious pilgrimage. As part of this phenomenon, millions of participants gather sacred water from the Ganga (usually in Haridwar, Gangotri, Gaumukh, or Sultanganj) and carry it across hundreds of miles to dispense as offerings in Śiva shrines.

Kabir, a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint

Varanasi

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Kabir, a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint
Banarasi sari
Tourists shopping for jewellery in Varanasi
Ganges view from Bhadaini water works, Varanasi
Ramnagar Fort was built in 1750 by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh.
Alamgiri Mosque
Memorial of Sant Ravidas at Sant Ravidas Ghat
Sarnath, the suburb of Varanasi
Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
Wall paintings, Varanasi, 1973
Sant Goswami Tulsidas Awadhi Hindi poet and propagator of Bhakthi music in Varanasi
Krishna standing on serpent Kaliya during Nag Nathaiya festival in Varanasi
The Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi
Indian Institute of Technology in Varanasi
The Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport is the main airport that serves Varanasi.
Varanasi Junction, is the main railway station which serves Varanasi.
Banaras railway station at night
Ring Road Phase I
Road in Varanasi Cantonment
BLW manufactured locomotives hauling load across the nation.
A lithograph by James Prinsep (1832) of a Brahmin placing a garland on the holiest location in the city.
A painting by Edwin Lord Weeks (1883) of Varanasi, viewed from the Ganges.
An illustration (1890) of Bathing Ghat in Varanasi.
Maharaja of Benares, 1870s.
Map of the city, c. 1914.
An 1895 photograph of the Varanasi riverfront.
The lanes of Varanasi are bathed in a plethora of colours.
Dashashwamedh Ghat
Manikarnika Ghat
The Jain Ghat/Bachraj Ghat
Kedar Ghat during Kartika Purnima
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the most important temple in Varanasi.
Shri Vishwanath Mandir has the tallest temple tower in the world.<ref name="Brief description">{{cite news|title=Brief description|publisher=Benaras Hindu University website|access-date=7 March 2015|url=http://www.bhu.ac.in/VT/|url-status=dead |archive-url=https://www.webcitation.org/6zTH4V8Me?url=http://www.bhu.ac.in/VT/ |archive-date=17 May 2018}}</ref>
The 18th century Durga Kund Temple
Parshvanath Jain temple

Varanasi is a city on the Ganges river in northern India that has a central place in pilgrimage, death, and mourning in the Hindu world, even as the traditions are transformed in the face of modernization, generational changes and emigration.

It is regarded as one of seven holy cities (Sapta Puri) which can provide Moksha; Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Kashi, Kanchi, Avanti, and Dvārakā are the seven cities known as the givers of liberation.

A view of temples on the banks of river Ganges near Laxman Jhula

Rishikesh

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City governed by Rishikesh Municipal Corporation , and a tehsil in Dehradun district of the Indian state Uttarakhand.

City governed by Rishikesh Municipal Corporation , and a tehsil in Dehradun district of the Indian state Uttarakhand.

A view of temples on the banks of river Ganges near Laxman Jhula
Students from around the world undergoing yoga teacher training by the River Ganges at Rishikesh, 2015
Rafting in Rishikesh
View of Rishikesh
Chit chat at bank of River Ganga at Rishikesh
Shiva statue near Parmarth Niketan which was washed away by the 2013 flood on River Ganga
Tera Manzil Temple
A temple in Rishikesh
Ghats by the River Ganges
Ram Jhula Bridge across the Ganges at Muni Ki Reti, built in the 1980s
A Hanuman temple in Rishikesh
Rishikesh Views
laxman jhula bridge

It lies 21 km north of the city Haridwar and 45 km southeast of the state capital Dehradun.

Legends state that Lord Rama did penance here for killing Ravana, the asura king of Lanka; and Lakshmana, his younger brother, crossed the river Ganges, using two jute ropes at the point where the present 'Lakshman Jhula' (लक्ष्मण झूला) stands today.

Uttarakhand

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State in the northern part of India.

State in the northern part of India.

Rope bridge across Alaknanda River at Srinagar, 1784-94 &ndash; the capital of the Garhwal Kingdom
Fort of Champawat, 1815 &ndash; the first capital of the Chand kings of Kumaon Kingdom
Uttarakhand as a part of the Ceded and Conquered Provinces
Uttarakhand as a part of Uttar Pradesh, 1950–2000
With the elevation of 7816 m above sea level, Nanda Devi is the highest mountain in Uttarakhand and the second-highest mountain in India, following Kangchenjunga in Sikkim.
With the elevation of 190 m above sea level, Sharda Sagar Reservoir is the lowest land point in Uttarakhand.
Topography of Uttarakhand.
Kumaon and Garhwal in Uttarakhand
Sumitranandan Pant Museum, Kausani
Bal Mithai, a popular sweet from Kumaon
Women performing Chanchari &ndash; a popular folk dance from Danpur region in Kumaon.
Pilgrims gather for the third Shahi Snan ("royal bath") at Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar, Uttarakhand on 14 April 2010 during Haridwar Kumbh Mela.
A woman winnowing rice, an important food crop in Uttarakhand.
Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun
Schematic tourist map of Uttarakhand.
Garhwal Himalaya mountain range in Kedarnath, Uttarakhand.
Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun.
Mahasu Devta Temple at Hanol is notable for its traditional wooden architecture.
Architectural details of a Dharamshala, established 1822, Haridwar.
Abhisarika Nayika, a painting by Mola Ram.
The releasing of the Uttaranchal crafts map
Alpine Musk Deer (Moschus chrysogaster)
Golden Mahseer (Tor putitora)
Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus impejanus)
West Himalayan Common Peacock (Papilio bianor polyctor)
Brahma Kamal (Saussurea obvallata)
Burans (Rhododendron arboreum)
Kaphal (Myrica esculenta)
Kandali (Urtica dioica)
Valley of Flowers National Park
View of a Bugyal (meadow) in Uttarakhand
Har Ki Doon, a high-altitude hanging valley
Rishikesh view and 13 stories Shiva temple across Lakshman Jhula bridge over the Ganges
Kedarnath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas

Two of the most important rivers in Hinduism originate in the glaciers of Uttarakhand, the Ganges at Gangotri and the Yamuna at Yamunotri.

Haridwar is one of the four places in India where this mela is organised.

Haridwar Kumbh Mela in 2010

Kumbh Mela

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Major pilgrimage and festival in Hinduism.

Major pilgrimage and festival in Hinduism.

Haridwar Kumbh Mela in 2010
Prayagraj Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013
A 2019 stamp dedicated to Kumbh Mela
Prayagraj Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013
A pot (Kumbh) containing Amrita was one of the creative product of the Samudra manthan legend in ancient Hindu texts.
Large crowds at the Ganga (Ganges) on a major bathing day in the 2019 Kumbh Mela
The first page of Prayag Snana Vidhi manuscript (Sanskrit, Devanagari script). It describes methods to complete a bathing pilgrimage at Prayag. The manuscript (1674 CE) has a colophon, which states "Copied by Sarvottama, son of Vishvanatha Bhatta, Samvat 1752".
Hindu pilgrims heading to the Kumbh Mela site
The Ashoka pillar at Allahabad (photo c. 1900) contains many inscriptions since the 3rd-century BCE. Sometime about 1575 CE, Birbal of Akbar's era added an inscription that mentions the "Magh mela at Prayag Tirth Raj".
Haridwar Kumbh Mela by the English painter J. M. W. Turner. Steel engraving, c. 1850s.
A cultural program pandal at Prayag Kumbh Mela (2019)
Kumbh Mela – a dip in the waters is one of the key rituals.
Cooking at Kumbh Mela in 2019.
Triveni Sangam during Allahabad Kumbh Mela, c. 2013.
Kumbh Mela at Haridwar.
Nashik Pilgrims gather for the Shahi Snan (royal bath) in Ramkund in Dakshin Ganga River, c. 1991.
Naga sadhu at a Kumbh procession (1998).
Water dip at the Kumbh festival
A cultural event at a Kumbh Mela pandal
A sadhu at Maha Kumbh, 2013.

It is celebrated in a cycle of approximately 12 years, to celebrate every revolution Brihaspati (Jupiter) completes, at four river-bank pilgrimage sites: Allahabad (Ganges-Yamuna-Sarasvati rivers confluence), Haridwar (Ganges), Nashik (Godavari), and Ujjain (Shipra).

The difference in Prayag and Haridwar festivals is about 6 years, and both feature a Maha (major) and Ardha (half) Kumbh Melas.

19th century Kalighat painting of goddess Ganga

Ganga (goddess)

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19th century Kalighat painting of goddess Ganga
A statue of Ganga, 17th - 18th century CE
Descent of Ganga, painting by Raja Ravi Varma c. 1910
Pilgrims at Haridwar on the occasion of Ganga Dussehra.

Ganga (गङ्गा or गंगा) is the personification of the river Ganges who is worshipped by Hindus as the goddess of purification and forgiveness.

Festivals like Ganga Dussehra and Ganga Jayanti are celebrated in her honour at several sacred places, which lie along the banks of the Ganges, including Gangotri, Haridwar, Prayagraj, Varanasi and Kali Ghat in Kolkata.

The Ganges Canal highlighted in red stretching between its headworks off the Ganges river in Hardwar and its confluence with the Jumna river below Cawnpore (now Kanpur).

Ganges Canal

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The Ganges Canal highlighted in red stretching between its headworks off the Ganges river in Hardwar and its confluence with the Jumna river below Cawnpore (now Kanpur).
Photograph of an old bridge on the Ganges Canal (constructed before 1854 during East India Company rule in India). The photograph was taken from a moving car.
Photograph (1860) of the head works of the Ganges Canal in Haridwar, by Samuel Bourne.
Photograph (2008) of the head works of the Ganges Canal in Haridwar, taken from the opposite side.
Watercolor (1863) titled, "The Ganges Canal, Roorkee, Saharanpur District (U.P.)." The canal was the brainchild of Sir Proby Cautley; construction began in 1840, and the canal was opened by Governor-General Lord Dalhousie in April 1854.
Photograph (2008) of an East India Company-era (1854) bridge on the Ganges Canal near Roorkee
The Ganges Canal.
The same East India Company bridge as in the lead paragraph photographed from the other side.
A water mill on the canal.
150-year-old locks on the canal.

The Ganges Canal or Ganga Canal is a canal system that irrigates the Doab region between the Ganges River and the Yamuna River in India.

The canal is administratively divided into the Upper Ganges Canal from Haridwar to Aligarh, with some branches, and the Lower Ganges Canal which

Haridwar district

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District in Garhwal which is a part of Uttarakhand, India.

District in Garhwal which is a part of Uttarakhand, India.

Neel Dhara Bird Sanctuary at the main Ganges Canal, before Bhimgoda barrage, also showing signs of an ancient port.
Prince Bhagirath in penance for the salvation of 60,000 of his ancestors.
Head of Ganges Canal, Haridwar, ca 1894–1898.
Haridwar as a part of the United Province, 1903
Ganga Dashara, at Haridwar
View of the 'Evening Aarti' at Har-ki-Pauri

It is headquartered at Haridwar which is also its largest city.

The legendary King Bhagirath, the great-grandson of the Suryavanshi King Sagar, (an ancestor of Rama), is said to have brought the river Ganges down from heaven, through years of penance in Satya Yuga, for the salvation of 60,000 of his ancestors from the curse of the saint Kapila.

An electric cremator in Austria

Cremation

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Method of final disposition of a dead body through burning.

Method of final disposition of a dead body through burning.

An electric cremator in Austria
Bronze container of ancient cremated human remains, complete with votive offering
The Aztec emperor Ahuitzotl being cremated. Surrounding him are a necklace of jade and gold, an ornament of quetzal feathers, a copilli (crown), his name glyph, and three sacrificial vassals to accompany him in the afterlife.
An 1820 painting showing a Hindu funeral procession in South India. The pyre is to the left, near a river, the lead mourner is walking in front, the dead body is wrapped in white and is being carried to the cremation pyre, relatives and friends follow.
The Woking Crematorium, built in 1878 as the first facility in England after a long campaign led by the Cremation Society of Great Britain.
The trial of William Price confirmed that cremation was legal in the United Kingdom. He was himself cremated after his death in 1893.
Advertisement for woollen envelopes to wrap the body in for cremation, appearing in the Undertaker's Journal, 1889.
A sketch from the Vrba–Wetzler report, showing the rough layout of the crematoria used at Auschwitz, one of the several Nazi German extermination camps in occupied Poland
Cremation of a human corpse inside an electric cremator
A relic found amid the ashes of Chan Kusalo (the Buddhist Patriarch of Northern Thailand) is placed inside a chedi shaped vial and displayed inside Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai.
Bone-picking ceremony at a Japanese funeral
Cremated ashes still in plastic bag
A U.S. Navy sailor scatters cremated remains at sea. Visible is the clear plastic inner bag containing the remains, and next to it the labeled black plastic box that contained the inner bag. This is normal in American packaging.
Cremation allows for very economical use of cemetery space. Mini-gravestones in Helsinki.
Cremation of the dead by Hindus in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
(Germany) A piece of fire clay used for identifying the ash after burning the dead body
(Germany) A cinerary urn. The laces are used to lower the urn into the ground
(Germany) A sealed cinerary urn, showing the ash capsule containing the remains of the dead, along with the name and dates
(Germany) The ash capsule
(Germany) An open ash capsule showing the remains of the dead
(Germany) Ash capsule and cinerary urn after 15 years
Burning ghats of Manikarnika, at Varanasi, India.
Cremation of Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat, 31 January 1948. It was attended by Jawaharlal Nehru, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, Maulana Azad, Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Sarojini Naidu and other national leaders. His son Devdas Gandhi lit the pyre.<ref>Cremation of Gandhi's body, JAMES MICHAELS, January 31, 1948</ref>
Cremation process at Pashupatinath temple.
A Hindu cremation rite in Nepal. The samskara above shows the body wrapped in saffron red on a pyre.
Cremation taking place at Pashupatinath Temple.

Hinduism obliges the closest male relative (son, grandson, etc.) of the deceased to immerse the cremated remains in the holy river Ganges, preferably at one of the holy cities Triveni Sangam, Allahabad, Varanasi, or Haridwar in India.