Main Facts About the Ganges River

  • The Ganges River is approximately 1550 miles (2500 kilometers) long. While it is not large enough to be listed in the top 25 longest rivers, it is an extremely significant landmark in the region culturally and spiritually
  • The origin of the Ganges begins high up in the Himalayan Mountains before flowing down through the Gangetic Plains of India and ending up in a giant delta in Bangladesh feeding into the Bay of Bengal
  • Some of the most populated areas in the World exist along the path of the Ganges because the river provides water and nourished soil for improved agriculture
  • The Ganges is considered sacred by many people, especially in Hinduism, and it is generally agreed upon as the national river of India

The Source of the Ganges River

The Ganges River actually begins its amazing journey in ice caves in the Southern layer of the Himalayan Mountains near the border of India and the Tibetan region of China. As the river is considered sacred by Hindus, many people visit the source of the Ganges in order to bathe in the glacier waters.

Where the Ganges Flows

The path of the Ganges has had a tremendous amount of influence on where human civilization has concentrated itself in the area. Densely populated cities have developed on its banks. The origin of the river begins at the mountainous top of India and from there it flows through Northern and Central India Eastward through the Gangetic Plains. The Ganges provides irrigation and rich soil all throughout the region and helps make the land fertile enough to produce a wide variety of crops. The land nourished by the river is highly cultivated and is worked vigorously to attempt to supply as much agricultural output as it can for the overpopulated area.

The End of the Line: Ganges Delta

As the Ganges travels out of Northeast India and into neighboring Bangldesh, it is joined by the Brahmaputra River to form an absolutely massive combined delta called the Ganges Delta. This delta actually starts more than 200 miles from where it eventually ends and empties into the Bay of Bengal. The entire delta area is naturally prone to flooding.

The Ganges River as a Sacred River

The Ganges is held in the highest of spiritual esteem by many people living around the Gangetic regions. The river has numerous religious backstories and myths that prove the lofty status the Ganges holds in Hinduism, where it is represented by the Goddess Ganga. Some people will drink small amounts of water from the river to purge their sins upon their death, and some people make plans for ash-spreading or cremation along the river after their death.

Bathing in the Ganges River

In the opinion of many, bathing in the Ganges River is considered a very important religion event. To many,the water of the Ganges is Holy, known for its ability to wash away sins and metaphorically cleanse the soul. The act of bathing in the Ganges is a rite of passage, in a sense – something that each person must experience at least once in their lifetime.

Ganges River Pollution

Despite its reputation as a spiritual cleanser, the river is quite polluted. The Ganges is in such bad shape numerous organizations in the environmental community (including the World Bank, who pledged a billion dollars in late 2009) are actively involved in trying to solve the problems and alleviate the further dirtying of the Ganges. Certain areas along the river have been polluted too heavily by overuse and have become bacteria ridden threats holding a hodgepodge of dangerous waterborne diseases. In the opinion of some resources, the Ganges River is one of the dirtiest and most polluted rivers in the entire World, and is the farthest thing from safe for bathing in.