Before moving on to Ganga Dusshera in Varanasi, let’s know what exactly Ganga Dusshera is. The festival, celebrated across Varanasi and some marked regions of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal, observes the descent of the river Ganga on Earth. It spans over 10 days – beginning from the first day of ‘Jyeshtha’ (or June).
Thousands of devotees are seen taking a Holi dip in the sacred waters of Ganga to wash away their sins. Worshippers line up in long queues for their turn, while singing hymns and songs about Mother Ganga. In Varanasi, different Ghats are beautified for the occasion and attract a hoard of tourists.
Find out more interesting facts about the Ganga Dusshera in what lies ahead, we’re sure many of you wouldn’t have known them:
5. Take a Holi Dip in the Ganga to Wash Your Troubles and Sorrows
The river Ganga is not only a river in India; it is worshiped by the Hindus as their mother Goddess. The waters of the Ganga are supposed to be ‘the Holy Waters’, and this is the reason why hundreds of devotees gather every year at the various Ghats around Varanasi for a holy dip. It is believed that the dip washes off their sins, and also relieves them off their sorrows and troubles. The Ganga Dusshera is an auspicious occasion for all Hindus, and those who are unable to visit Varanasi, add some Ganga water to their bathing water.
4. Watch Thousands of Oil Lamps Lighting Up Varansi Ghats At Night
Hindu women offer floating lamps in the waters of the Ganga – a practice run for the past hundreds of years. You must have seen rituals like these in the movies. These lamps or diyas are made of clay and usually filled with oil or ghee. Wicks of cotton are then dipped into the ghee and lit inside the lamps before floating them.
Also offered by the women are many varieties of flowers, with a dominance of rose petals. After the puja at the ghats women bring home Gangajal (water of the Ganga) and reserve it for use at other auspicious occasions throughout the year.
3. Did you know the History? It all Started With the burning of 60,000 Boys
According to Mythology when King Sagara, one of the greatest kings in the Sata Yuga, decided to perform the ritual of Ashwamedha Yajana or horse sacrifice to prove his supremacy, Lord Indra stole his horse fearing the consequences of the ritual. Indra hid the horse at Kapiladeva’s ashram, while the sage was still meditating.
On hearing the about the stolen horse, King Sagara’s 60,000 sons were sent to get it back. But, they reached the ashram at an unfortunate time when the sage just finished his yajana. Not knowing about the hidden horse, he took their visit as disrespect, and consequently, fire emanated from their bodies on its own burning them down to ashes. Later, the sage sent the King a message that his sons could only be delivered to the King, if the Ganga descends to the Earth and so it did.
2. A Big Fair Awaits Everyone at Varanasi
Huge fairs for the visitors are organized at most of the centres; Varanasi being one of them. Local goods, beginning from handicrafts and food are available. After the fasting is over, Varanasi is lined with road vendors who sell mouth watering spicy treats. These fairs are a huge hit among visitors – sometimes attracting tourists who only come to visit these fairs. There is hardly anyone among us who doesn’t like to visit a fair and that too on such an auspicious occasion as that of the Ganga Dusshera. Along with packaged bottles of Gangajal, here is the place where you can buy beautiful idols of gods and goddesses, and take home other souvenirs too.
1. Perfect Time for Donations – You Can Bring Anything That is Usable
Donation of things like umbrellas, shoes, clothes and several other items of daily use is carried out in huge numbers to feed the poor of Varanasi and neighboring regions. It’s a great cause carried out through the course of the celebrations and one can really feel the cleansing of one’s sins after donating at least something. This is, however, not a mandate for anyone, and yet devotees collect items all year around to finally give them to the poor in Varanasi.