| Ganga The Goddess
Ganga, representing the river Ganga (Ganges) is shown white in color, wearing a white
crown, sitting on the sea animal crocodile, holding in her right hand a water lily and in
her left hand a lute.
Rig Veda mentions the name Ganga only twice but in the later Puranic period, Ganga assumes
great importance as a Goddess. She is called Mandakenee in the heaven and Bhagirathi in
patal. Purans declare that the sight, the name and the touch of Ganga takes away all sins
and that bathing in Ganga bestows blessings of the highest order. The cremation of a dead
body at the banks of Ganga and the immersion of the remains of a dead in its water after
cremation elsewhere is considered propitious. Gangajal, the water of Ganga, is very
sacred, and is used for many pujas (religious ceremonies). Those who die within specified
limits of Ganga, called Gangakshetra (the land of Ganga), are believed to go to the
heavenly world and all their sins washed away.
The other sacred rivers for Hindus are, Yamuna, Saryu, Sindhu, Godavari, Kaveri, Narmada,
Gomti, and Brahmaputra.