Ganga Dushera is also known as Gangavataran, is a Hindu festival dedicated to the holy river, Ganga. It is believed that the Holy river Ganga descended from heaven to earth on this day.
This is a ten-day festival celebrated in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, and West Bengal, where the river flows. Ganga Dushera is held on Dashami of the waxing moon in the month of Jyeshtha. The festival starts from Amavasya and ends on the Shukla Dasami.
Haridwar, Varanasi, Garhmukteshwar, Rishikesh, Allahabad, and Patna are the main locations of the celebration. Every year Lakhs of devotees gather on ghats of river Ganga to take a dip in the river and seek purification from their past sins and eliminates the negative karma of their past.
It is believed that taking a dip in the river on this day will heal the devotee of any physical ailments. As Dasha means ten and Hara means destroy so taking bath during these ten days will eliminate ten sins that he has committed in the past life. On the same day river, Yamuna is also worshipped and various kite flying events are held and devotees also take a dip in river Yamuna.
Devotees offer leaf boats containing diya inside it along with sweets and flowers. Aartis in praise of Goddess Ganga is performed and people chant the mantra.
Ganga Aarti attracts huge crowds on a daily basis and on this day it is spectacular to see lakh of diyas floating on the water bed. The ghats of river Ganga is filled with music, mantras aroma of incense and flowers, creates an ambiance of divine bliss.
In 2020 Ganga Dushera is on 1st June, Monday.
Story of Ganga Dusshera
In ancient times, King Sagar of Ayodhya had almost six thousand sons. He performed Ashwamedha Yajna, where a horse was set loose to neighboring kingdoms. God Indra who did not wish the success of this ceremony stole the horse. Anshuman, the grandson of the king, searched for the horse and found it in a cavern adjacent to the place where Kapil Rishi was meditating.
Anshuman accused the sage of stealing, and the later was annoyed with this and burnt all to ashes. Later, Bhagirath the great-grandson of Sagar prayed to Brahma to let River Ganga flow on the earth, and he could cremate his ancestors. Brahma told him to seek the help of Lord Shiva.
So, Bhagirath invoked Lord Shiva, he stood on one leg and meditated. Lord Shiva was pleased with this devotion and to reduce the impact of the river on the earth, he let it flow through his hair. Thus, Bhagirath could cremate his forefathers.