Ganga Jayanti | Ganga Saptami
Ganga Jayanti also known as Ganga Saptami, Ganga Pujan is celebrated as the rebirth of Goddess Ganga on earth. It is celebrated on the seventh day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Vaisakh.
According to Shastras, Maa Ganga emerged from Lord Shiva’s hair in the Swarg Lok on Vaishakha Shukla Paksha Saptami, and hence this day is celebrated as Ganga Jayanti or Ganga Saptami. Ganga Dussehra also known as Gangavataran is different from Ganga Jayanti which is celebrated to mark her rebirth of the holy river on earth. Ganga Dussehra is the day when Maa Ganga descended on earth.
Religious scriptures Padma Purana, Brahma Purana, and Narada Purana have explained the significance of Ganga Saptami. The river we all love is referred to as Ganga Maiya or Mother/ Goddess Ganga by millions of people. It is said that on Ganga Saptami the holy river Ganga descended onto the earth. On Ganga Saptami devotees worship Goddess Ganga and take bath in the Ganges. A bath performed on this day washes away the sins of human births.
Legend of Ganga birth
Ganga Saptami is celebrated as the day Ganga River descended from the celestial region onto Lord Shiva’s matted locks and then a few drops of Ganga fell from Lord Shiv’s head onto the Himalayas. While in Kashi (Varanasi), Ganga Jayanti is observed as the day Ganga River descended from the celestial region to earth and Ganga Dussehra is regarded as the day when River Ganges reached the plains of India at Haridwar.
As per the Hindu mythological beliefs, Goddess Ganga first descended to Earth on the day ‘Ganga Dussehra’. However, once river Ganga violently entered into Sage Jahnu Rishi’s ashram and thereby disturbing his meditation. Sage Jahnu was much powerful than Ganga River and overwhelmed by anger. Sage Jahnu drank up Ganga’s water and only after being pleaded by Gods and King Bhagiratha, he released Ganga from his ear once again on the Vaishakha Shukla Paksha Saptami.
From then onwards this day marks the rebirth of Goddess Ganga and is also referred to as ‘Jahnu Saptami’. Goddess Ganga is also named ‘Jahnavi’ for being the daughter of Rishi Jahnu.
How Ganga Jayanti is celebrated
States of Allahabad, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Varanasi, engage in the morning and evening prayers. The holy water has its tributaries flowing down in these areas and is responsible for the social development here. With the rise of the morning Sun, people dip to take a holy bath. The prayers witness flower wreaths and diyas released into the holy water. If it is not possible to light diya near Ganga then you can light a diya in your house.
This followed by the performance of the Ganga Arati at the banks. Chanting the mantras of Ganga Sahasranam the devotees also narrates the ashes of their forefathers getting a Mokhsha after contemplating on the river. This belief originated when Ganga started flowing down from the Himalayas and managed to purify the sins of the ashes.
Suggested Read: Ganga Chalisa