"The Ganga, especially, is the river of India, beloved of her people, round which are intertwined her memories
, her hopes and fears, her songs of triumph, her victories and her defeats. She has been a symbol of India's age-long culture and civilization, ever changing, ever flowing, and yet ever the same Ganga." - Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India, born in Allahabad on the Ganges.
The Delta Religious Significance Economic Significance Dams and the Farakka Barrage Pollution The Ganges River Dolphin Links
The river known as the Ganges is officially and popularly known by its Hindu name, Ganga. The river has its source in the Himalayas, at Gaumakh in the southern Himalayas on the Indian side of the Tibetan border. It is 1 560 miles (2 510 km) long and flows through China, India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The Ganges river basin is one of the most fertile and densely populated in the world and covers an area of 400 000 sq miles (1 000 000 sq km). The river flows through 29 cities with population over 100,000, 23 cities with population between 50,000 and 100,000, and about 48 towns.
Press to view a map of the Ganges River
The silt deposits of the delta cover an area of 23 000 sq miles (60 000 sq km). The river courses in the delta are broad and active, carrying a vast amount of water. The rains from June to October cause most of the Bangladeshi delta region to flood, leaving the villages that are built on artificially raised land isolated. On the seaward side of the delta are swamplands and tidal forests called Sunderbans which are protected conservation areas in both Indian and Bangladeshi law. The peat found in the delta is used for fertiliser and fuel. The water supply to the river depends on the rains brought by the monsoon winds from July to October and the melting snow from the Himalayas during the period from April to June. The delta also experiences strong cyclonic storms before and after the monsoon season which can be devastating. In November 1970, for example, 200 000 - 500 000 people were killed in such storms. The delta used to be densely forested and inhabited by many wild animals. Today, however, it has become intensely cultivated to meet the needs of the growing population and many of the wild animals have disappeared. The Royal Bengal Tiger still lives in the Sunderbans and kills
the daughter of the mountain god Himalaya. do still use the waterways to transport jute. Hindus regard the Ganges as the holiest of rivers. Hindus also cast the ashes of their dead in the river in the belief that this will guide the souls of the deceased straight to paradise.
Bernard Wolff/Photo Researchers. Burman and hill peoples. It is believed that any water that mixes with even the smallest amount of Ganges water becomes holy with healing powers. however. cotton and oilseeds. In the Ganges valley the use of irrigation canals has increased the production of cash crops such as sugarcane. where the mythical Saraswati river is believed to enter the Ganges.
. It was named after the goddess Ganga. At the confluence of the Ganges and and the Tamuna tributory near Allahabad a bathing festival in January and February attracts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims.
The people of the Ganges basin are of mixed origin. Inc. Sagar Mela and Kumbh Mela festivals. and Allahabad. Bathing in the river is believed to wash away one's sins. grain and other agricultural products. Pilgrimage sites are particularly significant along the river.
The Ganges has been used for irrigation since ancient times. Persians and Arabs intermingled with the original Aryans. two fifths of which lies in India and the rest in Nepal. Bird life in the Ganges basin is also prolific. the place where the Ganges leaves the Himalayas. West Bengal and Bangladesh. Water from the Ganges is used to cleanse any place or object for ritual purposes. Afghans. To bathe in the Ganga is a lifelong ambition for Hindus and they congregate in incredible numbers for the Sangam.about 30 villagers every year. tea. while in the east and south (the Bengal area) the people originate from a mixture of Tibetan. Before the 19th century much of the Ganges was navigable but this declined with the construction of railroads and the increasing use of water for irrigation. The hydroelectric potential of the Ganges is 13 million kilowatts. In the west and centre of the region Turks. Other holy pilgrimage sites along the river include Haridwar. There remains high fish populations in the rivers which provides an important part of the inhabitants' diet. Mongols.
They are solitary creatures and are only found in fresh water. but a permanent settlement has not yet been attained. However. See the Treaty. These factors include the damming of rivers for hydroelectric and irrigation purposes. Soil moisture and groundwater levels continue to decrease and the ecosystems of the region are being damaged. The major polluting industry along the Ganges is the leather industry especially near Kanpur. from which Chromium and other chemicals leak into the river. Bangladesh claims that the Farakka Barrage deprives the country of a valuable source of water on which it depends because the Ganges waters are vital to irrigation. Meghna. Under the GAP sewage is intercepted and water is diverted for treatment and several electrical crematoria have been built. navigation and prevention of saline incursions in the Bangladesh Ganges delta region. They use a sophisticated echolocation system to navigate and find food. The project is now in its second phase GAP II. Bhutan and Bangladesh. Karnaphuli http://www.6000 individuals left. They eat shrimp and fish from the mud in river bottoms. The construction of the Farakka Barrage at the head of the delta in West Bengal is a cause of major tension between India and Bangladesh.cetacea.
. Another huge source of pollution is that of the nearly 1 billion litres of mostly untreated raw sewage that enters the river every day.org/ind.Dams and the Farakka Barrage
The Haridwar dam diverts melted snow from the Himalayas to the Upper Ganges Canal which was built by the British in 1854. The Ganges river dolphin is an endangered species as a result of a number of factors.jpg and Hoogli river systems.
Pollution of the Ganges has become so serious that bathing in and drinking its water has become very dangerous. 1996. The river water is so muddy that vision is useless and so these dolphins are blind and their eyes have no lenses. after its construction the salinity of water and soil increased markedly . There are only approximately 4000 . India claims that the port of Calcutta is being detrimentally effected by deposits of silt and by the intrusion of saline seawater. To counter these effects fresh water is diverted into the Bhagirathi River via a large canal from the Ganges at Farakka. in the Ganges. They are also hunted by humans for meat and oil. and the increase in boat traffic. Also recurring floods caused by siltation and the opening of the Farakkaits Barrage sluice gates during the monsoon season resulted in extensive damage to crops. Bangladesh holds that there should be joint control between India and Bangladesh over the waters of the Ganges as an international river. Brahmaputra.
The Ganges River Dolphin
The Ganges river dolphin (platanista gangetia) is found in India. Nepal. Inadequate cremation procedures result in partially burnt or unburnt corpses floating in the river. In 1980 the Ganges Barrage Project was set up by the Bangladeshi government in an attempt to maintain the ecological balance and save crops and property from the recurring floods and droughts. fishing and pollution. The Ganga Action Plan (GAP) was set up in 1985 by the Indian government with British and Dutch support to build a number of waste treatment facilities. Interim agreements have been reached between India and Bangladesh on this issue .the "Treaty Between the government of the Republic of India and the government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on Sharing of the Ganga/Ganges Waters at Farakka" signed on December 12. This water is used for irrigation but has greatly diminished the flow of the river and has led to the decay of the Ganges as an inland waterway.