I heard this fact that actual origin was Ganga is Lord Vishnu's lotus feet, and it held on shiva's head by the brahma? please share me the actual source from scriptures. Thanks

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    Yes, that's true. The Ganga river originally came from Vishnu's right foot. It initially resided in Devaloka, but then Rama's ancestor Bhagiratha got it to come down to Earth. How it got onto Shiva's head is that the goddess Ganga was unwilling to come down to Earth, so when she was forced to come down she decided to try and drown the world. So then Shiva caught the river with his hair. Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 13:00
  • @KeshavSrinivasan : Thanks , borther but can u post answer from the scriptures which is mentioned this fact.. thanks Again, Jay Sriman-narayan Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 13:02
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    During Vamana (Trivikrama) avatara, lord's left foot reaches up to measure Satyaloka. Brahma, who is in Satyaloka, upon seeing it, uses his Kamandalu (sacred water pot), and washes Vishnu's foot. The resulting run-off from his toe, is akash-ganga. When Bhagiratha did penance to bring Ganga to earth, her strong force cannot be handled by earth, so he does more penance to Shiva who reduces force by collecting it in his dreadlocks and releasing it by removing just one strand. So, Ganges is sacred cos its connection with all 3 murtis - hand of Brahma, foot of Vishnu, head of Shiva.
    – ram
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 14:22
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    Source here and Srimad Bhagavatam 8.21.4
    – ram
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 14:24
  • it doesn't mean the water started flowing out of His feet. Before, it was water in Brahma's kamandalu, so not that significant, compared to after it washed Vishnu's feet, then that remnant became known as Ganga.
    – ram
    Commented Mar 20, 2019 at 18:24

3 Answers 3


Here is what Vishnu Purana says about Ganga:

Vishnu Purana 2.8

From that third region of the atmosphere, or seat of Vishńu, proceeds the stream that washes away all sin, the river Gangá, embrowned with the unguents of the nymphs of heaven, who have sported in her waters. Having her source in the nail of the great toe of Vishńu's left foot, Dhruva receives her, and sustains her day and night devoutly on his head; and thence the seven Rishis practise the exercises of austerity in her waters, wreathing their braided locks with her waves. The orb of the moon, encompassed by her accumulated current, derives augmented lustre from her contact. Falling from on high, as she issues from the moon; she alights on the summit of Meru, and thence flows to the four quarters of the earth, for its purification. The Śítá, Alakanandá, Chakshu, and Bhadrá are four branches of but one river, divided according to the regions towards which it proceeds. The branch that is known as the Alakanandá was borne affectionately by Mahádeva, upon his head, for more than a hundred years, and was the river which raised to heaven the sinful sons of Sagara, by washing their ashes. The offences of any man who bathes in this river are immediately expiated, and unprecedented virtue is engendered. Its waters, offered by sons to their ancestors in faith for three years, yield to the latter rarely attainable gratification. Men of the twice-born orders, who offer sacrifice in this river to the lord of sacrifice, Purushottama, obtain whatever they desire, either here or in heaven. Saints who are purified from all soil by bathing in its waters, and whose minds are intent on Keśava, acquire thereby final liberation. This sacred stream, heard of, desired, seen, touched, bathed in, or hymned, day by day, sanctifies all beings; and those who, even at a distance of a hundred leagues, exclaim "Gangá, Gangá," atone for the sins committed during three previous lives. The place whence this river proceeds, for the purification of the three worlds, is the third division of the celestial regions, the seat of Vishńu.

Here also Bhagvagt-Puran says about Ganga

Bhavat Purana canto 5 chapter 17

Sukadeva Gosvämi said: My dear King, Lord Vishnu, the enjoyer of all sacrifices, appeared as Vämanadeva in the sacrificial arena of Bali Mahäräja. Then He extended His left foot to the end of the universe and pierced a hole in its covering with the nail of His big toe. Through the hole, the pure water of the Causal Ocean entered this universe as the Ganges River. Having washed the lotus feet of the Lord, which are covered with reddish powder, the water of the Ganges acquired a very beautiful pink color. Every living being can immediately purify his mind of material contamination by touching the transcendental water of the Ganges, yet its waters remain ever pure. Because the Ganges directly touches the lotus feet of the Lord before descending within this universe, she is known as Vishnupadé. Later she received other names like Jähnavé and Bhägérathé. After one thousand millenniums, the water of the Ganges descended on Dhruvaloka, the topmost planet in this universe. Therefore all learned sages and scholars proclaim Dhruvaloka to be Vishnupada

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    Thanks brother I added another resource to your answer, because I found it recently. From Bhagvat Puran,, Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 13:33

Ganga is also called as Visnupadi. The story about the origin of Ganga is present in the Nagara kanda of the Skanda Purana.

Suta said:

When Bali was bound by Visnu, the powerful one, the three worlds, including the mobile and immobile beings were covered by the three steps (of his).

The first step was placed on the Hatakesvara Ksetra. The second step was placed on Maharloka then by the noble-souled one. When the Discus-bearing Lord attempted the third one, O excellent Brahmanas, the whole Cosmic Egg became split up and too small. When the Cosmic Egg became split up by the tip (toe) of the foot, pure water dripped down to the earth, slowly through the tip of the big toe.

The sacred water, clear like crystal, flooded the entire Brahmaloka. Its lustre resembled that of a jasmine flower and the moon. Fishes, tortoises and herds of crocodiles abounded therein. Ever since then she is remembered as Ganga, VisnupadI, in the world. She rendered the spot already sacred, still more sacred. It was thus, that the foot of Visnu came to be present there, O excellent sages. Then VisnupadI is remembered as destructive of all sins.



Devi Bhagavatam and Narada Purana also says that Ganga originated from the feet of Lord Vishnu -

Devi Bhagavatam -

“The Ganges, Gangā has sprung from the lotus feet of Viṣṇu; Her form is fluid-like; She is eternal. And She is the veritable burning fire to burn away the sins of the sinners.”

  • Chapter 1, book 9, Devi Bhagavatam

Nārada said :-- “O Lord of the Devas! At present I am desirous to hear the sin-destroying and virtue-bestowing stotra (hymn) of Gangā Devī, the Purifier of all those that are fallen from virtue, originated from the feet of Viṣṇu, the Lord of world and the husband of Lakṣmī.”

  • Chapter 12, book 9, Devi Bhagavatam.
  1. Narada Purana -

“The Ganga should be known as a merit-giving holy river since it has its source from the feet of Visnu, O Brahmana, and the Yamuna is born of the Sun. Hence their confluence is bound to be very auspicious.”

The goddess (viz. the holy river Ganga) originating from Visnu’s feet and held over the head respectfully by the Lord of the Universe (viz. Siva), deserves to be resorted to by sages and gods. What need be said that it should be resorted to by hapless human beings ?”

  • Chapter 6, Narada Purana.

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