I was reading a newspaper article about river Ganga and it said that in ancient scriptures it was mentioned that Ganga must not be polluted and clothes must be washed at a distance from her. No one was allowed to discharge that water from washed clothes into river Ganga. Is washing clothes in Ganga a sin? What is the source where it has been mentioned that what are things which must not be done on banks of river to keep it clean?

  • 2
    not just Ganga, any river - one must not excrete in them, not spit, not even wash feet directly, first he must take some water from the river in a mug, wash his feet separately on ground, only then enter river for bathing. because river water is supposed to be drinkable, and we live in society, we should not pollute it for others. bathing with soap, using detergents to wash clothes like many poor people do etc. is not allowed because it is bad for environment and the people who depend on the river.
    – ram
    Mar 31, 2019 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


The BrahmANda-Purana prohibits the following thirteen activities in the Ganges:

saucham Achamanam sekam nirmAlyam malagharshaNam/gAtra-samvAhanam kridAm pratigraham athoratim/ anyatirtha-ratim cha eva anyatirtha-prashamshanam/vastratyAgam atha AghAtam santAram cha visheshatah//

So vastra-tyAga(leaving clothes in) and mala-gharshaNa (cleaning the dirt/soil by rubbing) in the Ganges are prohibited by the holy scriptures

The other prohivited acts are cleaning after urination/excretion (saucha), washing mouth (Achamana), pouring out/ emission/ seminal effusion (seka), throwing the remains of offering to a deity (nirmAlya), rubbing body for cleaning (gAtra-samvahana), sport (kridA), pratigraha-rati ( desire to accept gift), praising other holy places/rivers (anyatirtha-prashamsanam), Hitting(AghAta) and swimming (santAra).

Reference:Sri Sri, Ganga-Mahimamrita, Sitaramdas Omkarnath, Omkarnath Rachanavali, vol. 9, page 121

  • please explain all the thirteen things in detail so that it will be easier for me to understand
    – codeczar
    Mar 30, 2019 at 19:43
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    throwing the remains of offering to a deity (nirmAlya), --- But many people do that ... all the flowers etc go to Ganges .. also the idols are submerged in Ganges
    – Rickross
    Apr 1, 2019 at 4:49
  • @Rickross yes and that has been polluting the river for ages
    – user17294
    Apr 1, 2019 at 11:03
  • For environmental reasons it’s good these rules are there, now if people would just follow them too 🕉 Jan 12, 2023 at 23:38

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