What is river Ganga considered sacred? Why do so many devotees worship her?

Note: This is not a dup. of Historically, when (and why) did Ganga become a holy river? Is it after Sarasvati dried up? as that's about when and how Ganga as a river rose in prominence compared to other rivers.

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    Ganga river has 400% more oxygen than anyanother river, and more the oxygen more it can fight against germs. Also its not myth is scientifically proven.
    – STEEL
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 5:52
  • 1
    Well, the Ganga has ridiculous levels of fecal coliform bacteria, so.
    – senshin
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 14:58
  • River Ganga starts from gangotri. On its way, it passes through many mountains and jungles. Its water gets mixed with many herbs and plants that are good for human health and helps to fight against many diseases. Accoding to our scriptures it is said that river ganga was flowing in "Swarga Loka", but Rishi Bhagiratha with his tapsya took it to earth to provide moksha to his forefathers' souls
    – Eesha
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 5:54
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    @iammilind This question has better answers than the question linked. That question's answers are based on Wikipedia whereas this answers are given from scriptures. This is asked prior to the linked question. Questions with better answers is considered original. Commented Oct 21, 2017 at 5:37
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    Dear close voters, the linked question is not a duplicate of the other question. See this, this comments. This is a mythological answer. The other question wants a historical answer. Moreover, this question is asked prior to that question and also the answers to this one are from scriptures rather than wiki. Hence, this is not a dupe. Only related question. Commented Feb 10, 2018 at 4:43

3 Answers 3


As per the scripture, river Ganga is considered sacred because it has arisen from the feet of Vishnu and destroys the sins of a person:

caraṇābjasamudbhutā gaṃgā nameti viśrutā
pāpāanāṃ sthūlarāśīnāṃ naśinī śeti nārada
[Padma Pu. - 6.22.3]

O Narada, renowned as Ganga, it has arisen from the lotus like feet (of Vishnu) and destroys sins in larger quantities.

Ganga being auspicious and destroyer of sins, it is revered and worshipped by the people:

mānyeyaṃ sarvadā loke pavitrā pāpanāśinī [Pdm. Pu. - 6.22.9]
She is pure, destroyer of sins and always honored in the world.


Valmiki Ramayana states that Ganga is considered sacred because it came by touching Anga (Head) of Lord Shiva:

तत्र ऋषि गण गन्धर्वा वसुधा तल वासिनः १-४३-२६
भव अंग पतितम् तोयम् पवित्रम् इति पस्पृशुः |

And asserting that the water as holy, because it descended touching the body of Shiva, viz., the head of Shiva, the assemblages of sages, gandharva-s, and those that are residents on the plane of earth have sipped that water at that place.

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    It was indeed created by Shiva during Shiva's marriage and gave it to Brahma and he stored it in his Kamandala.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 15:51

During the course of Hinduism, the local elements played a crucial role in forming the sacred.

During the Rigvedic Ages, Saraswati and Indus played a crucial role in forming the hymns and myths.

During the Vedic Ages, mainly Upanishads and Puranas, which occurred in the Gangatic Planes, Ganga and it's tributaries gained more prominence and importance.

Ancient Indians also claim to have found some medicinal and anti-bacterial properties for the water in Ganga, which has been somewhat corroborated by recent research.


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