Was Ganga Devi married to someone?

Is she a wife of Lord Shiva, because he adorns Ganga Devi on his head which could mean that she is Shiva's wife?

I've also heard that Bhishma Pitamaha from Mahābhārata is the son of Ganga but unfortunately I've forgotten his father's name.

  • 2
    Bheesmar's(Bhisma's) or Devavrata's father name is King Shantanu of hastinapur , Ganga Devi is (Devavrata's)his Mother
    – Bhavin
    Sep 2, 2015 at 6:54
  • Thanks to @ all who answered my Question and if anybody knows any details other than these, please post it, so that others can able to know about Ganga Maa Sep 3, 2015 at 6:34

3 Answers 3


Ganga Devi is wife of King Shantanu. Ganga devi's sister Parvati is wife of Lord Shiva. From texts in Mahabharata epic it is clear that Ganga Devi is wife of King Shantanu. Thus Ganga Devi's marital status is married. But Ganga devi had a deal with King Shantanu that he will never doubt her or question her actions. Before Bhishma 7 children(Vasus) were born to Ganga Devi who died in flood But when Bheeshma born King Shantanu doubted Ganga devi that she will also take the son away in flood and he will die. So Ganga devi separated with King Shantanu.

Finally Ganga Devi's marital status has been changed to Separated from married.

  • 1
    You mean that Ganga Devi is not a wife of Lord Shiva only her sister is a wife of Lord Shiva and thus Lord Shiva has only one wife that is Parvati. Right ?@ParthTrivedi Sep 2, 2015 at 17:20
  • Anyway thanks for your reply. But Why Lord Shiva adorns Ganga Devi then? Please do clarify me @ParthTrivedi Sep 2, 2015 at 17:22
  • How can ganga(immortal godess)also sinless be married to a mortal human being with sanchit karma?
    – Yogi
    Sep 2, 2015 at 17:53
  • @Sridhar Lord Shiva adorns Ganga Devi beacuase hold the flow of Gangadevi Descent To Earth
    – Bhavin
    Sep 3, 2015 at 5:00
  • 1
    Ganga is not wife of shiva. @Sridhar
    – prem30488
    Sep 3, 2015 at 5:53

According to the Hindu scriptures like Skanda Purana, the goddess Ganga is foster-mother to Karttikeya(Subrahmanya, Murugan), who was actually a son of Shiva and Parvati.

Parvati who created an image of Ganesha out of her bodily impurities but which became endowed with life after immersion in the sacred waters of the Ganges. Therefore Ganesha is said to have two mothers Parvati and Ganga and hence called Dvaimatura and also Gangeya(the son of Ganga).

The Hindu epic, Mahabharata tells that the Vasus, cursed by Vashishta had requested Ganga to be their mother. Ganga incarnated and became the wife of King Shantanu on condition that at no stage shall he question her actions, or she would leave him. As seven Vasus were born as their children, one after the other, Ganga drowned them in her own waters, freeing them from their punishment and the king made no opposition. Only when the eighth was born did the king finally oppose his wife, who therefore left him. So the eighth son, Dyaus incarnated, remained alive, imprisoned in mortal form, and later became known in his mortal incarnation as Bhishma(Devavrata), who is one of the most respected characters of the Mahābhārata.

[Wikipedia article: Ganges in Hinduism]

Also, see Ganga's Descent To Earth.


Yes Devi Ganga was married and possibly more than once according to this story of domestic strife that happened in the Vaikunth. Devi Puran Book 9 Chapter 6 mentions that Lakshmi, Ganga, Saraswati were all the wives of Lord Vishnu and lived with the Lord till a quarrel happened between the last two:

16-21. Nârâyana said :-- Hear, O Nârada! I will now describe that incident, the hearing of which removes all the sins. Laksmî, Sarasvatî and Gangâ, the three wives of Hari and all equally loved, remain always close to Hari. One day Gangâ cast side-long glances frequently towards Nârâyana and was eagerly looking at Him, with smile on Her lips. Seeing this, the Lord Nârâyana, startled and looked at Gangâ and smiled also. Laksmî saw that, but she did not take any offence. But Sarasvatî became very angry. Padmâ (Laksmî) who was of Sattva Guna, began to console in various ways the wrathful Sarasvatî; but she could not be appeased by any means. Rather Her face became red out of anger; she began to tremble out of her feelings (passion); Her lips quivered; and She began to speak to Her husband.

Lord Vishnu perhaps realizing that he should best remain out of a the women's argument left the place and then started the curses and counter curses. Saraswati tries to attack Ganga but Lakshmi intervenes so gets cursed by the former. Seeing this Ganga gets angry and curses Saraswati:

39-44. Thus saying, Gangâ became ready to curse Sarasvatî and addressing Laksmî, said :-- “O Dear Padme! As that woman has cursed you to become a river, so I too curse her, that she, too, be turned into a river and she would go to the abode of men, the sinners, to the world and take their heaps of sins.” Hearing this curse of Gangâ, Sarasvatî gave her curse, “You, too, will have to descend into the Bhurloka (the world) as a river, taking all the sins of the sinners.”

When all the action is over Lord Vishnu returns and tells them:

45-67. O Laksmî! Let you be born in parts, without being born in any womb, in the world as the daughter in the house of the King Dharma-dhvaja. You will have to take the form of a tree there, out of this evil turn of fate. There S'ankhachûda, the Indra of the Asuras, born of my parts will marry you. After that you will come back here and be my wife as now. There is no doubt in this. You will be named Tulasî, the purifier of the three worlds, in Bhârata. O Beautiful One! Now go there quickly and be a river in your parts under the name Padmâvatî.

O Gange! You will also have to take incarnation in Bhârata as a river, purifying all the worlds, to destroy the sins of the inhabitants of Bhârata. Bhagiratha will take you there after much entreating and worshipping you; and you will be famous by the name Bhagirathî, the most sanctifying river in the world. There, the Ocean born of my parts, and the King S'ântanu also born of my parts will be your husbands.

O Bharatî! Let you go also and incarnate in part in Bhârata under the curse of Gangâ. O Good-natured One! Now go in full Amsas to Brahmâ and become His wife. Let Gangâ go also in Her fullness to S'iva. Let Padmâ remain with Me. Padmâ is of a peaceful nature, void of anger, devoted to Me and of a Sâttvika nature.

So going by this account Ganga was first married to Lord Vishnu, then Lord Shiva, and then Shantanu.

Bhishma Pitamah was her son from Shantanu.

  • 1
    She is also Saagararaja's wife.
    – Surya
    Jan 12, 2018 at 5:53

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