The Ganges is one of the most well-known rivers in the world, playing an important role in the lives of millions of people that live along it and who practice the Hindu religion. Like the Brahmaputra, its source can be found in the Himalayas, although the Ganges rises in India and not in Tibet. From there, it flows for over 1,500 miles, through India and Bangladesh, before reaching the Bay of Bengal.
In Hinduism, Ganga (another name for the river) is the daughter of the mountain god Himavan. It therefore holds a special place in the hearts of Hindu’s all over the world and is regarded as sacred and holy. Not only do people bathe in the river to wash away their sins, they also drink from it for encouragement when death is upon them and many ask their loved ones to scatter their ashes into the Ganges when they are gone.
More people live along the Ganges river basin than they do in any other region of India and so it is easy to see the importance it has. The water helps to irrigate crops such as rice, potatoes and wheat, helping to feed millions across the country. Amongst the wildlife which makes its home in and along the river, the Ganges River dolphin is one of the most unique. One of only five species of freshwater dolphin, its population has reduced drastically in recent years and there are now thought to be less than 3,000 in the entire river system.
Your Ganges River cruise will include stops at destinations such as Bhagalpur, Patna, and Monghyr. There will also be chance to visit the holiest of Hindu cities and one that has been continuously inhabited for over 3000 years, Varanasi. Along the way, you’ll see ruined monasteries, historic rock carvings and learn all about the East India Company.