Ganga Dussehra is dedicated to Goddess Ganga and it falls on Dashami Tithi or the tenth day of the bright half of the moon in the month of Jyaistha as per the Hindu calendar. Rishi Bhagirath took many years meditating to convince Ganga to come on earth. This is the day on which the sacred river Ganga descended on earth from heaven. So this festival is also known as Gangavataran which means the descent of the Ganga. This festival is celebrated for ten days beginning on the Amavasya and ends on the shukla dasami. This corresponds to month of May or June according to the Gregorian calendar. Ganga who is regarded as a celestial river descending from heaven is the most sacred river in India and a holy dip in Ganga can purge all type of sins. This festival is celebrated with great fervour in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
The sacred river to Hindus Ganga holds a special place for the Indian. Ganga is considered as the most holy and sacred rivers in India. This river is worshipped, with a belief that Goddess Ganga can wash away all sins of mankind. The name Dussehra comes from Dus which means ten and Hara which connotes defeat. Thus, it is believed that praying on this day can help you attain salvation from 10 sins. Ganga Dussehra is celebrated at major ghats of India such as Varanasi, Allahabad, Garh-Mukteshwar, Prayag, Haridwar and Rishikesh. Amidst hundreds and thousands of pilgrims, the priests perform aartis to goddess Ganga. All one can hear is the pilgrims and pundits praising and singing goddess Ganga.
The Ghat stairs are very slippery as the several devotees take a dip in Ganga. By twilight, the river starts flowing with immense force. But, this doesn't stop the pilgrims to take a dip. It is said that after one dip, your mind turns clear and quiet. Most of the pilgrims around always take this feeling back home. Devotees offer leaf boats with flames, sweet and flowers to the river. The pilgrims are seen all mesmerized with the shlokas, bhajans, kirtans and sound of bells during the aarti. Donation of useful things such as umbrellas, clothes, shoes and several other things that can protect you from the summer heat are auspicious. The festival is purely a soothing spiritual experience.
River Ganga holds a lot of value mythologically, historically, religiously and economically for the Indians. It has nourished and nurtures millions of beings every day from her origin at Gangotri in Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. Gangas water is considered to be very sacred and is used by everyone for all Hindu rituals.