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The first ten days of the month ‘Jyeshth’ are dedicated to honour the River Ganges or Mother Ganges. The Ganges is believed to flow in the three worlds: in heaven it is called ‘Mandakini’, on earth the ‘Ganges’ and in the northern region the ‘Bhagirathi’.
People believe that by bathing in the Ganges sins are washed away. The principle centres for the worship of the Ganges are Gangotri, Hardware Allahabad, Varanasi and Sagara Island. According to the mythology, the heavenly Ganges flows from Vishnu’s toe. Ganges sometimes assumed a human form. In one such appearance she married king Shantanu and was the mother of Bhishma.
Legends have it that the Ganges was brought to the earth by Bhagirath. He had to perform terrible austerities to please the Ganges. On the tenth day of the bright half of Jyeshth, Ganges began to flow from heaven to the matted hair of Shankar and then on this earth. For this reason the Ganges is also known as the Bhagirathi.