The India Ganges river - Often claimed as one of the greatest rivers in the world and rightly so. At just over 2,510 km long, the Ganges originates high in the Himalayas where it makes it's long and winding journey over India's greatest plain before draining into the Sunderban Delta and it's final destination, the Bay of Bengal.
Hindus consider the river as the holiest of all rivers in India. The river also passes through Varanasi, the Hindu holy city. Scroll down more information in the religious significance of the Ganges.Search this site
More impressive facts - The river Ganges drains almost 1,000,000 Square miles of land and supports the highest density of people with a staggering population of well over 420 million people who either live on, close to or in some way rely on the river for their livelihood. That's almost 50% more than the population of the US and nearly five times the population of the UK.
I could spend the next 9 paragraphs telling you the route of the river Ganges but I think that it would be best for both of us if you just clicked on the little image to the left and had a look at the route of the Ganges river for yourself. If for some reason you really want to know the n I suppose I can give you a rough idea of the route it takes. Here is a list of the main places the India Ganges river runs through (in order).
Step 1 Uttarakhand (state + Start)
Step 2 Kanpur, Soron, Kannauj, Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Ghazipur,Bhagalpur (towns)
Step 3 Through the Rajmahal Hills
Step 4 Mirzapur, Ballia, Buxar, Saidpur and Chunar -(More towns)
Step 5 The Bay of Bengal (Sea + End)
Well it may not be the most accurate depiction of a rivers course but in my mind it is sufficient. Of course another point worth noting is that the river is not called the Ganges all the time, as you can see from the map (you have to click it) it's made up of hundreds of subsidiaries which feed the river and make it what it is. So, lets be consistent and list these as well.
Rivers that make up the Ganges
Alaknanda river, Dhauliganga river, Nandakini river, Nandprayag, Pindar river, Karnaprayag, Mandakini river, Rudraprayag river and Bhagirathi river.
Rivers that join the Ganges
YamunaKosi, Son, GandakiGhaghra,Padma RiverJamuna RiverMeghna River, Meghna's
Another amazing fact
Only the Amazon and the Congo remove more water from land than the Ganges.
Just to gently ease us into the controversy surrounding India Ganges river, we begin our topic of Dams. Now, there are two main dams on the river, one at Haridwar which was constructed by the British in 1854 to irrigate the land around and to divert the Himalayan melt water into the Upper Ganges Canal. (Take another look at that map if you do not remember. Consequently, thanks to brilliant planning and foresight, the result is that not enough water makes it into the Ganges river causing a greatly deal of the decay that we see today.
Dam number two is rather terrifyingly large hydro-electric jobby where the river enters Bangladesh. This of course, has caused more problems, this time with Bangladesh who say that the river Hooghly (fed from this local) is not getting enough water.
On the bright side, another dam has been proposed near to the Mahakali. This time though it will not just be any other dam.., but the highest dam in the world. Great!
As previously mentioned The India Ganges river, from start to finish, in some way or another influences over 400 million people!
Quite a large proportion of this is made up from people living on chars - little islands made up of sediment. Despite these being only temporary islands they can and do support at any one time around 20,000 people.
The soil is extremely fertile making it ideal for raising cattle and growing crops. The people who make there lives on these so called islands are not recognised by the Bangladesh or Bengali governments so are not issued ID cards. As a result they do not benefit from health care and other such benefits. Click here for more information on the people of India
The facts and figures regarding pollution and the India river Ganges are quite astounding.It is thought that the river contains 60,000 faecal coliform bacteria per 100 ml, 120 times the official limit of 500 faecal coliform per 100ml.
By the time the India Ganges River river gets to the Holy city of Varanasi it has formed a thick black sludge, considered highly toxic by scientists but perfect of bathing by hundreds of thousands of locals and pilgrims.
It is not uncommon for human and animal bodies to be dumped into the river.
Follow this link for more information, pictures and insights into pollution in the Ganges river
Despite the huge populations of people that live on the India Ganges River, they are only partly responsible for the state of the river. It is in fact the huge commercial industries that have the biggest impact in the river. Again and again big business comes to rape the river and the land around it before spitting it back out into the river for the hundreds of millions of people who depend on it.
Return to the All About India Homepage
From The India Ganges River
Go back to the Main Geography of India page