Ganga has been called as the tirath of kaliyug. This tirath is fast receding. It is said that once Ganga retreats completely, kaliyug will end a few years after that. In this series of articles, we will attempt to trace the epic journey of Ganga, from Gomukh to Gangasagar. Har Har Gange!
So far we have covered the journey of Ganga from Gomukh till Varanasi. As this devi makes its way to empty out in the Bay of Bengal, it blesses various cities and towns enroute. Many such locations have been the sites of penance by some of the greatest rishis of ancient India. In this issue, we will touch upon some of these.
Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh
80km from Varanasi, on the UP-Bihar border lies the ancient town of Ghazipur. As per legends, dense forests enveloped Ghazipur in the Vedic era, these were adorned by ashrams of rishis and munis. Maharshi Jamadagni, the father of Maharshi Parashurama, is said to have resided here. Gautama Rishi and Rishi Chyavana are also known to have received their training in these forests.
Ballia, Uttar Pradesh
In ancient times the region covered by the present District of Ballia, lay in the kingdom of Kosala. Ballia is said to have derived its name from Rishi Valmiki, who is said to have dwelt here for some time. It is also said to have been visited by sages Bhrigu, Garga Parasar, Vashishta and Atri. Village of Karon, in Ballia, is said to be the site where Lord Shiv burnt Kamdev (god of love) to ashes as he attempted to beguile him from his meditations. Bhalsand, in Ballia, is said to have derived its name from Rishi Bhardwaja who resided there and Dhuband was the abode of Rishi Durvasa.
Kaun Hara Ghat, Hajipur, Bihar
It is considered one of the main ghats of Ganga-Gandak, where worshiping and cremation has been performed for centuries. As per legend, Lord Vishnu had to interfere in the fight between Gaja (elephant) and Graah (crocodile), to save his devotee Gajaraj, who was being drowned by crocodile. Both Gaja and Graah were Gandharvas who had taken the form of elephant and crocodile under a curse. Lord Vishnu killed Graah to give him instant salvation, and saved life of Gajaraj.
Bhagalpur or ancient Bhagdatpuram (meaning city of Good Luck), was the place where the gods (devtas) and demons (asuras) churned the ocean to procure elixir (amrit) in the historic Amrit Manthan. An impression of the coil is faintly visible on Mount Mandara. It is said that Vishnu covered the demon Madhu under the hill after defeating him to death. Bhagalpur also formed a part of the ancient kingdom of Anga, said to be ruled by King Karna of Mahabharata.
Videha, the kingdom of Raja Janak
Videha was the ancient kingdom of King Janaka spread over present Northern Bihar and eastern Terai of Nepal. It is the birthplace of Devi Sita.
From here on, the Ganga continues its journey to the Ganga Sagar while still gaining strength from various other tributaries. Do check out the next issue to know about the culmination of this journey of Ganga as we know it.
A word of caution, these places are not for tourism and must not be frivolously approached for “fun”.
The energies in these places are conducive for sadhaks and those treading the path of their guru to further their own spiritual journey on the path. If they are used for social outings then you will disturb the energies there and bring misfortune to yourself. The various calamities that happen at such places are ample proof of this. these places are for vairagya and moksh, not for fun and games.
If you want to complete a sadhna without disturbances for your spiritual evolution, then these places are ideal for you.