New Delhi: On the auspicious occasion of Ganga Dussehra devotees beseech this sacred river for blessings of prosperity. Marking the descent of Goddess Ganga, also known as the Ganges River is celebrated this year on May 30. The legend has it that Ganga came down from heaven to earth on this very day. During Ganga Dussehra, multitudes of radiant lamps adorn the coursing waters, invoking serenity and benevolence. With unwavering enthusiasm and zeal, this festival is joyously celebrated across various states where the Ganges flows.
On this occasion, &TV artists Neha Joshi (Yashoda, Doosri Maa), Yogesh Tripathi (Daroga Happu Singh, Happu Ki Ultan Paltan), and Vidisha Srivastava (Anita Bhabi, Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai) talk about the significance and rituals associated with the festival.
Neha Joshi, essaying Yashoda in &TV’s show Doosri Maa, shares, “Ganga Dussehra, also referred to as Gangavataran, signifies the commemoration of the divine descent of the holy Ganges from heaven to earth. This festival is predominantly observed in states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Uttarakhand. Devotees gather at the banks of the Ganges, engaging in sacred rituals and offering aartis to the revered river. Immersing oneself in its waters on this auspicious day is believed to purify the soul and alleviate physical ailments. Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to Hrishikesh for a performance, where I was captivated by the enchanting beauty of the Ganges. It was a dream fulfilled as I witnessed the mesmerizing Ganga Aarti for the first time, lighting a lamp and offering it to the divine river. Shooting in holy cities like Haridwar and Rishikesh brought immense joy. Numerous locals shared tales of the grandeur with which this festival is celebrated there. Someday, I aspire to revisit these places during that time, immersing myself in the vibrant festivities and experiencing the true essence of the celebration.”
The festival of Ganga Dussehra takes place on the 10th day, Dashami, of the waxing moon in the month of Jyeshtha, as per Hindu calendar. Devotees celebrate this festival for ten long days—nine days preceding the main festival day.
Yogesh Tripathi, aka Daroga Happu Singh from Happu Ki Ultan Paltan, shares, “Ganga Dussehra marks the celebration of the ten sacred Vedic attributes that symbolize the Ganges’ ability to cleanse ten transgressions associated with thoughts, words, and deeds. As my mother always emphasized, devotees seek solace while pursuing liberation. Being from Uttar Pradesh, I deeply understand the profound significance of the Ganges in human existence and spiritual awareness. Originating from the snow-covered peaks of Gangotri in the majestic Himalayas, the river flows graciously, journeying through the scorching plains of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar until it merges with the Bay of Bengal. The confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati in Allahabad, known as Prayag, stands as a sacred sanctuary of unparalleled reverence. Witnessing the splendid Aarti ceremony at the riverbanks, with illuminated leaf boats adorned with flames and flowers, is an ethereal experience during the twilight hours. It is truly a blissful encounter that resonates with the eternal beauty of this sacred river.”
Ganga Dussehra is also known as Gangavataran, signifying the descent of Goddess Ganga to earth. The festival usually falls a day prior to Nirjala Ekadashi, but at times both fall on the same day.
Vidisha Srivastava, aka Anita Bhabi from Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai, shares, “Devotees seek blessings from the sacred Ganga River for good fortune. During my childhood, I joyfully played near the serene ghats of the Ganges and witnessed the enchanting sight of countless lamps adorning its flowing waters during the festival. This beautiful ritual symbolizes the pursuit of peace and goodness. During this time of the year, people from across the world gather in Varanasi to partake in the purifying act of bathing in the holy river. Additionally, my mother faithfully adhered to the tradition of offering tenfold. Whether it was presenting ten varieties of flowers, fragrances, lamps, oblations, betel leaves, or fruits, she emphasized the significance of the number ten. While immersing oneself in the Ganges, it was customary to take ten sacred dips. In our family, this auspicious day has held great importance for acquiring valuable possessions, purchasing new vehicles, or entering a new home. I yearn to be present in the city this year, longing to relive these cherished experiences again.”
Tune in to Doosri Maa at 8:00 pm, Happu Ki Ultan Paltan at 10:00 pm, and Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai at 10:30 pm, airing every Monday to Friday only on &TV.
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