the

The source of the Ganges - Ganges - BBC

and this one the last of the four sacred

sources of the Ganges is the busiest and

most important temple of them all

this is dango 3 the place where Hindus

believe the Ganges first appeared on

earth

as a goddess Ganga originally watered

the gardens of heaven but her purifying

powers were needed on earth to cleanse

the ashes of the Dead

ganda agreed to come to the aid of

humankind but the impact of her descent

would have destroyed the earth

so another god Shiva intervened at

Gangotri

he caught the falling river in his hair

cushioning her arrival and channeling

the flow into thousands of lesser

streams

the spectacular waterfall here is a very

earthly reminder of that tumultuous

descent

but even Gangotri can't be the true

source either the river here is already

wide and powerful fed by one of the

Himalayas largest glaciers higher up the

valley just a few hundred years ago that

same glacier filled this valley reaching

right down to the village now in the

face of rising temperatures

it's retreated over 20 kilometers only

the most determined make the final

journey up valley to the farthest

extremity of the river

their destination is gal Mook the cow's

mouth an ice cave from which flows a

milky stream this cold and lonely place

is considered by many to be the source

of the Ganges for most pilgrims it's a

fleeting visit just time for a few

prayers in a ritual bath in the frigid

waters

yet even here it's faith rather than

geography that is defining the source

higher still up above the glacier there

is more running water if the source of a

river is the point farthest from the sea

then it's here in the meadows at the

pavan that the spiritual and geographic

origins of the Ganges finally come

together surrounded and protected by the

mountain gods nowhere could be more

fitting as the birthplace of India's

holiest River