Sunday, 5 July 2015

6 Unknown Facts About the Ganges


The civilization in our country came into being and flourished on the banks of the River Ganges. Since many cultural events took place near its bank, which includes the penning of three Vedas, the River Ganges is considered as the sacred river in our country. Incidentally, it is also the longest river in our country. This is the reason we can find amble mention of this river in last three Vedas – Yajur, Sama and Atharva. It also has stood as the economic lifeline and the elixir of life on the fertile plains of North India. The reverence of this simple-looking river can be traced to perception in the Indian minds that its waters have extraordinary healing powers. In this blog, we would be looking at the 6 little known or lesser known facts about the River Ganges.

river ganges

  • Antibacterial Nature:  The water from the River Ganges is perceived to be pure. Hence, it is used by the followers of Hindu religion during some rituals. Is there any substance to this perception materially?  The answer to this question was given by a British Bacteriologist Ernest Hanbury Hankin who did some test on water drawn from the River Ganges. He found that the virulent form of bacteria Vibrio Cholerae could thrive in the Ganges water for only three hours. The same bacteria could thrive for many hours even in distilled water.


  • Antiputrification Property:  Normally river waters tend to putrefy due to the explosive growth of anaerobic bacteria when there is insufficient supply of pure oxygen. The dirtiest of waters from the Ganges are found to remain fresh even after hours of storage without undergoing a putrification process.


  • High Oxygen Content:  The River Ganges is able to reduce its biochemical oxygen content much faster than other Indian rivers. This truth is testified by an Indian Environmental Engineer D.S. Bhargava.  He suggests that an unknown substance dissolved in the Ganges waters prevents putrification of organic material and kills the bacteria present in it.

    high oxygen

  • Ganges Fans:  The holy river forms largest of underwater geological structures due to the large scale sedimentation from river. These are called as submarine fans. The one formed by the River Ganges forms the largest submarine fan on earth. The fan is said to completely cover the Bay of Bengal. It has traveled through the underwater canyons preserves the dead organisms to form huge deposits of hydrocarbons.

    ganges fans

  • The Ganges Experiences Water Shortages: In the current world, the India’s largest river is experiencing severe water shortage. Around Kashi, the average river depth used to be 60 metres. At some places, it has come down to just 10 metres. There are several reasons contributing to this alarming situation. One reason could be the fast receding of the Gangotri glacier. Other reasons could be the poor water management, over population and dumping of industrial waste and severages mixing with river water.

    water shortage

  • Size of River Ganges: Its size is difficult to ascertain the sheer size of the Ganges. Its river system is very complicated, especially when we consider its deltas. It has complex tributaries and a number of bifurcations in the Bengal plains, making it highly difficult to judge the length of the river.

    river ganges size

Thuruvananthapuram Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India