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The Ganges Entering The Plains Near Hrudwar

April 30, 1858
Mohammed Abdulkarim
Scenery and Places
Bahadur Shah II 1837–1857


The Ganges is the principle river of India traversing center of presidencies of Bengal and Agra. Between Hurdwar and Allahabad the river 1 to 15 miles broad, below it increases to as much as 3 miles in breadth and 30 ft into depth and total length is 1600 miles.

The above image is found from the book The Indian Empire Illustrated, The London Printing and Publishing Company Limited.

Ganges River at Haridwar (original Title:THE GANGES ENTERING THE PLAINS NEAR HURDWAR.FROM THE  ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Emerging from the Keeree Pass, the road proceeds  in the direction of Hurdwar (Haridwar, the Gate of Vishnu), near the  point at which the sacred waters of the Ganges enter the plains of  Hindoostan. The scenery around Hurdwar affords some of the most splendid  landscapes which are to be found on the bright and beautiful river  whose majestic course is diversified by so many interesting objects. The  town stands at the base of a steep mountain, on the verge of a slip of  land reclaimed from the forest, and surrounded on all sides by thick  jungle. The leafy fastnesses of the Deyrah Dhoon appear immediately  above the pass; and below, the uncultivated wastes of the Terraic  stretch their wildernesses for many miles. The locality about Hurdwar  has for ages been held in high veneration by the worshippers of Vishnu,  and. the town itself is one of the most frequented resorts of Hindoo  pilgrims, who flock thither from all parts of India, to perform their  devotions in the mystic stream at the moment of its emancipation from  the untrodden recesses of the vast Himalaya, in whose profound solitudes  the infant waters spring from their everlasting fount.

To behold the Ganges at the moment in which its faith-inspiring current bursts into freedom from its mountain boundary, and glides in one broad stream along the plain, is to the exhausted devotee who has endured weeks, perhaps months, of fatigue and privation consequent upon a painful and hazardous journey, an ample recompense for all his toil and suffering. He gazes enraptured on the holy river, and, gathering up his failing strength to the task, presses onward, but too happy to yield up life with the first plunge of his body in the hallowed wave. Guided by faith in the doctrine of his race, the worshippers ofBramah believe that a blessed immortality is secured to the person who shall thus end his earthly career, and, consequently, many who are wearied of life, or are anxious to enter scenes of purer enjoyment, will cheerfully commit suicide, or, if too weak to perform the act themselves, will prevail on their nearest friends to accelerate the progress of dissolution by leaving their bodies to float down the sacred stream, while their souls are absorbed in the Divine Essence.

It is at this point of emergence from the hills that persons journeying from a great distance are anxious to fill their jars with water, that their homes may be hallowed by a portion of the sacred element. Rich and pious Hindoos, who inhabit the provinces remote from this spot, spend large sums of money in procuring it by means of messengers, who are employed specially for the purpose. The water-pots are oftentimes conveyed to their destination in a picturesque manner, being enclosed in a framework decorated with flowers and feathers, and slung upon bamhoos resting on the shoulders of long files of men, who will convey it thus, without contamination, for several hundred miles. The bearers of the sacred fluid, although enjoying immunity from danger from all other enemies, are yet frequently waylaid and murdered by the Thugs, who consider murder to be an act of duty towards their goddess Bhowannee, the destructive power; and who will murder the poorest victim that falls in their way, to propitiate their deity, and induce her to provide them with richer sacrifices.

Beyond the point at which the Ganges enters the plains, to its final junction with the ocean (a distance of 1,200 miles), it flows smoothly and placidly along, occasionally vexed and ruffled bytempest, or, assuming an alarming degree of velocity when swollen by the melting of the snows, its strong current glides with the speed of an arrow. There are, however, no cataracts in its long descent towards the sea, the fall being somewhat less than a foot a mile, through a channel which varies in width very considerably in different places, and at particular seasons' until, as the mighty river approaches the ocean, it spreads out its waters afar, pouring them forth in a flood ten miles broad. The Ganges is not fordable below its confluence with the Jumna at Allahabad; but though it may be crossed by men and animals at several places previous to its junction with that tributary, the navigation is not interrupted from the spot in which it enters the plains. Its rise is seldom above thirty-two feet; but when it reaches this height, it spreads over the adjacent country like a sea, inundating the low land, and frequently destroying whole villages; those that remain, rising like islands in the midst of the watery waste. The waters of the Ganges are so charged with earthy particles, that when the floods begin to subside, the quantity of alluvial matter deposited is inconceivably great; and an instance is recorded in. which a branch of the river was filled up nearly to a level with the adjacent country in the space of a week, the material deposited being equal to 900,000,000 solid feet.. Between the mountains and the sea, the stream of the Ganges is augmented by the contributions of eleven large rivers, some of which are equal in magnitude to the Rhine, and none are less than the Thames. Its extreme length, from its source to the sea, is estimated at 1,560 miles.

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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.


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