Ganga Dusshera is a holy festival celebrated on the tenth day of the month of Jayeshta. Throughout India this festival lasts ten days beginning on the Amavasya (dark moon night) and going through to the dasami tithi (tenth phase of the Moon, the day before Pandava Nirjal Ekadasi) The festival is devoted to the worship of holy river Ganga. It is believed that the ‘Gangavataran’ (the descent of the Ganga) took place at this time. River Ganga is worshipped as a mother as well as a Goddess, particularly by people of Uttara Pradesh, Bihar, and Bengal through which the river flows.
On this day, if a devotee is unable to visit and bathe in the river Ganga, then Ganga jal (water) kept in most Hindu homes is used for purification. Everybody puts up posters called ‘Dwarpatras’ or ‘Dasar’ with geometric designs on them. Once these posters were made exclusively by the Brahmins for everybody but now this practice has been discontinued. A bath in the river is said to purify the bather of all sins. The Ganga is revered all over India even in places far from its course. A huge number of devotees flock to numerous ghats located on the west bank of the river Ganga to bathe in water and carry the river clay home to venerate. In Haridwar, 'aratis' and meditation are also performed by a large number of devotees on the river banks. Ganga water is stored in sealed pots in homes and is used on sacred days.
The river Ganga holds a uniquely significant place in Indian life and consciousness. It rises at Gangotri, high in the snow-clad Himalayas. Cascading down mighty boulders, it flows into the hot plains of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and finally meets the waters of the sea in the Bay of Bengal. At Allahabad, the Ganga merges with the river Yamuna and the mythical river Saraswati. The confluence of these rivers, known as Prayag, is considered one of the most sacred spots on earth.