About 2 weeks ago I went on an exciting trip along the Ganges River. In this letter I'll tell you all about it. It turns out that the Ganges has its beginning in an ice cave 10,300 feet above sea level in the snow-covered Himalayan Mountains of northern India. From there, the river flows towards the southeast and goes through East Pakistan, for about 1,557 miles. Ganges River then empties into the Bay of Bengal. Several tributary rivers, including the Jumna, Rmganga, Gumti, Gogra, Son, and Kusi also add to the waters of the Ganges.
As I was going past the Bay of Bengal I noticed some people with severe sicknesses and crippled bathing in the Ganges River. My guide told me that to Indians, Ganges River is sacred and people believe that the touch of its water will cure some diseases. I was shocked to find out that people even go to that river to die in hope that they will go to paradise. I should point out that the river is only sacred to Hindus. It was interesting to find out that each year, thousands of Hindu pilgrims visit such holy cities as Benares and Allahabad along the banks of the Ganges. They go there just to bathe in the river and to take home some of its water.
The Ganges River is so important to the Indians that they call it "Ganga Mata" or Mother Ganges. It is also the greatest waterway in India and one of the largest in the world. Temples line the riverbank, and stairways, called ghats, lead down to the water. I am enclosing one of the pictures I took of the Ganges River.
The river is an important trade place. Its valley is fertile and densely populated. Some of India's largest cities like Calcutta, Howrah, Patna, Benares, Allahabad, and Cawnpore are located on the river. India's capital, New Delhi, is on one of its tributaries, the Jumna. The Ganges River however, isn't as important commercially as it once was. By the way, when we stopped in Calcutta for the night, I was amazed by the city's low standard of living.
While traveling near Calcutta, my guide and I were attacked by crocodiles!! Some of them live along the banks of the Ganges River. The Brahmaputra River is a mighty river as well. It joins some of the branches of the Ganges near its mouth, and together the two rivers from a large delta of jungle and swampland.
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