Ganga Dussehra is a day dedicated to Goddess Ganga, commemorated as the day when Ganga descended from heaven to Earth. Her mission was to purge the cursed souls of Bhagirathi’s ancestors. Before descending to the Earth, Ganga resided in Kamandal of Lord Brahma. The festival falls during Dashami tithi of Jyestha Shukla Paksha, the 10th day of the waxing moon in the month of Jyestha, which is May or June according to the Gregorian calendar. In 2019, Ganga Dussehra falls on June 12.
In Sanskrit, ‘dasha’ means ten and ‘hara’ means ‘to destroy’, thus it is believed that taking a dip in the Ganga on Ganga Dussehra helps to get rid of ten sins or ten lifetimes of sins.
Ganga Dussehra is widely celebrated in the Northern states of India including Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar and West Bengal. Devotees gather at the banks of the river Ganga in Haridwar, Varanasi, Rishikesh, Allahabad, and Patna and perform puja. Devotees take bath in Ganges and worship the river by performing aartis and offering bhog. It is believed that taking a dip in the holy water helps to get rid of sins and heal physical ailments. Offering charity on the day is considered highly auspicious. The celebration in Varanasi is legendary as thousands of devotees flock at Dashashwamedh Ghat for Ganga snan and to perform puja.
Dashami tithi begins: 8:19 pm on June 11
Dashami tithi ends: 6:27 pm on June 11