Garhwal is a sacred land in the Himalayas, where four of the most holy places for Hindus are located, commonly referred to as the Char Dham of Garhwal. These are Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri. For centuries these places have been visited by pilgrims for remission of sins and attaining moksha.
Gangotri and Yamunotri are the sources of holy rivers, the Ganges and the Yamuna respectively. The rivers have been devoted to female deities of the same name. Especially, river Ganges has been of immense value to the Indian cultures and civilizations. According to the Hindu mythology, Goddess Ganga descended from the Heaven at Gangotri, where Lord Shiva gently received her in his tangled locks to impede the impact of her fall. He then let her out in small streams. Different names were given to these streams; Yamuna for the one that commenced from Yamunotri, Bhagirathi originated from Gangotri, Mandakini from Kedarnath and Alaknanda for the one which originated from Badrinath.
This ancient river has also been known as Loknadi or River of the World. The Indian civilization has developed around her holy waters. There are countless other stories which surround the Ganges. Since time immemorial, the Ganges has been the center of life in India with its ever-flowing and ever-giving nature.
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