Who was Ganga?
Ganga was the daughter of King Himavat and Queen Menavati , who were also the parents of Parvati, wife of Lord Shiva.
All the daughters of King Himavat and Queen Menavati except Parvati took the form of river.
The story of Ganga is some how related to the Story of Sati . Parvati was the second birth of Sati.
Shiv with Parvati and Ganga
When Sati sacrificed her body for the respect of her Husband Lord Shiva . Lord Shiva opened his Third eye ,and he plucked his jattas (bunch of hair) twice and from them Arrive Bhadr Kali and Veerbhadar. Shiva ordered them to take revenge of his Wife. Veerbhadar removed off the head of Daksha’s head from his body. On the request of all the Devtas (gods) Shiva Forgives Daksha, and gave him a new life with the head of a goat.
Bhadra Kaali and Veerbhadar
Lord Shiva Lifted the Body of Shiva and roamed in the universe in depression. Lord Vishnu decided to put an end to his grief, the only way was the rebirth of Goddess Sati as Parvati, for that Shiva must leave the body of Sati. Lord Vishnu used his sudarshan chakkar for cutting the body of Sati. Body of sati was cut into 51 pieces. the pieces fell into different places which are know known as SHAKTI PEETHS . to make the pieces Shaktipeeths Shiva must touch them. Meanwhile a danav named Tarkasur who was booned to be killed by the sun of Lord Shiva decided to destroy it. Rishie Markande saw the last Pindh (part,piece) he was aware of the plans of Taarkasur and by God’s grace he saw the army of King Himavat coming towards him , he asked for his help to protect the Pindh, King promised him to protect the Pindh.
The army of Taarkasur arrived there Himavat himself and his Daughter fought with them to protect the pindh.
Ganga fought to protect her parents and the pindh, LordShiva arrived in the mid of the battel , the army of Danav fled after seeing Lord Shiva.Ganga felt that see is made for Shiva , she inquired of her illusions from Rishie Markande and he told her that in future you have a relation with Lord Shiva.
Ganga asked Lord Shiva to marry her , but hiva told he can not think of any body except Sati. He Booned Ganga to remain sacred till the end of universe and she will have the power of removing sins.
The havens were loosing the powers because Tarkasur’s army was destroying the purity of haven. Gods went to Lord Brahma for the solution. Lord Brahma himself went to King Himavat’s family to bring Ganga to haven. Ganga took the pledge that she will return to earth only when Lord Shiva will call her.
Ganga coming from haven , Goddess Parvati and sage Bhagirath
Ganga brought back to earth by Bhagirath
King Sagar after defeating the demons, decided organize Ashwamedha Yagya to declare his supremacy. In this Yagya a horse is set free and where ever the horse go the earth is declared as the property of the king, who so ever stops the horse will have to face a battel with the king. King had 60,000 sons , he sent his horse across the earth accompanied by his sons.
The King of Heaven, Lord Indra feared the power of King Sagar and to stop him, he stole the horse and tied it to the ashram of Sage Kapil. When the 60,000 sons saw the horse in Kapil’s ashram they got furious and started to attack the hermitage. Sage Kapil was in deep meditation and on hearing the disturbance he opened his eyes in anger and all the 60,000 sons.
Anshuman the grandson of King Sagar brought the horse back from the Sage and asked for his forgiveness. Sage Kapil told him that the sons can be brought to life only if Ganga brought from heaven to earth. Neither Anshuman nor his son Dilip were successful in this task. But Dilip’s son, Bhagirath meditated for a long time and he pleaded Ganga to descend t earth for the Mokha of his ancestors. Ganga asked Bhagirath to Plead Shiva to lock her in his Hair because the earth could not bear the flow of a river falling from haven. King Bhagirath then worshipped Lord Shiva and Shiva blessed him and released Ganga from his locks in seven streams. The water of Ganga touched the ashes of Sagar sons who rose to the their eternal rest in heaven.
Shiva locking Ganga coming from haven
The seven streams of Ganga are Bhagirathi, Janhvi, Bhilangana, Mandakini, Rishiganga, Saraswati and Alaknanda which merge into Ganga at Devprayag. The rock on which King Bhagirath is believed to have meditated, is called Bhagirath Shila . Lord Shiva is also worshiped as Gangadhar.