I have taken to doing afternoon baths in the cold waters of the revered Ganga Ma as she flows from the foot of Gangotri Glacier at Gaumukh in the Himalayas down to Rishikesh, Haridwar and beyond. As you can imagine the cold water is met with an initial reluctance, but once in you can’t help but feel charged and wonderful.
According to Hindu mythology, a very famous king did intense bodily purification (Tapasya) for many years in order to bring the River Ganges, then residing in the Heavens, down on the Earth to find salvation for his ancestors, who were cursed by a seer. The Ganges descended to the Earth through the a lock of Lord Shiva’s hair (Jata) to make the whole earth pious, fertile and wash out the sins of humans.
You can read a beautifully illustrated story of the Goddess Ganga.
It is believed that she has the power to heal and wash the sins of all who bath in her waters and her banks see daily homage to her grace and power in the form of pujas (flower offerings) and evening arati,
Om sarveshām svastir bhavatu sarveshām shāntir bhavatu sarveshām pūrnam bhavatu sarveshām mangalam bhavatu
May there be auspiciousness to all May there be peace to all May there be fullness to all May there be good to all.