Ganga Jayanti is also called as Ganga Jayanti. Ganga Puja is done on this day in heralding the birth of Ganges River, deemed as the holiest of the rivers in India. This day marks the rebirth of the River Ganges.
The birth of Ganga
Long back, a prince named Bagiratha performed a severe penance to bring the heavenly Ganges River to the earth so that his ancestors who were burnt to ashes due to a curse are emancipated with the touch of the holy Ganges water. Moved by his prayers, Lord Shiva received the Ganges on his matted hair in order to control her torrential stream and slow her down on the earth. Ganges thus descended on Lord Shiva’s matted hair on the day of Dussehra. This was her original birthday.
Ganges followed Bagiratha as a turbulent river. On her way, her powerful water currents destroyed the ashram of the sage Jahnu. Angered by this act, sage Jahnu drank the whole of Ganges. Bhagirathi and gods prayed the sage to release Ganges and help Bagiratha in his sacred mission. The sage was pleased to give heed to their request and released the river through his ears.
Ganga Saptami marks the rebirth of Ganga when she came out from the ears of the sage Jahnu. This day falls on the seventh day of the Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon) in the month of Vaishakha (April – May). Since the Ganges emanated from the ears of sage Jahnu this time, she is considered the daughter of Jahnu and hence got the name Jahnavi. This day is also called by the other name known as Jahnu Saptami. A bath in the Ganges on this day is considered highly auspicious.