The sources of two rivers, Gangotri and Yamunotri are devoted to the female dities – Ganga and Yamuna. They both, along with Badrinath and Kedarnath form the Char Dham of the Garhwal, the four most hallowed
shrines in the Himalayas.
The Ganga, especially, is the river
of India, beloved of her people, around which are entwined her memories, her hopes and fears, her songs of triumph, her victories and defeats. She has been
the symbol of India’s age long culture and civilization, ever-changing,
ever-flowing and yet ever the same Ganga.
Ancient India gave countless names to the Ganga. Among them is Loknadi or River of the World. In its most prisitine form, Goddess Ganga as she is reverentially known,first descended to Earth from Heaven at Gangotri where Lord Shiva received her into his matted locks to counter the immense impact of her fall From there ; the one which commenced from Yamunotri was termed Yamuna, from Gangotri – Bhagirathi from Kedarnath – Mandakini and the one which commenced from Badrinath was termed Alaknanda.