In India, rivers are not just ordinary water bodies. Apart from being an important source of living for many, these rivers are of spiritual importance. Here, people worship rivers as deities and their own mothers.

Every sacred river in India has its own importance, and most of the holy sites or places of spiritual importance are situated on the banks of holy rivers.  

Generally, the River Ganga, a sacred river of Hinduism, is considered to be the holiest river in India, but there are six more holy rivers.

So, let us look at the sacred rivers of India. 

List of Sacred Rivers in India

  1. River Ganga
  2. River Yamuna
  3. River Saraswati
  4. River Narmada
  5. River Kaveri
  6. River Godavari
  7. River Kshipra

Read on to learn about these holy rivers in India.

  • River Ganga

River Ganga

The holiest of all Rivers in India, Ganga is worshipped as a mother and a deity in many parts of India. Originating from Gaumukh in Uttarakhand, it is also the longest river in the country. 

Many cities are located on the banks of the holy River Ganga, including Varanasi, an important place of worship for Indians. Also, it is a common belief that those who take a dip in the holy water of River Ganga are absolved from their accrued sins.    

  • River Yamuna

River Yamuna

Originating from Champasar Glacier in Uttarakhand, River Yamuna has a special mention in Hindu mythology. Like the River Ganga, Yamuna is also a sacred river of Hinduism, and it is believed that the river is a form of Goddess Yamuna, who is believed to be a consort of Lord Krishna.  

There are many holy cities on the banks of River Yamuna, including Mathura. Also, one of the seven wonders of the world, the greatest symbol of love, the magnificent Taj Mahal is located on the banks of River Yamuna in Agra.   

  • River Saraswati

River Saraswati

This is one of the oldest sacred rivers in India, and it has its mention in the Vedas. However, the sad part is, that this river does not physically exist in India. However, people still believe that this holy river still flows underground and meets the Ganga and Yamuna at the confluence point, i.e., the Triveni Sangam in Prayagraj (former Allahabad). The point of confluence of these three rivers is considered a sacred site for the Hindu community.

  • River Narmada

River Narmada

Originating from Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh, the holy River Narmada flows between the Satpura and the Vindhya Mountain ranges in the southwestern direction and finally meets the Gulf of Khambhat, an inlet of Arabian Sea.  

River Narmada is also a sacred river of Hinduism, and one of the only three major rivers in the Indian peninsula that runs from east to west along with Mahi and Tapti Rivers. One of the most important places of worship for the Hindu community, Omkareshwar Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated on the banks of the Narmada River in the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh. 

Another interesting thing about this holy river is that according to legends, it descended straight from the sky upon the orders of Lord Shiva. Also, it is a popular belief that just the sight of this holy river can purify the human soul.   

  • River Kaveri

River Kaveri

River Kaveri or River Cauvery is one of the most prominent rivers in South India and one of the sacred rivers of India that flows along the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. In many parts of Karnataka, people refer to this holy river as Dakshin Ganga or the Ganges of the South.  

River Kaveri finds its place in both Tamil and Kannada literature. Throughout its history, the river has inspired many poets, artists, philosophers and writers who have contributed greatly to the culture, and spiritual wisdom of India

  • River Godavari

River Godavari

The holy River Godavari originates near Trimbakeshwar in Nashik and flows towards the east into the Bay of Bengal. It is the second largest river in India and holds great importance spiritually and in the daily lives of the people.

Godavari is a holy river of Hindu people as it is believed to be the river that originated from the bathing water of Lord Brahma, one of the principal deities in Hinduism. Its source is often associated with the legendary Trimbakeshwar Temple near Nashik.

One of the biggest attractions near this river is the Kumbh Mela, which is held in Nashik.   

  • River Kshipra

River Kshipra

River Kshipra flows through the Malwa Plateau and then joins the River Chambal. Kshipra is a sacred river of Hinduism because it is believed to have originated from the teardrops of Lord Shiva when he was mourning the death of his beloved wife, Sati.

The holy city of Ujjain is located on the banks of River Kshipra, which is known for being on the 12 Jyotirlingas of India as Mahakaleshwar. Every 12 years, Ujjain hosts the Kumbh Mela festival, which attracts millions of tourists and devotees from all over the world to take a dip in this holy river and wash away all their previous sins.   

So, there you have a list of the seven most sacred rivers of India. Plan a trip to one of these holy rivers near your city with your family. Apart from exploring the various tourist sites and temples near these rivers, it is also a great way to teach your children about the importance and significance of these rivers in Indian culture.

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