Goddess Ganga represents the sacred river in Hindu mythology and is said to be the only living Goddess. Adorned in a chaste white sari and crown, she is found sitting on a crocodile, holding a water lily in her right hand and a lute in the other. Ganga is a Hindu goddess believed to have the power of absolving one's sins. Goddess Ganga is known as Mandakini in heaven, Bhagirathi on earth and Alakananda in the underworld. Although mentioned in the Rig Veda twice, she attained immense importance in the later Puranic period. According to the puranas, the very touch of Ganga purifies one of all his sins and if a person takes a holy dip in it, he is bestowed with blessings of highest order.
According to a legend, Lord Vishnu was said to be so overwhelmed hearing to a flute recital by Lord Shiva that his feet began to melt. Lord Brahma, in turn, collected this liquefied portion of Vishnu's feet and produced the goddess Ganga. So, she is also known as Vishnu-Padi or born from Vishnu's feet. Another legend says that Ganga was brought down to the earth for the salvation of King Sagara's 60,000 sons, who were burnt to ashes by an angry sage named Kapila. Bhagiratha, a descendant of King Sagara, finally succeeded in pleasing Lord Shiva and Goddess Ganga after a long penance and thus Goddess Ganga descended to the earth as River Ganges. In order to lessen the impact of her flow on earth, it was caught in the matted hair of Lord Shiva.
Goddess Ganga Aarti
Arti ganga maiya, man jai sursari maiya
Bhav-varidhi-uddharini atihi sudradh naiya, man Jai....
Hari pada-padam-prasuta vimal varidhara,
Brahmadeva Bhagirathi shuchi punyagara, man Jai
Shankar-jata-viharini, hanoi trya tapa,
Sagar-putra-gana-tarini harani sakal papai man Jai...
Ganga Ganga jo jana uchcharat mukha son,
Dur desh man sthit bhi turat tarat sukh son, man Jai...
Mrit ki asthi tanik tuv jal dhara pavai,
So jan pavan hokar param dham javai, man Jai
Tav tatvasi taruvar, jal thal char prani
Pakshi-pashu-patang gati pavai nirvani, man Jai
Matu, daya mai kijai dinan par daya
Prabhu pad padma milakar Hari lijai maya, man Jai