Ganga Mata: Goddess of the Ganges River
Ganga Mata is a Hindu goddess personifying the Ganges River. She is a deity associated with forgiveness and purification. Water is a symbol of purity in many spiritual traditions, used for cleansing and baptism. Hindus bathe in the river Ganges for spiritual and ritual purposes.
The goddess Ganga Mata is often depicted riding on a crocodile. Sometimes Ganga Mata rides on a makara, an animal with the head of a crocodile and the tail of a dolphin. The crocodile represents the lower self or the reptilian mind over which Ganga has gained mastery.
The Ganges river is viewed as a gateway to heaven. The ashes of the deceased are thrown into the river to be carried peacefully from this world to the next. Bathing in the Ganges river is also viewed as a spiritual ritual. The Vedas and Puranas, Hindu scriptures, view the Ganges as the most sacred river on earth.