Ganga is a Hindu goddess believed to have the power of absolving one's sins. Legend says that once LordVishnu
was so captivated by a
that his feet began to melt.
had collected this liquified portion of Vishnu’s feet and produced the goddess, so the goddess is alternatively known as Vishnu-Padi (born from Vishnu’s feet).
Ganga was brought down to the earth for the salvation of the 60,000 sons of King Sagara who were burnt to ashes by an angry
Sage Kapila. It was
Bhagiratha, a descendant of King Sagara, who finally propitiated Lord Shiva and Goddess Ganga after a long penance. Ultimately Ganga descended to the earth as River
Ganges. When Ganga descended from heaven Shiva is believed to have caught her in his matted hair in order to lessen the impact of her fall. Ganga is thus regarded as the second wife of Shiva. Ganga is believed to exist as Mandakini in heaven, Ganges in the earth and Alakananda in the underworld, showering her blessings on all the three worlds.