How You Can Help!

Natural Benefits

Ganga not only holds great spiritual and cultural significance, but her unique, natural characteristics have made her a fascinating subject of study for many scientific inquiries. A container or vial of sacred water from Ganga, known as Gangajal, can be found faithfully stored in most Hindu homes, and this water has often been observed to remain fresh for long periods of time. These observations and many other healing qualities that Ganga is believed to possess are not purely faith-based beliefs, but rather have now been supported by much scientific evidence and research.

Antiseptic and Antibacterial Quality of Ganga

Some of the earliest scientific findings related to the unique qualities of Ganga were recorded by the early British in India. The British physician Dr. C.E. Nelson observed and recorded that even the dirtiest sections of Ganga, such as a sample taken directly from the mouth of the Hooghly, remained fresh during the long boat journey back to England.1 The British East India Company, a seventeenth-century company that pursued trade mainly with India and China, also preferred using Gangajal for their three-month journey back to England, stating that the water stayed “sweet and fresh.”2 Even kings and princes like Akbar and the Maharaja of Jaipur carried Gangajal in massive urns for their own personal use and during travel.

In a paper written by British physician E. Hanbury Hankin, published in the French journal Annales de Institut Pasteur in 1896, it was observed that the bacterium which causes the deadly Cholera disease could be killed within three hours of being treated with water from Ganga. However, the same bacterium continued to thrive in distilled water ever after forty-eight hours. This unique factor present in Gangajal, now known to be a virus which eats and destroys disease-causing bacteria, was amongst the first modern citations of a bacteriophage.3 Additionally, Flix d’Herelle, a French microbiologist in 1927, was amazed to find that no germs existed in a sample of Gangajal extracted from an area just a few feet below floating corpses who had died of dysentery and cholera, where one would typically predict to find millions of germs!

In addition, by continuously flowing and rubbing against many rocks, flora, mosses and other natural growth that exist along her upper stretches, Ganga becomes saturated with minerals and enriched with nutrients that supplement living organisms dependent on her waters, and these minerals give the river further antiseptic qualities.

High Oxygen Retention Capacity

Ganga’s high oxygen retention capacity, especially in the upper stretches of the river that originates from the Himalayas, is yet another reason why her waters don’t putrefy even after long periods of storage. Through a comprehensive three-year (1982-1984) study by D.S. Bhargava, an environmental engineer at the University of Roorkee, it was found that Ganga’s oxygen retention capacity is 15-25 times higher than any other river in the world. Although the massive amount of organic pollutants dumped into Ganga could have easily consumed the amount of oxygen found in the river, some unknown mystery factor believed to be catalyzed by unidentified microbes has been able to replenish the river’s oxygen content.4 5

The Effect of Positive Input on Crystal Water Structures

In Indian spirituality, water is one of the five fundamental elements that make up all of creation. Although water is a tangible form, it is also fluid, ever-changing and dynamic. In a popular study conducted by HADO Research Institute in Japan, it was found that the crystalline structures of water respond to the positive and negative vibrations of their external environment. In this study, the structure of stagnant water drastically changed from the normal structure of water when offered a prayer, mantra, or positive emotions such as love and gratitude.6 Similar studies to this have been conducted by the organization Ganga Ahvaan, who tested and analyzed the crystal structures of samples of Ganga taken from different sources along the river. It was found that Ganga’s crystal structures remained largely unaltered even with large stretches of damming and pollution in the upper stretches of Ganga, especially where devotees interact, make offerings or chant to her.

Ganga truly is uniquely different from other bodies of water. With these powerful and unique scientific implications, we can see that there is still much to learn about Ganga. It is a tragedy that today Ganga’s distinctive nature is quickly deteriorating. In many stretches along her shores, the pollutant load is so high that any interaction with the contaminated water causes skin and waterborne diseases. Thus, new and innovative research has an important role to play in the restoration, protection and maintenance of the uniqueness of Ganga.


1 Sivananda, Swami. Mother Ganga. The Divine Life Society Press. 5th Edition. 2011.

2 Gurudev. “The Sacred Secrets of Ganga.” 31 January 2008. Click here to read this article.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Dutta, V. “Let our rivers stay healthy to keep us alive.” Hindustan Times. 28 June 2011.

6 Radin, Dr. D., Hayssen, G., Emoto, M. et al. “Double-Blind Test of the Effects of Distant Intention on Water Crystal Formation.” Explore 2006; 2: 408-411. Click here to read this article.