Ganges’ water is now scientifically validated to be ‘holy’ and ‘healing’ as its self purifying action has strong scientific evidence.  Scientists at three government laboratories were investigating for the medicinal materials in the waters of the Ganga through a study they say is intended to investigate the river’s healing properties described in folklore. Ganga is considered to be the holy mother river of India also hailed as goddess.

The Microbiologists from Chandigarh-based Institute of Microbial Technology (IMTECH) along scientists from several other Indian technical institutes have scientifically validated and resolved the mysterious ‘special power’ of the water of the Ganges, which Hindus term as “Brahm Dravya” or divine elixir.

These scientists have studied the special characteristics of Ganges water and found that it has several Bacteriophages responsible for keeping the water non-putrefying. Bacteriophages are a kind of virus that eats bacteria. The discovery offers clear answers for the mystery surrounding the self-purifying properties of Ganga water.

The IMTECH team has conducted the analysis on the water samples collected during the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon period from the Haridwar to Varanasi stretch of the Ganges, which is considered to be highly polluted.  In future, they also intend to conduct a comparative study by collecting water samples from Yamuna and Narmada rivers to check the difference in water from the Ganges.

Importantly, India’s Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Ministry, headed by Ms. Uma Bharati, had ordered to conduct the study in November, 2014. The Union water resources ministry has funded to identify the special properties of Ganga jal. Besides IMTECH, the other scientific organisations participating in the project include Nagpur-based National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow-based Indian Institute of Toxicology Research and Lucknow-based Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants.  The consolidated report of all the Labs participating in the current study will be submitted to the government by December 2016.

According to Dr. Shanmugam Mayilraj, Senior Principal Scientist at the CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology, the analysis of the fresh water sedimentary metagenome-viromes revealed that the holy river Ganges contains novel viromes as well as unexplored double stranded DNA viruses.  It has happened for the first time that scientists have discovered new viruses. Dr. Shanmugam and his team has found 20-25 viruses, which can be used to cure tuberculosis (Mycobacterium), typhoid (Salmonella), pneumonia (Klebsiella and Acinetobactor), cholera (Vibrio), dysentery (Shigella), diarrhoea (Aeromonoas) meningitis (Cronobacter), and others.  “Analysis of the fresh water sedimentary metagenome-viromes revealed that the holy river Ganges not only house novel viromes, but also include unexplored double stranded DNA viruses,” The Indian Science Journal quotes the Senior Principal Scientist at the CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology, Chandigarh, as saying. Dr. Shanmugam added that there are a number of novel viruses found in the fresh water sediments from the Ganges, which were never revealed earlier. Moreover, the team also found a number of different bacteriophages, which have specific bactericidal characteristics. Throughout history, people found many medicinal qualities in the Ganga water. Even, several scientists in the past – Indian and international, have also found certain clinical properties of Ganga water, but it is for the credit of microbiologists of IMTECH to identify them. This resolves the mystery for the self-purifying properties of Ganga water.

Indians have traditionally celebrated all the rivers. Rising from a river valley civilization, it was but natural to celebrate the rivers this way. Now this scientific evidence in terms of a research study will provide more reasons for such celebrations.


by Ashwani Srivastava

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