The Ganges or Ganga is a trans-boundary river of Asia which flows through India and Bangladesh. The 2,525 km river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. It is the third largest river on Earth by discharge.
The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus. It is a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs. It is worshipped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism. It has also been important historically, with many former provincial or imperial capitals located on its banks. The main stem of the Ganges begins at the town of Devprayag, at confluence of the Alaknanda, which is the source stream in hydrology because of its greater length, and the Bhagirathi, which is considered the source stream in Hindu mythology.
The Ganges is threatened by severe pollution. This poses a danger not only to humans but also to animals; the Ganges is home to approximately 140 species of fish and 90 species of amphibians.