Nature grows in fractal patterns and many the fractal structure of many ecosystems can observed from satellites.
Photo Credit: NASA,Space Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-87
The Ganges (Ganga) River and its surrounding watershed supports one of the most fertile and densely populated regions on the planet, and its intricate web of waterways offered a stunning view to astronauts looking down from outer space.
The Ganges basin extends over more than 1 million square kilometers (386,000 square miles). It has the highest population of any river basin in the world. It contains over 400 million people.
The mouth of River Ganga forms the world’s largest delta, known as Sunderbans, and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. It covers more than 105,000 square kilometers (41,000 square miles).
Ganga is also the home for fresh water dolphins and Ganges sharks, both of which are endangered species with Ganges shark being critically endangered.
On the Ganges banks are India’s greatest pilgrimage sites like Rishikesh, Haridwar, Varanasi, Allahabad and Kolkata, which are visited by millions of people from every corner of the world to quench their thirst for spiritual knowledge and liberation.
In Hinduism the Ganges River is the most sacred river, and is worshipped as the Goddess Ganga.
Ritual bathing in the Ganges was and is an important part of Hindu pilgrimage and the ashes of the cremated are often spread across her waters.
The river is, along with two other sites, the location of the extraordinary Kumbh Mela ritual which dates back to at least the 7th century CE. Now held every three years, Hindu pilgrims of all social status perform a ritual bathing in the river which is thought to purify body and soul, wash away karma, and bring good fortune. The event, involving from 70 to 100 million people, grows ever bigger and can claim to be the largest human gatherings in history.
In 1896, a British bacteriologist Ernest Hanbury Hankin tested the bacterium Vibrio Cholerae that causes the deadly disease cholera, and found that this bacterium died within three hours when put into the waters of Ganga.
Studies have shown that the Ganges River decomposes organic wastes at a rate 15 to 25 times faster compared to other rivers in entire world.
In a study conducted by Malaria Research Center in New Delhi it was observed that water from the upper ambits of Ganga did not host mosquito breeding, and also prevented mosquito breeding if added to other water sources.
The Ganges River system is fed from a variety of sources including the Gangotri Glacier in the Himalayas and the July to September monsoon rains.