Yamuna

Ghats on the Yamuna at Vrindavan.

Vrindavan

Evening worship of the Yamuna at Vrindavan.

A collapsed pontoon bridge on the Yamuna at Vrindavan.

A railway bridge across the Yamuna at Mathura.

Boats ferry pilgrims across the Yamuna at Mathura.

A man takes a bath in the Yamuna at Agra. The holes in the ground have been made by huge tumblers used by washermen.

A dhobi goes about his daily business on the banks of the Yamuna at Agra in the backdrop of the Taj Mahal.

The famous dhobi ghat in Agra has been washing clothes in the Yamuna since the time of the Mughals.

A cowherd chases an errant buffalo in the Yamuna at Agra.

The most famous monument in India, the Taj Mahal is reflected on the placid waters of the Yamuna, on whose banks the structure was built in the mid-seventeeth century by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.

The Taj Mahal seen from Agra Fort, with the Yamuna on the left. The river once used to flow next to the fort but has since shifted course a few hundred metres away. The marble pavilion on the right was where Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan was imprisoned by his son Auarngzeb for the last 8 years of his life.

A vast sea of pollution covers the Yamuna as it takes a bend behind the Taj Mahal at Agra.

Overlooking the Yamuna, Chini ka Rauza is a funerary monument in Agra, containing the tomb of Allama Afzal Khan Mullah, a scholar and poet who was the Prime Minister of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan.

A woman floats a lamp on the Yamuna offering prayers to the God Saturn. This ritual happens on every Saturday, the day named after Saturn.

A marble statue of the Hindu Goddess Durga half immersed in the waters of the Yamuna at Agra. Surprisingly, Agra doesn't yet have any constructed ghats along the Yamuna river.

Egrets wait for the next meal to pass by in the waters of the Yamuna at Agra.

The fort built by Mughal Emperor Akbar on the banks of the Yamuna at Allahabad. It is now occupied by the Indian army.

Temporary shacks and wooden country boats pile up along the banks of Sangam at Allahabad. Sangam means union and marks the holy confluence of the Yamuna and Ganga River at Allahabad.

Pilgrims change clothes and take a quick dip in the middle of the Sangam. Priests on the boats attend to any ritual needs. One of the most sacred places for all Hindus, the Sangam is also the venue of the Maha Kumbh mela which takes place here every 12 years, resulting in the largest congregation of humanity anywhere in the world.

Description

Yamuna is second only to Ganga in its status as one of the holiest rivers in India. They are often treated like two sisters flowing down together from the icy Himalayan peaks in Uttaranchal and joining their courses at Allahabad, the venue of the Kumbh Mela every 12 years. However in Hindu mythology Yamuna is the twin sister of Yama, the God of Death. The modern river however has been the victim of massive pollution as it passes through the densely populated Gangetic plain. Some of India’s top industrial cities lies on its banks, including Delhi, Noida, Mathura, Agra, Firozabad, Etawah and Allahabad, whose sewage systems empty into the Yamuna, making it one of the most polluted rivers in India.