NEW DELHI:  The river Ganga has been the lifeline to millions of Indians for ages and to highlight its old heritage, the Centre is planning an exhibition on the river at the National Museum in March. It will showcase artefacts, manuscripts, jewellery, paintings and other exhibits to apprise people about the importance of the holy river.

The idea has been mooted by government officials keeping in mind Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s priority of rejuvenating the highly-polluted river.

The National Museum is collecting exhibits that depict the river as ‘Goddess Ganga’. Other artefacts related to former provincial or imperial capitals such as Patliputra, Kannauj, Allahabad, Murshidabad and Calcutta, located on its banks, are also being collected.

The National Museum has some classical collections related to the Ganga, the most famous being a 5th century terracotta statue of the goddess from the Gupta Period, which was found near Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh.

“Efforts are on to collect all artefacts and ancient texts related to the Ganga. Visitors will see how the river became an integral part of our ancestors,” a senior government official said.

Generations have always prayed to the Ganga, but most people are not aware of the role it played in nourishing civilisations.

Nearly 40 per cent of the country’s people are dependent on the river for their livelihood. From its origin in Uttarakhand, the river runs 2,500 km through Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal, before falling into the Bay of Bengal.