Anti-putrefaction properties of Ganga
River waters usually tend to putrefy when the lack of oxygen promotes the growth of anaerobic bacteria that lends the water a distinct smell and stale taste. The water of Ganga though considered one of the dirtiest, does not tend to putrefy over longer periods of storage. In fact, British Physician, C.E. Nelson, observed that the Ganga water taken from Hooghly river (one of its dirtiest mouths) by returning ships to England remained fresh throughout the voyage.
Anti-putrefaction Properties of Ganga was the reason East India Company ships only used water from Ganges for drinking purposes on their 3-month long voyage back to England because it stayed “sweet and fresh.” In a study conducted by Malaria Research Center in New Delhi it was observed that water from upper ambits of Ganga did not host mosquito breeding, and also prevented mosquito breeding in any water it was added to.
Anti-bacterial nature of Ganga Jal (Ganges Water)
Hindus have always believed Ganga Jal to be pure, pious and drinkable no matter what. Much reverence is given to Ganga water during Hindu rituals (from birth to death).
But is there really any scientific validity to prove it? In 1896, Ernest Hanbury Hankin (a British bacteriologist) after testing the water from Ganga wrote a paper that was published in French Journal describing that the bacterium Vibrio Cholerae that causes the deadly cholera, when put into the waters of Ganga died within three hours. The same bacteria continued to thrive in distilled water even after 48 hours.