The physico-chemical characteristics and distribution of trace metals in the ecological elements of the river Ganges in the Western Uttar Pradesh (India) were monitored during the year 2007 to 2008. The core parameters as per the National Water Quality Monitoring Program such as pH, temperature, conductivity, DO, BOD, nitrate-N, nitrite-N, faecal coliforms and total coliforms and other general parameters were studied, which showed that the river water is mildly polluted at various sampling stations from Hardwar to Kanpur. The degree of pollution varies significantly with respect to individual parameters. The pH, temperature, conductivity and dissolved oxygen were found to designate the river water in A-class of water as per the criteria made for the use based classification of surface waters in India. While the other core parameters like Faecal and total coliforms suggest it to be placed in the Cclass of water. Deposition of trace metals in the river sediments was found to vary from 1.55 to 4.80 times except Cr and follows the increasing trend as : Cr >>> Co ; Pb > Cd > Zn > Ni > Mn > Cu. The Cr accumulation at Kanpur-d/s sediments was found 37.8 times higher than at Kanpur-u/s sediments, which is an indication of the worst case of sediment contamination. The aquatic sub-merged plants were found to accumulate toxic metals in the order : Ni > Cr > Pb > Cd up to Kannauj and thereafter, abundant Cr accumulation was observed in the plants in and around Kanpur region. While in the case of fish samples, the toxic metals were found to remain lesser than 5 Ag/g up to Kannauj sampling station and thereafter, a very sharp increase was observed in the Kanpur region especially in the case of Pb and Cr. The accumulation trend of toxic metals in fish samples were followed as Cr > Pb > Ni > Co > Cd at Kanpur-u/s and Pb > Cr > Ni > Co > Cd at Kanpurd/ s.