Saturday, January 13, 2007

Aarti on the Ganga

One of the most special moments of our trip was witnessing and being part of the daily aarti (public puja ritual) that takes place on the banks of the mighty Ganga each evening at Rishikesh. A heavily bearded guru stands at the river's edge in the middle of the picture (later, he will lead the singing), on the stony breach sits the figure of Shiva. After dusk has fallen, people take turns to crouch down by the water and set floating blessings of candles, flowers and burning incense on their way. The Ganga is not simply a river in India, it is the sacred stream that binds all Hindhus together throughout history. And Rishikesh is a gathering place for holy men and women from across the country, to be close to the water, cold and clear from its descent in the nearby Himalayas.


Anonymous,  8:27 am  

Looks like something interesting to witness and see..

Wordsbody 6:56 pm  

Are you sure the river is not called the 'Ganges'?

That's what I remember it as, though admittedly I've not been there.

Jeremy 7:32 am  

The river was called the Ganges in India during colonial times by the colonialists - it was an anglicisation of Ganga. Its a bit like calling Uluru Ayer's Rock - an anachronistic throwback. Interestingly, many people still call Bombay Bombay (and not Mumbai).

Anonymous,  8:33 am  

Indian friends get offended when you call Ganga 'Ganges. So it is good that you are maintaining the local term for it. i must admit i can't stop callying mumbia bombay. beautiful pics

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