Wednesday, 18 January 2012

A date with The Ganges

The Ganges is a holy river that has always been a centre of Hindu mythology. It's not just a river but an embodiment of the purest form of water present on the earth.  It has been mentioned in our holy books that she travels with Lord Brahma, the creator of the universe, as a partner in the form of water. She also harmonises with Lord Vishnu who is another powerful God in Hindu mythology. Lord Shiva, perhaps the most powerful of all Gods, is also known as Gangadhara i.e. carrier of The Ganges, depicted as a small gush of water rising from his dreadlocks.  She is known to cure many dreaded diseases; taking a dip in The Holy Ganges shall alleviate one from all kinds of miseries. The Ganges is believed to absorb all kinds of human impurities and washes away all of our sins. Her banks are the most sought after places for burning dead Hindu bodies as it's presumed that it leads to Nirvana or salvation. Perhaps one of the strong reasons that she is always referred as Ganga Maata (Mother Ganges).

These young priests, in above photographs, offer daily prayers to The Ganges, commonly known as Ganga aarti. It’s almost an hour long process and thousands of people gather on the Ghats to witness this timeless, mystical ritual. If you are planning to visit Varanasi, this customary observance should be attended at any cost. I can bet my money on the fact that it’s one of the most fascinating things to watch in Varanasi.