Sunday, October 12, 2008

Day 3: Har Ki Pauri- Haridwar

Its 5:30 pm. I am sitting besides the Ganges at Har Ki Pauri. I secured a vantage point from where I would be able to witness the Aarti clearly. Aarti at Har Ki Pauri, of which I had heard so much about. My stopover at Haridwar was only to see the Aarti. All the reading and research that I did about Haridwar drove in one point: Do not miss the aarti at Har Ki Pauri.
And so I am here today in flesh and blood to witness the same. I can sense the ascent in the speed of the flowing river. I am careful to keep my shoes away from the waters, since it is considered disrespectful. I am waiting to get dark. People around me are gradually perching themselves over plastic sheets waiting for the Aarti to begin.

Yutaka, from Kyoto, Japan

I have a bunch of foreigners besides me who are getting restless waiting. I tell them, "Another 1 hour". They sigh. Meanwhile we click pictures and share information about each other. They are in India for an internship program in an NGO.

I look back and am stunned to see every inch of the ghats occupied by milling crowd. I felt elated to be occupying the front row.

And then the Aarti began with the rendition of "Om Jaye Gange Maate". I get goosebumps instantly when the whole gathering joins the aarti aloud. The whole of Har Ki Pauri reverberates with the chants. The experience is soul stirring.

Even the most hardened soul would begin to get the pious and sacred vibes within himself. I felt the same. The dark banks were now illumined with hundreds of diyas which were being offered to the Ganges.

I spent a quiet moment absorbing the experience. After the Aarti was over, I bade farewell to my foreign friends and strolled back towards my room.

DURING THE DAY at Har Ki Pauri:

Earlier at noon I had taken a quick dip in the Ganges before visiting the temple.
I had slowly and consciously touched the waters, realising the sanctity and relevance of the place. It was cold.
I was also scared to get into it. For some reason, the flow of the Ganges is too strong and mighty at the ghats in Har ki Pauri. I held on to the iron fetters and stepped into it gingerly. The waters stung me like bolt. I took a deep breath and took a full dip inside. It was invigorating. I braved the dip twice more and came out. Its widely believed that a dip here at the Ganges would wash away all your past sins. I felt cleansed. I felt really ;)


Girl With Big Eyes said...

Great photos. Lovely reading about the aarti. My mom had visited these parts early this year, and I remember how excited she was about the whole thing!

Waiting for more.

Ravi Kumar said...

Girl: Thanks for dropping by! :)

Praneeta Paradkar said...

The pictures are amazing and I see that your photgraphy skills are getting deadlier :-).

I like the choice of subjects for the pics - far more richer and profound than subjects I have seen on some other blogs such as bathroom faucets or silhouettes of toothbrushes...

Keep going...

Ravi Kumar said...

Praneeta: Thanks for dropping by. The pictures are from a modest camera and I m trying hard to invest in a better camera.

anjali gupta said...

Hi..Thanks for sharing your Haridwar travel experience. The prime attraction of the town is Har ki pauri haridwar and is the first place where pristine Ganga touches plains.

Vishva Bhraman said...

Nice article..

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