Apr 8, 2013

G is for Ganges !

A lot of people try to find peace in a temple, or in the hushed environs of a church. Some of us try to find peace in the few minutes we meditate in. I find my own peace in the glittering waters of the Ganges, as she flows down from the mountains, pure and pristine.

The first time I saw Ganges or Ganga Maa as we like to call her, I was a small child of 6. We were visiting Rishikesh and I had my first look of the river from my cottage window, where I could see her flowing gracefully between the emerald green hills.


The next morning my grandmother took me to the River bank. It must be a little before sunrise and the sky was still a dark inky blue.The first hint of the sunrise came when the sky slowly started turning a pale pink, the stars getting extinguished one by one as if someone was blowing out candles. 

Then the sun peaked out from behind the hills, as shiny as a newly minted coin, a hue of yellow with just a hint of red at the rim. Slowly it rose higher and higher, painting the sky first a rosy pink and then a bright orange. Rays of sunlight burst forth from behind the mountains as if someone had let go a quiver full of brilliant yellow arrows. The rippling waters of the river turned into a molten gold. Far away I could hear the priests blowing their conchs and starting the morning Prayers in the many temples that dot Rishikesh. I sat their mesmerized, the sound of the conchs as gentle and soothing as the breeze in my face.

My grandmother stood immersed in the river till her waist, murmuring prayers as she stood facing the rising sun. There was something in her countenance- peace, acceptance, reverence, humility – that to me still signifies what devotion is all about. 
I took this picture many years later, on another visit to Rishikesh. 


The Ganges originates at Gaumukh, Roaring and tumbling down from the locks of the mighty Shiva in a resplendent waterfall, as the legend goes.The trek to Gaumukh is treacherous; I have tried it once but failed miserably. 


The Ganges just outside Gangotri
From Gaumukh it comes down till Gangotri and then flows down to Uttarkashi and the plains of India. 

The Ganges near Uttarkashi ! 
The most famous pilgrim centers on the banks of the river are Rishikesh and Haridwar. The Ganga Aarti at both these places is a very spiritual experience. 
To know more about the Ganga Aarti in India, click Here. 

When I feel like spending some time on the banks of Maa Ganga, I try to go to Gangotri or Uttarkashi. These places are very high up in the mountains and are still untouched by humanity as compared to the better known Haridwar and Rishikesh.

Sitting at the banks of the river there is a humbling experience. The Himalayan ranges rearing up towards the sky, the snow peaks glittering in the sunlight as if on fire. The surroundings hushed and silent; the only sound that of the Ganga flowing down from the mountains, almost dancing over the rocks, unrestrained in all her glory and splendor. 


A sense of serenity and peace. An opportunity to calm my mind and recharge my soul. Time to sit still and connect with one self and with God. 



(I haven't really had time to copyright the pics, but all of them have been taken by me at one point of time or the other !)

64 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you ! India a land for legends !

      Delete
  2. There is something immensely magical about our perennial rivers - I grew up on the banks of Godavari. Thanks for stirring the soul with your blog:-) I had the opportunity to visit the Ganges as well. The photographs are a hoot! Cheers - Laxmi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Laxmi ! You are right our Rivers are magical !

      Delete
  3. Lovely, Ruchira. I hope to visit Gangotri in the near future! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have seen the story of the Ganges so many times on Discovery ! but never have so far seen the river itself...

    Wonderful pictures btw ! :D

    ReplyDelete
  5. The pictures with writing gives a visual feel The Ganga. I too hope to visit someday. :)

    POETICbug

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. welcome ehre Salvwi. You must visit it .. its beautiful.

      Delete
  6. Lovely! I fell in love with Ganges at Allahabad - watching how she takes so many hopes and dreams along and continues to flow amazes me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your comment! Its so true the Ganges does carry our hopes and dreams along !

      Delete
  7. Lovely post. I've had the opportunity see the Teesta river in Sikkim (which connects Ganges later on). Your post brings back fond memories. Love it!

    http://jiljilramamani.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. So glad you liked it ! I have heard a lot about the Teesta but never got the opportunity to visit it !

      Delete
  8. I wish to visit Haridwar and Rishikesh some time. Unfortunately, by the time the river reaches Bengal, it is black and heavy with silt and God knows what! It is a very disturbing site how people desecrate it even while calling it holy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go to Rishikesh or better still Uttarkashi. Haridwar is so polluted now. Its horrible what we are doing to our rivers !

      Delete
  9. Ruchira, I read every line twice....it had such a soothing effect, both your words and the pics. Thank you for this post.

    Note to self - must visit the Ganges.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you ! I aim to please :P So glad you liked it !

      Delete
  10. Absolutely beautiful - words and pictures. Visiting the Ganges is one of my dreams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find my visits there very soothing ..

      Delete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Such lovely pictures and poetic descriptions...Could almost picture your grandmother standing waist deep in the pristine waters and saying the prayers. Should connect with the Ganges at the earliest ! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sridevi glad you liked it !

      Delete
  13. Ruchira - Me gonna plagiarize the post :P hehe kidding
    But ur rishikesh clearly gave me idea for a topic I would like to write on my "M" day - My Manali Visit :)
    CANT THANK U ENOUGH
    loved ur post and pics dear--- I too love sitting by river bay and watching sunset , sunrise
    Did the same even at River kosi
    Rishikesh was in hitlist but couldnt go due to lack of time :( Next time if I get a chance wont miss the rafting :) Did u DO there ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Manali is so lovely ! Rafting at Rishikesh is lots of fun !

      Delete
  14. Beautiful is the only word on the ways you described the sky, the travils of the river and the pictures.

    After wishing from a long while, I got to visit haridwar lat year and could become part of the magnificent and humbling Ganga aarti. Can't describe my feelings. It was awesome.

    Great post you have there Ruchira!!!

    http://ektakhetan.blogspot.in/2013/04/the-grasshopper-experiment.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ganga Aarti is indeed humbling. Its a very spiritual experience.

      Delete
  15. Grandkids and grandmothers have such beautiful memories. Sometimes I feel I cant wait to be a grandmom because I had a really great one and I cant wait to try to be like her. Beautiful post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I do have very good memories with my grandma !

      Delete
  16. Your words and pics transported me the time when I went to Rishikesh for a workshop. Our camping tents were on the banks of Ganges and every morning and evening (sometimes late into the night), I would sit outside my tent and soak in the beauty and the sounds... it was such a peaceful and a soothing experience! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the sound of the river is one of the most beautiful sounds !

      Delete
  17. Your description of the sunrise was lyrical. In fact the whole post is. Beautiful writing as always, Ruchira.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. So glad you liked it !

      Delete
  18. Truly poetic. Somehow have never visited the Ganga but would love to some day. The pics are really awesome. I so envy your travels :).

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ruchira, You have a rare talent for physical descriptions. Thanks to you, I know exactly what the sight of the Ganga 'feels' like.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Recently a friend of mine visited the Ganga and was bugging me with the poetic beauty. Waiting to see the great Ganga in real soon. :)

    - A fellow blogger from A to Z!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its really beautiful !
      Welcome here :P

      Delete
  21. Lovely pics! I have been to these places long back, but I remember the Ganaga Aarti vividly. Even at 7/8 years I could feel that this was an out-of-the -world experience. Loved the way you described the sunrise! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you ! Ganga Aarti is indeed a spiritual experience !

      Delete
  22. Beautiful and uplifting, both your words and your photos. I feel more a peace just after reading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you liked it ... Welcome here !

      Delete
  23. This post of your is so beautiful that it calmed and soothed my mind. I feel good and fresh now. I felt that this post also has a hint of spirituality.

    Loved it Ruchira. Going to read it again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank You, Thank you, Thank you !

      Delete
  24. Ruchira such beautiful post and pictures! I plan to go there with mom dad sometime August. Specifically for the view and aarti. Which one would you suggest? Haridwar or Rishikesh? I always thought Rishikesh is about water sports only. Let me know!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Lovely post. Water is magical. The Mississippi River does the same for me:)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Beautiful ! I Loved the pictures and your expressions are really good, thanks for sharing !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed it !

      Delete
  27. I was really close to my grandmom and she passed away last year. This post brought some great memories of a trip almost 2 decades ago to Haridwar and Rishikesh with her. She was pretty liberal et al, but the sight of the Ganga was extra special to her. She sang, and prayed and did the holy dip a few times and told us SO MANY stories of Ganga those few days.

    Big thanks!

    Meera

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hugs Meera ! So glad this post brought back great memories !

      Delete
  28. Please please please write a travelogue. You have such a lot of travel under your belt, you have a talent at describing and all those photos - please do it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Thank you ! I am truly humbled !

      Delete
  29. Have been to Haridwar and Rishikesh...but, Gangotri is still a dream. I love the sound of water and like to sit by the banks/beach and watch them...never tires me.
    Nice pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gangotri is beautiful ! Sound of water is so soothing !

      Delete
  30. The way you summed up the morning view is poetic. This post will stay with me for a long long time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Saru, thank you. So glad you enoyed it !

      Delete
  31. Wow! By the Ganga...in Rishikesh.....beautiful......peaceful....could feel it from your post! And beautiful pictures :)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great job on your A-Z Challenge. Enjoyed this last entry very much.

    ReplyDelete
  33. A very very lovely and knowledgeable post. As per our (I mean Hindu myth) The ganges is a canal planned and constructed by the great engineer of that time named "Bhagirath" in order to connect Himalayan glaciers to Indian Ocean to facilitate irrigation of arid plain lands of Norther India.
    The greatness or the sacred aspect of the water of river ganges was demonstrated for the first time by the fact that the ailing sons of King Sagar suffering at the shore of the Bay of Bengal were cured by the the water of this canal. So, the place where the ganges meets the ocean is marked as first holy pilgrim place of the Ganges. This place is known as "Gangasagar" situated at the south of the city Kolkata.
    Mrinal

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Uncle ! I am so glad you enjoyed the post !

      Delete

 

Nirjharini Copyright © 2011 - |- Template created by O Pregador - |- Powered by Blogger Templates