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June 12, 2020 / catherinebwrites


Sadhu on a Ghat

We got up at some ungodly hour and headed for Assi Ghat where morning Aarti starts at five. The ceremony is held every morning come rain or come shine. It was dark and cold, and I was grinchy for lack of coffee. Why hadn’t I just stayed in bed?

Morning Aarti is like a reverse of the Evening Fire ceremony. This time a group of young women sang the hymns with elegant gestures to emphasize phrases.

Singers at morning Aarti

The priests began with with fiery candelabras and continued with smaller fires and smaller fires. As the ceremony progressed darkness began to fade, the river began to glimmer, the sandbank and the sky melded into one pearly presence. Indians, it seemed, celebrate the natural rhythms of life much more than we do in the West.

Words are never enough to describe these ceremonies. For a better idea take a look at this video

When Aarti was over, Sunny, our guide, led us down to a boat and we rowed along the ghats as the sun rose to tint the world pearly pink. Beyond the wide ripple of river, the sandbank was a violet stain. Birds marked the sky like a Japanese print. And all was quiet. Peace descended like a protective cloak.

Dawn on the Ganges

As we floated past the Ghats pilgrims bathed in the water. It was cold and I shivered at the thought of immersing myself in the river but Sunny insisted that the water was warm. I dipped my hand into the Ganges. He was right, the water was warm. Was it heat retained from Indian summers? Or from the uses the river is put to? Who knows?

Early morning bathing in the Ganges

I closed my eyes and listened to the lap of the water and the slap of the oars. I was glad I had not stayed in bed. This was worth getting up for. Now I understood why Indians say that the Ganges is it is sacred.

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Leave a Comment
  1. white tap / Jun 19 2020 11:25 am

    very interesting, good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.. I was googling and find good topic like this, I like read this blog and I agree with you because you have good way to explain it very well.


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