The Goddess Ganga – presides at Allahabad

The Ganga, the river Ganges!

It collects its water from the Himalayas. It flows for 2500 km across India. A formidable water resource! The holiest of rivers! Hindus sanctify the river as a goddess; the Goddess Ganga, the Mother Ganga. She is a beautiful woman and devotes Lord Krishna. This infuriates Radha, the lover of Lord Krishna. Radha curses Ganga! Go down to earth and flow as a river! And she does, still. She wears a white crown, carries a water lily in one hand and a water pot in the other. And, wait for it, she rides her pet crocodile.

Celebrate the descent of Ganga. She feeds the earth and gathers its people. Hold her waters in your hand and know no lies. Immerse your body and soak away your sins. Light incense and a lamp. Set sail to a little paper boat. Offer her sandal wood, flowers and milk. Roll and drop flour balls to feed her fish. Invoke her divine blessing.

Mother Ganga is of utmost import to a Hindu. A pilgrimage is a pursuit of a lifetime.

We join, in Allahabad, at Sangam. Here the Ganga meets two other rivers, the Yamuna and Saraswati. This most sacred confluence hosts the world’s largest gathering. Every six years, a six week festival, culminates in six communal holy dips. In 2013, 100 million attend the festival with 32 million on the main bathing day.

But all year round pilgrims arrive at this holy spot. They row out in little boats to take a holy dip. Our experience is of an ordinary day in a normal working week.

Harry takes these photos.

The Goddess Ganga .... on her pet crocodile. Not a good picture, but our only picture.

The Goddess Ganga …. on her pet crocodile. Not a good picture, but our only picture.

 

This is Sangam at Allahabad, where the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati Rivers meet.

This is Sangam at Allahabad, where the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati Rivers meet.

Here we find stalls with shaded seating and loads of wooden boats.

Here we find stalls with shaded seating and loads of wooden boats.

We settle in a shady spot and slowly take it all in ...

We settle in a shady spot and slowly take it all in …

... ladies selling flowers ...

… ladies selling flowers …

.... and paper boats and incense and candles and matches and flour balls ...

…. and paper boats and incense and candles and matches and flour balls …

... and determined pilgrims ...

… and determined pilgrims …

... and holy men ...

… and holy men …

...

We find a boat and oarsman for ourselves.

We find a boat and oarsman for ourselves.

We head out, like the others, towards the sacred centre where the 3 rivers meet.

We head out, like the others, towards the sacred centre where the 3 rivers meet.

On route we feed the birds ...

On route we feed the birds …

... like the others.

… like the others.

And, with help, we prepare a little paper boat with petals and incense and a rupee note ...

And, with help, we prepare a little paper boat with petals and incense and a rupee note …

 

 ... and place our own 'hopes' inside and let it set sail on the Ganga.

… and place our own ‘hopes’ inside and let it set sail on the Ganga.

Near the confluence ... we find boats attached together like this ...

Near the confluence … we find boats attached together like this …

 

... and pilgrims being assisted with  spiritual cleansing ...

… and pilgrims being assisted with spiritual cleansing …

...

...

On route back we see pilgrims worshipping in many different ways.

On route back we see pilgrims worshipping in many different ways.

Back on shore the sun has almost set.

Back on shore the sun has almost set.

But holy bathers are still making their way in ...

But holy bathers are still making their way in …

... and out ....

… and out ….

... and in and out ...

… and in and out …

A beautiful experience for Harry and I.

A beautiful experience for Harry and I.

We leave the Goddess Ganga ... with the hope that she will recover for another day.

We leave the Goddess Ganga … with the hope that she will recover for another day.

7 Responses to The Goddess Ganga – presides at Allahabad

  1. Anonymous

    Thank you for another edition on a journey that few can make!

  2. Philna

    Wonderful colours!

  3. Jan and Gail

    you have described for us a real holy and spiritual experience and the pictures really also tell the story. I loved it and especially when you put in your own little boat to Godess Ganga. What an experience. I loved it says Gail

  4. Louis

    Quite an experience! I presume you didn’t go into the water, or did I see Harry in the water in one of the pictures…

    Thanks again for sharing your wonderful travel experiences – Your stories and pictures are very informative adn entertaining and I think you could easily assemble your pictures and text in a book, which many Motorcyclist- Adventurers worldwide would like to read. It will be something like the ‘Lonely Planet for Bikers-Asia-Touring-Trip’ –
    I am looking forward to your next report!

    Louis

  5. Rodney

    Thanks for sharing. The world is made up of many types and cultures.

  6. Jim and Muriel

    Beautifully told and beautifully illustrated—–thanks you two !!

  7. Mike

    I have often heard of the holy river and the rituals and now I know what it is all about – thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

PLEASE COMPLETE THIS SIMPLE SUM TO HELP US PREVENT SPAMMERS *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.