My World Tour: Haridwar, India
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Propitiously located at the point where the Ganges River emerges from the Himalayas, Haridwar is one of the most sacred cities in India for Hindus. Pilgrims flock here all year to ceremonially bathe in the Ganges, which at this point is crystal clear and very cold. It's probably the only point in India where it's not polluted as well. The most interesting part of town is Har-ki-Pairi, the town's main bathing gaht, which is surrounded by a maze of shops selling religious paraphernalia. At dusk, the river comes alive with flickering flames as floating offerings are released onto the Ganges.
Har-ki-Pairi (The Footsep of God) is supposed to be at the precise spot where the Ganges leaves the mountains and enters the plains. Consequently, the river's power to wash away sins at this spot is superlative and endorsed by a footprint Vishnu left in a stone here. Pilgrims hold on to chains set into the steps to ensure they don't get swept away. (That's probably the only safety equipment in all of India) The ghat sits on the west bank of the Ganges Canal and every evening at sunset priests perform ganga aarti (the river worship ceremony) here, where floating lights are set on the water to drift downstream.
Bruce and Julia, World Travelers and
Adventure Seekers Extraordinaire.
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Revised: 05 Feb 2007 20:21:25 -0600 .