The memories of waking early on the banks of the Ganges and watching the sun rise will stay with me for ever.
Sunset on the Ganges
It was the quality of the light which had me saying Wow…….!!
The surface of the water was like a mirror and a soft layer of mist, like cotton wool, sat on it’s surface. Delicate pastel shades of pink, then lilac progressing up to blue rose up to the sky, and the white temple on the opposite side of the river bank seemed to have a fuzzy, surreal illuminous quality to it.
Slowly a small group of sari-clad local women made their way to the waters edge. We went to say hello and once again I was struck by the humility and gentleness of these lovely people. Using a mixture of sign language and the odd understood word peppered here and there, they told us they were there to worship the rising sun……their “Morning Puja”.
They indicated that it would be fine for us to photograph their worship, and I felt so privileged to have been allowed into the private moments for a short time of these beautiful, amazing ladies.
They entered the water fully clothed, hands in prayer position facing the rising sun, chanting quiet mantras. They began to submerge themselves in the glistening waters, then they filled the silver pots they carried and poured out the holy water as an offering to the sun.
Early Morning Puja
All the while, the gold and silver threaded through their saris glittered, the white haze covered temple in the background watched over us all, the beautiful pale pastel colours of the sky took my breath away and the serene scene before me calmed my soul. As I allowed my senses to drink in the scene before me I stood in amazement unable to completely comprehend that I was here, a spectator in what was a marvellous spectacle to me, but which to the wonderful ladies before me was just a normal part of their everyday lives.
Whenever I witness the devotion of the Indian people to their worship I always feel emotional and can’t explain why it affects me, a non-religious person, this way.
As the large orange and red ball of sun rose in the sky and we broke camp, life on the Ganges began it’s circle again. Today, 10th February 2013, was a very auspicious bathing day for Hindus and was dedicated to the Goddess of Wisdom, Saraswati.
After another idyllic day of sailing, as we struck camp for the evening, I thought nothing could go wrong having learned my lessons from the previous night………How wrong could I be!!
Struck down in the middle of the pitch dark night with the “Rangoon Runs” was my worst nightmare come true. Suffice to say I dealt with the situation admirably.
The following morning as we packed up our camp we all looked a bit grubby and bedraggled. our clothing looking the worse for wear. One of my companions pointed to the backside of someone’s brown stained trousers caused probably by sitting on the ground, and whispered “Never trust a fart“……………under my present state of infirmity I quickly decided that this was the most valuable pearl of wisdom I’d received since my arrival in India!!!