06/365 A Dip in the Ganges Rishikesh, India)

image06/365 – A Dip in the Ganges

Today I had the good fortune of traveling down to the town of Rishikesh to be a part of a special daily ritual known as an aarti, which takes place every evening at sundown on the banks of the Ganges River.  I say “good fortune” because in India they say that one only witnesses such beauty if Mother Ganga herself wants them to.

As I sat on the ghat steps listening to the melodious chanting all around me, I watched as the women in this picture made their way down the steps until they were at the water’s edge.  One by one they put their bare feet in the water and despite the chill in the air, they began the process of putting the water, believed to have healing and purification properties, on their arms, faces, and heads. When their bodies were sufficiently covered in Ganges water, they cupped their hands dipped them into the river one last time, and raised their cupped hands to their lips to take a sip of the sweet holy water.

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