Close encounters of the river kind

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Like our ancestors who settled on riverbanks, I too have lived in cities situated on the banks of some famous rivers – though not for the same reasons as our ancestors 🙂

Let me see…..

My very early years were spent in Secunderabad and Hyderabad, where the Musi river, a tributary of the Krishna river flows and divides the twin cities. There are other water bodies too but I have faint recollections of only the Husain Sagar lake, and none whatsoever of Musi. The lake was not as jazzed up as it is now with the Buddha statue and all.

The next city we moved to was Vijayawada, where river Krishna flows. I have vivid memories of this river as the entire family went by foot to its banks every Amavasya day. We all took a holy dip and father did the rituals for our ancestors. And one of the most enchanting sights for the six-year-old in me was the train trundling along the bridge over it, as I excitedly felt the ground vibrate under my feet. We bathed pretty close to the bridge in those days. But the Prakasam barrage that loomed further ahead gave me the shivers and I would studiously avoid looking in that direction. I wonder what it was about it that made me so scared!

 Is there anything scary here, folks?

Prakasam Barrage on the Krishna: Is there anything scary here, folks?

Nagpur had two rivers – the Nag and Kanhan. There were many lakes too but being far away, any outing was reserved for the visits by cousins from other cities or the odd school trip. A canal of the Nag river ran behind our school and I could see it from the window next to my desk in my fifth standard classroom. It was no more than a sewage canal though and had earned the sobriquet of Nag nala.

When we moved to Tiruchirapalli during my high school, I was excited about being on the banks of the beautiful Kaveri. I was fascinated by the ‘garland’ she made around Srirangam with her tributary Kollidam. The impressive Kallanai dam did not scare me as the Prakasam barrage once had 🙂 It was beautiful. Again, we lived too far away and visits were limited to a few times a year with my parents. My older siblings had either got married or moved away and it was not as much fun as the monthly visits to Krishna had been during my childhood.

The only city I lived in, which had the sea in addition to lakes and the odd river was/is Mumbai .

In Delhi, I commuted along the Yamuna to and from work every day. She didn’t evoke much feeling in me for, sadly she was more like a stream – and a dirty one at that and was more in the news for the filth and pollutants she was receptacle to.

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That is not foam, but chemical pollutants

The Narmada in Jabalpur with her Dhuandhar waterfalls was impressive and beautiful. The frothy, tumbling waters as she flows over the rocks in the valleys, can also be as still as glass when she flows between the famous marble rocks. Make no mistake, she is someone to be admired and looked at with awe and reverence.

Still waters run deep -- the Narmada at Marble Rocks

Still waters run deep — the Narmada at Marble Rocks

All mighty and beautiful rivers — but there was little emotional connect with any of them. One river which I had felt really close to and wanted to ‘get to know better‘ was Kaveri. If I had got to live closer to her, I might have too. Who knows?

However, it wasn’t till I set my eyes on the Ganga that I fell in love with a river for the first time in my life. Pardon me for being mushy, but when I touched the waters, I felt directly connected to Lord Shiva. Legend has it that He contained her torrential flow in his locks lest the earth was inundated as she fell from the heavens. (Legends of Ganga.

The feeling perhaps also had something to do with growing older. Just the flowing water of the river had enchanted me when I had been younger. With age, more profound feelings and philosophical metaphors took over. I began comparing the ceaseless flow to the way time and life flowed on; I looked at the  way water flowed regardless of the hurdles in its way, winding and leaping over them and wanted to be that way – not bowing down to life’s pressures; I was overcome by humility and shame when I saw the way the river cleansed not just dirty bodies but also tarnished souls, even at the cost of dirtying herself. Isn’t that how we treat our mothers and women, expecting them to forever be the givers without a murmur?  Yes, it was the symbolism of the river that moved me the most followed closely by its spirituality.

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A lone diya serenely floating down the Ganga

About a decade ago, I had stayed at Rishikesh, alone for six weeks, when Ganga had become my soulmate. She had helped me sort my muddled thoughts and find peace. I have been there many times since and on a recent trip, I felt a change in her mood. Last year’s flood fury has left indelible marks on the landscape and the river itself. I was perhaps imagining it, but I felt her infinite sadness — of having washed away so many lives in her unabated fury. After all, which mother would like to see her children suffer? But how much can even a mother take? Perhaps she had just snapped. And during one especially muggy night, I thought I heard and saw the many wandering souls and was shaken to the core.

This time, we made a day trip to Devprayag, the last of the five prayags (confluence of one more rivers) where Alaknanda merges with various rivers descending from Gangotri. It is here that she meets Bhagirathi to finally become Ganga and flow down to the plains. (Panch Prayag). While Alaknanda is a deeper shade of greenish blue and is more sedate as an elder sister is wont to be, Bhagirathi is lighter in colour, more boisterous and noisy.

Devprayag Sangam - on the right is Alaknanda and on the left is Bhagirathi

Devprayag Sangam – on the right is Alaknanda and on the left is Bhagirathi

The other prayags higher above must be even more spectacular. I lack the felicity of expression to describe the awesome sight and so will desist and let the picture speak for itself. All I can say is that it is a joyous sight, much like sisters meeting after a prolonged separation.

The town of Devprayag itself is quaint, built into the mountain on both sides of the river and connected by a road bridge and a pedestrian suspension bridge. We walked down the narrow winding lanes and saw houses with ornate traditional doors and windows. Higher up though, two and three storeyed structures are rapidly coming up. Trash and sewage of course spill over the slopes…

Mountains and rivers are held sacred by not just Hindus but people of other religions too. Tourism, whether pleasure tourism or temple tourism is fine only so long as the tourists respect the mountains and rivers — if not as sacred entities, at least as Mother Nature.  Littering is certainly not one of the ways of doing it. Wrappers, remains of meals, empty water and booze bottles….the sight of the last especially put me off.

Cleaning the Ganga and our other rivers  is a humongous task if not downright impossible unless we change our ways. Otherwise posts like this would be all that remain bringing up nostalgic memories.

Pics credit:

Homepage:www.tripadvisor.in

Prakasam Barrage: www.thehindu.com 

Yamuna :www.telegraph.co.uk

Narmada: en.wikigogo.org

62 comments

  1. You’ve visited Bheraghat! I wish I had known you then! 😦

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    1. 🙂 me too!

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  2. A few years back we went on a tour and bathed at Pushkar…I still feel sick at the feeling of ‘bathing’ in the dirty water. My relatives never thought twice before getting into the water…I was actually compelled to dip into the water. It was stinking. The changing place also was not clean. Somehow we came to the hotel room and took real bath. Green dirty water was flowing down from me! I thought I was going to be sick for the rest of the tour. But, thank god (!), I was OK. Went to Amarnath and came back, without any problem. You can guess what my sis in law said…’believe in god and nothing happens’!

    I felt the same when I saw your picture where so much filth is seen near the slopes. Same scenes at Rameshwaram. It was so difficult for me to dip in the sea. But Dhanushkodi was serene. You can see the pictures in my post about this area. Felt as if I am at some other place. Felt like you felt at the Ganges’ banks.

    Now, it is Elliots beach and every morning I love to watch the water and the serene horizon in the morning. I feel blessed to have come to this house to walk on the beach road every morning. Nature has always got its own attraction.

    Had a nice feeling reading your post and me writing here as if I am writing a post instead of comment!

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    1. Sorry about this late response, Sandhya. Been off the blog for some days now. You are like the L&M, who wrinkles his nose at our water bodies and refuses to take a dip in them. I know of old people who do regardless and come out glowing for the faith that made them do it makes them oblivious to the filth but only to the holiness. I can understand how you must have felt with the slime sticking to you after that Pushkar dip. You are indeed blessed to be able to walk by the sea. Is the beach clean? It is one of my cherished dreams to be able to do it. Like you said, ‘Ikkaraikku akkarai pachchai’. Wish you a wonderful year ahead, Sandhya.

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  3. I believe my earlier comment just vanished. Anyway, just wanted you to know that this is my first visit here and I am hooked! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this lovely post, and the part about your experience with Ganga is particularly touching. Will surely be visiting again and again to savour more of your writings!

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    1. Your earlier comment is intact. First time comments need to be approved and perhaps you might have thought it had vanished in the time I took to approve it. I am sorry about that and thanks for taking the trouble to leave another comment 🙂

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  4. My first visit here, and I absolutely loved reading this post! The part about your experience with River Ganga is simply amazing. I am sure I will be coming again and again for savoring more of your lovely writings.

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    1. Lovely to have you here, Beloo! I am glad that you liked the post. I have been reading your posts for sometime now and find a great sense of tranquility and peace in the words. It would be a pleasure to have you visit again.

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      1. O yes I will surely be visiting 🙂 I should have done that earlier but for some reason just didn’t get a chance. But I am glad that’s now corrected.
        Thanks for reading me and I appreciate your kind words about my writing.

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        1. Thank you Beloo 🙂

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  5. very nice post…I loved reading it. its really interesting as well.

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    1. Thank you for your appreciation, Shreya. Do visit again.

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  6. Having been stuck at Srinagar between Devprayag and Karnaprayag at the time of the cloudburst and seen the fury of Alaknanda in spate has still not cured me of my love of rivers! I think almost every human being resonates to water bodies, Zephyr!

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    1. The best thing about water bodies is that they are so different from one another that they have such unique characters much as humans do. You must have observed this at the various sangams you saw. It is so awe-inspiring that it is totally a humbling experience.

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  7. Such an informative post.

    We are indeed blessed with abundant natural wonders, but sadly, by the time we realized what we’ve done, the damage has already been done and is irreversible.

    At least, I’m happy there is a lot of awareness these days!

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    1. That is the tragedy of humankind, Ashwini. Especially we Indians want some outsider to come and ‘discover’our natural bounties before we begin appreciating and then the appreciation is so effusively destructive that we spoil the environs and kill nature.

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  8. India has so much natural beauty. Why do most people not realize this and respect these beautiful landscapes? This is how we can show our pride and love for our country – by protecting it’s natural habitats. Thank you for writing this. I hope it raises some awareness.

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    1. As a nation we have no pride in a lot of things Indian, be they natural beauty or architectural splendour. We merrily pollute the former and deface the latter. When he read this post, my son told me that he never related my living in so many places to the rivers that flowed in those cities and put a comment to that effect here too 🙂 I think when we measure our time spent in a place in relation to the natural resources of the place we will feel more strongly. And we all live surrounded by nature — in one form or the other. Even those who live in skyscrapers live surrounded by it!

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  9. For some unknown reason, I have always been pulled towards water bodies. May it be rivers, lakes or oceans- they all give me utmost pleasure. Just a touch of water takes me to another heaven. Although I have not yet been able to deduce which one is my favorite, I know it can’t be the Yamuna or the Ganga because I wasn’t able to associate with both of them, maybe because both these rivers have become dumping grounds of all this waste, more than anything else. My heart aches when I see them. Should I give them another chance, maybe.
    I was lucky to live literally on the bank, by a river called Kennet in England for a few days. I must say those were the only few days of my life when I was not grumpy to get up in the morning, but was looking forward to get a glimpse of the water flowing outside my window. I felt connected somehow, even though I didn’t know much about Kennet.

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    1. Your joy at waking up every morning when you lived by a riverside makes it pretty clear that you love rivers. Actually it could also be because when one lives close enough to a water body, one develops a love for it — looking at it, touching it, seeing it in its various moods — all make for the connect. I feel that you are indeed more close to Ganga and Yamuna than you think because unless you feel close to something you will not ache at their condition.

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  10. Beautiful pictures..delight to see and you reminded me again what I need to see…Prakasam bridge and dev prayag..even I want to stay for some time in Rishikesh..

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    1. It is imperative for everyone to take a vacation to some such place Renu. And if you stay by yourself, it would be an experience beyond compare. Try it sometime 🙂

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  11. grondmaster · · Reply

    I was speaking with the younger son just last week, and as it turns out, I too was in Rishikesh at about the same time. I was on the way to a Himalayan trek with a group of friends, and we stayed over in Rishikesh one night each on arrival and departure.

    I had a couple of days free at Joshimath (our base town) so visited Badrinath one day. The results of force of the cloudburst and landslides could be seen over a year and a half after that event en route: two dams washed away by the Alaknanda (and rebuilt within a year) and ghats washed away so deep that new roads had to be cut where old roads could not be repaired.

    The next day, I visited Vishnuprayag, the first of the five. Articles online tell me there is a small pond at the confluence which is calmer than the Dhauliganga and Alaknanda, both of whom come down with a force there. The floods had taken away that pond and stairs leading from the temple to the confluence so thoroughly that the whole complex was being rebuilt. I had the good luck to visit it twice – once alone and on the next day again when some of the members of my group wanted to see it as well.

    The route from Joshimath to Rishikesh runs almost parallel to the Alaknanda/Ganga catchment, so we were lucky enough to see the remaining four confluences, and visit the third confluence Karnaprayag, and the final one Devprayag, where Ganga is said to begin. At Karnaprayag, both Alaknanda and Pindar are pretty sedate and the confluence is almost similar to Devprayag in its royalty. Nandaprayag (the fourth) and Rudraprayag (the second) are far from the road hence we had to give them a miss. At Devprayag, upon my insistence, everyone collected the waters in their bottles. I have received the blessings of three of the friends’ parents for insisting on this gift for everyone at home.

    It is an exercise in humility, seeing the expanse of the mountains, and the power of flows of these life-blood rivers in their elements.

    At Rishikesh, we had just enough time to visit the Laxman- & Ram- jhoolas on our arrival day, and be present at the Sandhya Aarti at Triveni Ghat on the return leg. The Aarti was another lesson in humility, and seeing those young men carry the massive diyas during it was impressive.

    I know this much: I shall be experiencing it again, for sure. And at a much leisurely pace than what I did this time round.

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    1. Great to read about your experience of the mountains and rivers. Was this your first trip? I think you have been smitten and you will definitely make that trip again and maybe yet again. That is the lure of the majestic Ganga. And yes, she does inspire humility in the onlooker. While the other prayags get covered in the Chardham yatra, somehow Devprayag has remained the lesser visited one. Our diver told us that those who are on their way to badrinath and above are in a hurry to get there and so just take a look from the road above. And while descending they are too tired to make the trip down to the Sangam, as it involves walking through the town and going down steep steps. I am glad you not only made it to the sangam, but also remembered to bring the holy water back. What we bought back is being rationed out to relatives and friends 🙂

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  12. The picture of the Devprayag Sangam evoked emotions in me! I think we should ban chemicals/plastics and replace them with organic/natural substances.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. Banning these items is easy, enforcing the law is difficult, DI. As it is such bans exist in many cities but how effective are they? Unless we learn to be more self regulatory, things will continue to languish.

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  13. Coincidently, I am reading The Land Of Seven Rivers by Sanjeev Sanyal these days. The book has been an eye opener as far as India’s geographical history is concerned. It was in this book that I learned about Saraswati that had once flowed through India and nourished the Indus Valley Civilization. It was Saraswati’s drying up that changed the course of our country in many ways. Reading this post felt like an extension to that book 🙂

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    1. And I am waiting to read the book when you finish it 🙂 It is interesting to know about Saraswati, known as the gupt nadi, as it is believed that she still flows underground. I found this link about Saraswati which says that it is not a myth or legend alone. http://www.downtoearth.org.in/node/15455

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  14. I could almost visualize the places and rivers in the lovely narrative Zephyr! I have seen many of these and have always admired the rivers, seas, ponds and lakes for all their beauty! Only if we were a little less greedy and more nature loving we could have kept them free of filth and grime, as so many fellow humans have managed to do in other parts of the world!

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    1. You are so right Rahul. Fellow humans in other parts of the world indeed are more caring of Nature and its bounties. As you have pointed out, all water bodies have their own charm but for me rivers hold a special place 🙂

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  15. I feel at home whether it is the ocean, the sea or the river but with Ganga I have a soul connect. She calms me and yet shakes me within.
    For the origins of the Ganga read http://soulandthesupersoul.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/the-origin-of-the-ganga/
    As for cleansing our rivers……..it is something which has do be done both within and without. I mean if we really revere everything around us as creations of the Lord or even as nature we will take care to preserve it, right. It is because we take everything to be at our disposal; for our needs that we abuse them.

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    1. Oh Bhagya, we don’t think of anything natural as god given to be revered, but in our arrogance think of them as objects of enjoyment and so treat them with scant care and heaps of contempt. How else can one explain the mindless sullying of our waterbodies and mountain slopes? We can go an extra mile for enjoyment, but not to preserve Nature. Thanks for the link.

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  16. Very nice….I have lived in Bombay on the beach side …It’s a different world

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    1. Every water body has its own charms, be it ponds, lakes, rivers or the sea and ocean. But as Manju has pointed out, that is very dirty too thanks to our ways.

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  17. Where has my comment vanished….regardless, truly loved this one. The picture of Yamuna makes me cringe. What have we done?

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    1. your comment is very much here, Alka 🙂

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  18. The picture of Yamuna makes me cringe. What have we done? I love nature and this apathy troubles me no end. You write from the heart and one can sense it. I have never been to Hyderabad but I fondly remember Jabalpur falls.

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    1. It is more than apathy. It is willful negligence and callousness. That sight of the frothing Yamuna waters greeted me every single day and at first I had thought it was soap foam till I realised otherwise. Have you also seen Narmada in other cities? Hoshangabad is a place worth seeing the Narmada at too. I missed seeing the sangam of Narmada and Tawa thereabouts.

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  19. Watching riverS at Hoshangabad & at Mandla in M.P. during evening hours was bliss. Sitting on the edge I used to imagine of so many filmy plots which of course never materialised!

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    1. LOL. You should have penned those stories and tried to sell them. I am sure you would have made a packet 🙂 I have been to Hoshangabad and Narmada wears a completely different look from her appearance in Jabalpur. I have not been to Mandla.

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  20. Once again my comment has zoomed into the unknown 😦

    Indu Chhibber. Author : jeeteraho http://jeeteraho.blogspot.com inducares@twitter.com

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    1. Whew! I waded through hundreds of spam comments to locate yours! Good that I had not emptied the spam folder when I started the computer which I normally do. The comment was too precious to have got lost!

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  21. vijayaa108 · · Reply

    Beautifully expressed!
    I,myself having been born and lived a third of my life at one of the holiest of holy Teerthasthanams,the confluence of 3 of our most sacred rivers fully comprehend what you say about Ma Ganga.While growing up and having heard innumerable sacred ‘Kathas’ of Gangaji,Yamuna and the ‘guptavahini’ Sarasvati along with the ‘Devis and Devatas’ one is emotionally and spiritually bound in love and awe to all our Saptasindhus whose names we take while bathing for physical as well as spiritual purification.
    My ‘koti-koti’ Pranams and koti-koti Namaskarams to our eternal and noble Rishis for formulating the most wonderful traditions of Sanatana Dharma where we worship Teertha( sacred water)at Teerthasthanams.

    Incidentally,I was watching a programme on Ganga Nahaan on a foreign television channel where our Dharmic tradition of Gangasnaan was being discussed.This pertained to persons of Bharateeya origin who were traded as slaves to work in the sugarcane plantations of Surinam,West Indies and Mauritius( the history of which we have never ever been told deliberately).The tradition is preserved despite having been away from the Matribhoomi by celebrating Ganganahaan on Ganga Dasshehra in Mauritius,West Indies and Suriname even today by the Hindus.
    These people bathe with utmost ‘Bhakti and Shraddha’ in certain rivers or seas on Ganga Nahan Tithi.
    My sincerest and most heartfelt homage to these ‘children of Bharat’ who left her shores at least 2-3 centuries ago and who are still connected to the spiritual umbilical cord of Ma Bharati.
    Therein, an Indologist of Bharateeya Hindu origin from Mauritius Dr.Raveendra Maharaj (Dr.Ravi-ji )made a very profound statement regarding the 2 world views of the East and the West.
    He stated that when the white man sees something very beautiful in Nature he wishes to enjoy and so puts up hotels whereas when we in the East seeing something very beautiful in Nature we worship it. And so for us it becomes a Teertha.
    Just as you say we have to re-learn to respect and live in tune with Prakriti because we are part of Her.We cannot live apart from Her!

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    1. Thank you for liking the post and your comment, Vijayaa. I presume that you are a resident of Allahabad? I have not been there yet. Unfortunately for us, we want to ape everything that the white man does and so we have started putting up huge hotels and resorts in our holy cities — even in ecologically fragile areas like the Garhwal mountains, which are straining the natural resources to their limits. Far from being teerthsthans, our pilgrimage centres are now hosting ‘temple tourists’ for whom it is more of a pleasure trip than a spiritual one. We need to do something on war footing to stem the rot and bring about a positive change to the environment and the sacred rivers.

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      1. vijayaa108 · · Reply

        Yes I am from Prayag where I was born and lived nearly 2 decades of my life.
        Destiny and Time took me on their wings to Mumbai,Delhi and now across the 7 seas.
        Each time I come back to my roots my soul cries to see what we have done and are continuing to do to our Punyabhoomi.
        You are very right .We have to do something on war footing to reverse this destruction of everything that we held sacred.Today there is nothing sacrosanct.
        We have no love,no respect and no fear of anything at all!
        What are we to do?
        Where do we begin?
        Any ideas?????

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        1. We are the ‘all-knowing’ generation and don’t want to listen to or heed any sane advice. Hence the irreverence to everything especially our age old traditions and culture which have been coloured by western perceptions as being ‘superstition’ and ‘blind faith.’Either we learn to become rational and respect nature or heed our traditions and respect it. We are so ‘evolved’ that we reject both 😦

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  22. I hear you, especially when you talk about Ganga. I have never lived near a river and have always lived on the coast, and the ocean makes me come alive. While the ocean brings out the child in me, river makes me feel peaceful. My love for Ganga has grown over the years and there are times when I have a strong urge and an inner yearning for her, that is inexplicable.

    This is such a lovely post that spoke to me at different levels. Love your writing for that Zee, there are several layers to it – religious, traditional, spiritual, environmental – and as I peel more, I get more 🙂

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    1. Thank you for your appreciation and the reasons for liking my writing. It makes me happy if I am able to relate to someone at any level. I liked your differentiation between the river and the sea. Come to think of it, that is how it works, I guess. The river really brings out the philosopher in one. Ganga speaks to different people in different tongues even when you are not near her. I think with your growing fondness and fascination for her, you should make that trip soon.

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  23. Lovely post, Zephyr! Written straight from the heart!

    Having lived in Mumbai all my adult life, I feel an affinity more to the sea than to rivers. I’m sorry to say that people abuse the beaches here as much as they do rivers. When will we learn to respect these gifts of nature?

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    1. I guess it is natural to be attracted to the sea having lived by it and the sea can be most enchanting. It is a wonderful thing to be able to live by a water body. Even a small pond would be great 🙂 And yes, we are adept at destroying everything that Nature has given us, so how can the sea escape? Periodic reminders by nature in the form of floods, earthquakes and tsunami are all of no use to wake up humans.

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  24. A true blue Zephyr post-i must say.Imbued with spirituality.Loved reading it.
    I too.have lived on the banks of Yamuna and Chambal.The latter i see often,but Yamuna,very rarely.I have always felt that these two cities-Delhi and Kota could have developed the banks in a big way,for picnic spots etc.Don’t know what stops this from happening.Yes Delhi has Rajghat and similar memorials-but not a living throbbing fun place.Kota is slightly better in that respect.

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    1. Which city on the banks of Chambal? Kota? That river brings to mind the daakus and murders though Kota is a peaceful enough city 🙂 I remember one episode of Satyamev Jayate where a scholar explained how the river Yamuna is just a sewage gutter after leaving Delhi. One can imagine it too. Beautifying it will be a mammoth task if it can be accomplished at all.

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  25. You have stirred so many emotions in me with this post. I don’t know why. Like you, I have lived in places close to rivers but visited them only when relatives were in town or very rarely. I lived in towns where rivers Godavari and Krishna flowed. The sound of train on the tracks on prakasam barrage came live in my ears. You shook me when you said, “at the cost of dirtying herself”. It is one of those things that deeply saddens me when I see rivers and mountains being polluted. And that picture of the rivers sangamam, I have no words to describe the feeling. You are lucky to have seen it, BM. Loved this post. 🙂

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    1. I have been to the banks of Godavari and other rivers, but only on brief visits. The sangams must all be beautiful and breathtaking, but I have only seen this one. Since altitudes don’t seem to agree with me, I guess I will never see the ones further up the mountains 😦 Like the way we treat our women, we treat our rivers too and expect eternal tolerance. Alas!

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  26. I’ve always known that you’ve stayed in a zillion cities; but had never thought of it in terms of so many rivers!

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    1. Isn’t it wonderful? After this trip to Rishikesh, I went back in time to relive all those days and then wrote the post 🙂

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  27. Rivers have been the nerve centres of our civilization with cities thriving on their banks. I haven’t really lived close to a river or felt any fascination for them. But I love the sea and the ocean. It gives me a certain calm just watching the wavers rise and ebb. And yes, I do hope that our rivers get cleaned.

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    1. The sea is wonderful too, but for different reasons. It frees my soul just looking at them. But I lack a spiritual connect with seas. We need hundreds of sewage treatment plants in every town and city on riverbanks to reduced pollution. for the rest, the priests on the ghats can be co-opted. Uma Bharati had successfully done this in Narmada ghats in MP. The problem is sustained action and corrective measures like shifting of polluting industries from riverbanks and installing treatment plants for it to succeed.

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  28. I love Rivers. Simply love them. And there is some close affinity that I feel towards the Ganga that is hard to explain. The pollution is one our rivers really pains me. But as you say we need to change our ways. Simply not bathing in the river or washing clothes with detergents or nto littering around the banks will go a long way in keeping the rivers clean.

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    1. You are so right. The feelings Ganga evokes in me every time I look at her flow can’t be described adequately. Words end up sounding cliched. For instance, the sight of the sangam had left me speechless for a while. At the ghats of Narmada, the priests take the lead in keeping them clean. They are cleaned several times in the mornings and people are instructed to just take a dip — not wash themselves or their clothes. This was some years ago. Wonder what the condition now is.

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  29. The excellent pictures and your felicity of expression are the distinguishing features of the post.Rivers,at least most of them, are associated with spiritual and temples.They are considered holy and a bath in them is considered purificatory of the body and soul.
    I hope with Ganga cleaning programme on the anvil, an awareness is created to keep all rivers clean and strict rules enforced to prevent effluents being discharged.
    A very good post I enjoyed thoroughly reading.

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    1. The last three pictures alone are mine. The rest are from google. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find an evocative pic of Kaveri. I was looking for an aerial picture of Kaveri from where she branches off into Kollidam and then rejoins her at Kallanai. It really looks like a garland around the Srirangam temple. And yes, rivers for most of us have spiritual connotations. Unless we have a spiritual connect at some level, we can’t live in tune with Nature. Perhaps that is why our ancestors linked nature to religion. I am happy that you liked the post, KP. Thank you 🙂

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