Ganga Dussehra, Haridwar: Chandi Ghat’s murals and Anuradha Paudwal’s offering enhance spiritual experience

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Updated: June 17, 2019 5:44:21 PM

Nothing brings more joy to people than taking part in festivities that bring people together in a festive mood. Taking a dip in the Ganges is considered to be extra special on Ganga Dussehra.

Haridwar is significant for Hindu pilgrims as it serves as a gateway to the Char Dhams of Uttarakhand, thereby presenting a kaleidoscope of Indian culture and civilization.

Planning a Haridwar tour this summer? You may have just missed out on the Ganga Dusshera celebrations held in Haridwar district! However, not many people are aware that the sacred festival known as the ‘Ganga Dussehra’, celebrates the descent of the sacred Ganga from heaven to earth, as is believed. This year, the festival was celebrated on June 12.

Taking a dip in the holy Ganges is considered to be extra special on the auspicious day of Ganga Dussehra. Nothing brings more joy to people than taking part in festivities that bring people together in a festive mood of celebration, sharing cultural beliefs and taking part in rituals that bring families and communities together.

The chanting of the ‘Ganga Chalisa’ is also popular among pilgrims who gather to offer prayers.

In Haridwar, the preparations were in full throttle, starting with a ‘Bhajan Sandhya’ at Chandi Ghat in Haridwar. With renditions of popular bhajans, renowned singer Anuradha Paudwal transformed the evening into a musical and melodious festival for the audience. Similar activities were organised at the ghats in Kanpur, Prayagraj, Varanasi and other cities.

The recently inaugurated Chandi Ghat in Haridwar is another tourist attraction in the city. A striking and unusual feature of the Chandi Ghat becomes evident when you take a look at the murals painted from artists across the world.

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As part of the Namami Gange initiative, the sewerage treatment plant at the Ghat is not only treating waste water but also recycling it for watering the plants in the gardens.

Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had stated that capacity building programmes are in full swing and clear and visible changes will be there in the next two years, with regard to the Namami Gange project.

Speaking on Environment Day, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said, “Rivers are a composite system of water, air, sediments, rocks, aquatic life and plants providing a large number of ecosystem services. To take this understanding forward, Namami Gange program was launched by the government in 2014.”

On the same day, several publications were released such as Compendium of Biodiversity in Ganga river system & Strategy for improving the condition of water bodies in the vicinity of Paper & Pulp industries in Ganga river basin.

Notably, a cadre of volunteers from local communities known as Ganga Praharis are working tirelessly for the biodiversity conservation and cleanliness of Ganga. Their hard work was recognised and facilitated during the World Environment Day celebrations at Haridwar.

Speaking on Environment Day, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said, “Rivers are a composite system of water, air, sediments, rocks, aquatic life and plants providing a large number of ecosystem services. To take this understanding forward, Namami Gange program was launched by the government in 2014.”

On the same day, several publications were released such as Compendium of Biodiversity in Ganga river system & Strategy for improving the condition of water bodies in the vicinity of Paper & Pulp industries in Ganga river basin.

Notably, a cadre of volunteers from local communities known as Ganga Praharis are working tirelessly for the biodiversity conservation and cleanliness of Ganga. Their hard work was recognised and facilitated during the World Environment Day celebrations at Haridwar.

 

“Public outreach and community involvement have always been a priority area of Namami Gange mission with special attention to active and constructive engagement with students and youth,” Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG had stated

“Sustainability is the key mission of NMCG. Organic farming is being promoted in certain regions of Ganga basin and it would be scaled up in the larger part of Ganga main stem,” he further stated while addressing a gathering on the International Day of Biological Diversity.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Bharat Sharma, former Director IWMI Delhi emphasised on effective water management and conservation of rain water as a basic requirement for sustainable agriscapes. Further, he recommended different approaches of water conservation in the Himalayan basin, Eastern Gangetic basin and coastal or delta region.

First time travelers to Haridwar are likely to wonder ‘why is Ganga holy to pilgrims’ and ‘what makes Ganga Dussehera special’ in Haridwar. A quick perusal of the Hindu scriptures and conversations with people on the ground can provide some interesting information on how Ganga is formed, in which states Ganga river flows and why is Ganga called an ideal river.

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According to Hindu scriptures, Ganga’s descent sought to deliver ‘moksha’ or salvation to the wandering souls of King Bhagirath’s forefathers, which is why Ganga Dussehra is celebrated.

Note that this festival is different from celebrating the birth of Ganga. The birth of Ganga is also known as Ganga Jayanti, which is a different festival altogether. Both festivals are celebrated in Haridwar, which is one of the first towns where the Ganga emerges from the mountains to touch the plains, surrounded by the lush green forests and small ponds that add scenic beauty to the environment.

For Hindu pilgrims, Haridwar is significant as it serves as a gateway to the Char Dhams of Uttarakhand, thereby presenting a kaleidoscope of Indian culture and civilization.

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