Spiritual Hot Spot ~Rishikesh India
Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas in Northern India is the spiritual hot spot for saints, sages and sadhus as well as modern day spiritual seekers. The mighty Ganges river (Ganga in Hindu) runs through the centre of town, where I dipped my toes into its holy waters and felt its divine strength flow through me. In this holy place you can feel the uplifting aura that has been created by thousands of years of meditation and worship. A multitude of Ashrams continue to provide a place for the spiritually enlightened to gather.
We had finally arrived at Parmath Niketan Ashram, a place where foreigners as well as Indians are welcomed. Countless statues of deities dot the property at every turn. Hindus believe that God can manifest in any form and have numerous deities to which they pray. We arrived at the Ashram just in time to take part in the daily sunset ceremony, Ganga Aarti. Oil lamps were lit with offerings that were passed to us, these oil lamps were placed with our prayers and flowers on the waters of this holy river to be taken away with it’s mighty current. I could hardly believe that this was real, my dream had come true and here I was standing on the banks of this mighty river. As I chanted and prayed to my God within, my heart swelled with gratitude and tears of joy rolled down my cheeks. What a sight to behold—this white state of Shiva, the all-powerful deity who looks on with such grace. The Ganga is the giver of life, nourishment, purity, and liberation to all who come in contact with her magical waters. Ganga is the mother goddess giving freely to all with no discrimination, hesitation or expectation. Her holy waters purify all those who bath in the river. In fact, scientific studies have found the no coliform bacteria grow in her waters.
In the following days we crossed the Laxman Jula Bridge to explore the city. We had a blast, shopping for beautiful arts and crafts; the brightly coloured fabrics filled the shops. We had a great city tour on a rickshaw and then wandered around the streets exploring nooks and crannies. The streets are filled with a unique variety of people: Sadhus (people who have given up all worldly possessions to devote themselves to God), spiritual pilgrims, and hippy-type wanna-be Sadhus of every description. Amongst this eclectic mix of people were the holy cows that wander freely anywhere they please, so you tr