I was thrilled to criss-cross the lanes of Haridwar once again 21 years after I first visited the holy town. Some clear and faint memories flashed across my mind. One of them being at the Ganga Ghat, Har ki Pairi, along with my mother and cousins. I remember taking a quick dip in the water and then a few vague memories of going up to the Mansa Devi temple.
Rejoicing those memories, I was looking forward to have a yet another similar experience, more exhilarating one.
I boarded Delhi-to-Rishikesh bus on Thursday morning from ISBT. Sitting next to me was a Gujju lady, Anna, and soon we started chatting and found we were heading to the same destination--Haridwar.
After reaching Haridwar, we found a nice lodge by the riverside, dumped our bags and straight away headed to the ghat to live the post evening aarti moments. We were late by almost and hour to attend the aarti of the river Ganga.
Nevertheless, its impact was still there. People were floating baskets of leaves and flowers with lamps lighting on them. The ghat was filled with people, some devotees, some tourists but wasn't as chock a block as it usually gets and as we had imagined it to be.
There was plenty of room to walk freely, sit and enjoy the surroundings. So, Anna and I chose to sit by the steps leading into the river and quietly admire the floating diyas on strong water currents.
The overwhelming experience made Anna call her son in Nairobi and share her sublime experience and what he was missing by not being there.
It was followed by our rounds of walks on the ghat and through the bridges which have been recently built to connect to another new ghat which was built to create more room for devotees to bathe.
We took a quick dinner break to return to this beautiful setting of temples bathing in electric lights against the dark sky, bhajans playing on speakers without conflicting with peace, people sitting by the river or some daring ones taking a dip in it.
There is so much of positive energy and feel-good-factor in the atmosphere which one just wants to soak in.
The magnetic atmosphere of the ghat pulls people to it-- to experience a life away from city noise and to reflect on the meaning of life. Or perhaps being here allows your mind not to think at all as if you don't exist. Just look at the flowing water or close your eyes and be in a state of calm, even though for a few moments.
Finally when we did decide to call it a day, we were glad to come on this trip.