The Sanctity of Water

In India, water takes on epic importance.  For all of us, water is essential to life but somehow in India it is different. Water’s high estimation and place of honor and reverence is visible in India’s many great structures like the Golden Temple in Amritsar and the Mughal monuments such as the Taj Mahal where the central reflecting pool is the major design element. India’s great rivers and their banks, the shores of its coasts and the mountains from where these great rivers spring are all considered sacred by Hindus. Places of the convergence of two or more rivers are particularly celebrated by the Hindus.

Simply put, water equals cleanliness. Cleanliness is akin to purity. Purity is the avoidance of pollutants and contamination. Water has the power to heal, cleanse, absolve, give life and ultimately destroy evil. It is no wonder that water is at the core of so many religious rituals in India. Hindu priests are forever sprinkling water as they perform their blessings.

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At the Ghats

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Morning on the Ganges River

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Collecting the Holy Water

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A Sardar Reflects

Hindu pilgrims collect water from these auspicious locations and bring it home with them, often saving it for an important ritual. Bathing in the holy water is known to have the power to absolve someone of a lifetime of sin. It is every Hindu’s aspiration to bathe in the Ganges, the holiest river in all of India, at least once in their lifetime.

For all the reverence attributed to the Ganga, as the Ganges is known in India, today it is very polluted. The pilgrims still believe in its power. Many years ago, when I first visited Benares, I was frequently urged to drink the holy water. I was in love with India (just as I am today) and wanted all of India’s blessings. So when a smiling sage handed me a tumbler of Ganga water, I drank it. Although I have suffered through many of the ills that India has to give, I never got sick from that glass of Ganga water. I certainly wouldn’t suggest that anyone drink this water today,  but the faith of the believer defies explanation.

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About ninagrandiose

I am based in NYC but travel regularly to India and Mexico. Both of these countries feel like home. In India I scour the country in search of fabulous textiles to incorporate into my clothing designs. I sit back and let the ambiance and wonder of India seep into my consciousness so I can be inspired to write about what India is for me. I bring a limited number of people to India on exclusive and intimate tours of my favorite hangouts. In Mexico I take in the natural beauty that surrounds me and dance the night away. I constantly give thanks for all this and am pleased to share it all with you.
This entry was posted in adventure, Hinduism, india, photography, Punjab, Sikhism, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The Sanctity of Water

  1. Beautiful thoughts and images. The sun and the water play a pretty extreme balancing act, don’t they?. The pervasive wetness of monsoon, the cracking earth under the bright sun in summer. I love listening to people talk about the Ganges – I wouldn’t drink from it either, but I’ve met so many that have.

    • ninagrandiose says:

      Thanks so much for your expressive comment in appreciation of this post. As our own images are reflected in water. it has the power to transform us into something bigger and greater than we are. This inspires hope.

  2. Amresh Kumar says:

    Wow!! you have describe truly India !! good post ..

    • ninagrandiose says:

      India is etched very deeply in my heart; writing and photographing her diversity is my pleasure. Knowing that the pleasure is shared makes it all the more fun! Thanks for dropping by.

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