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Priests at Chandi devi temple have a quirky custom. It starts simple enough when they ask you your name. They speak some mantras, then press their hand on your head/shoulder indicating you to bow down to receive their thoughtful blessings. As they repeat your name and the mantra ends they bestow along with their warm 'love' a very whopping thump on your back. It can shake you. Not kidding. It was not just one priest and I was not the only one who was 'blessed' this way :P They go easier on women. I couldn't help but wonder if this is how they keep themselves amused atop the lonely mountain.
Next time they ask your name, you know.
Written Nov 15, 2010
Nearly everyone takes their holy baths in Har ki Paudi. It seems too man-made for me. Why not take your 'cleansing' in the more real Ganga at nearby Neel Dhara (or Neel Jheel, I forget). It's much wider, cleaner, and above all, less crowded! It will be far more apt. It's not as deep as people make it out to be, nor are the currents that strong. Yes, it's deeper with more pressure than Har ki Paudi but (that's the point and) so very doable!! It will just feel like the real thing.
Updated Nov 15, 2010
After seeing all three, here's what I think of the basic difference in the evening Ganga prayers.
1. Haridwar: Big, bass boosted, tight, kind of a spectacle for the eyes with all the human energy and little temples bustling together.
2. Rishikesh, Triveni Ghat: More quiet, subtle, payers directly next to the river almost touching the water; no steps in between like in Haridwar. Wide, stony, empty beach with twinkling lights in the back... pretty peaceful (if the prayers are not being done over loudspeakers).
3. Swarg Ashram, Ram Jhula: 3km from Rishikesh, prayers here are most different. Many people gather here too but its not tight like Haridwar. More of a meditative discussion-prayer-chant. Whole thing lasts the longest here. Lots of young disciples sing along with much harmony and unison.
They all start at about 6.30 - 7.00 pm. Being part of any is a feast. See whatever works works for you.
Written Nov 15, 2010
In the evening in Haridwar, Just at the time of the aarti, or just before it. You afloat a DIYA (its a small light,kind of candle) in the river ganga as a tribute to the ganga. This is thoght to be a very sacred.
Written Jul 12, 2008
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