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TRADITIONS & UTENSILS

  

 

 

  blessing the Ganges

 

India

Each morning and evening pujari, i.e. brahmin priests, in Varanasi gather at the ghats of the Ganges (fig.), in order to bless this river, which is considered sacred by Hindus, in a ritual known as Aarti.

 

During this concise ritual a dipavriksha, i.e. a tree lamp (fig.), is swayed around, a bell is ringed, a couple of gongs are beaten, and one priest blows on a conch. The idea is to offer the four elements to the goddess of the river, i.e. Wind (by waving a large fan made of feathers and by blowing the conch), Water (scooped up from the river), Fire (by waving the tree lamp), and Earth (by spreading flower leaves on the ground).

 

  blessing the Ganges

 

  blessing the Ganges

 

Meanwhile, other brahmans wearing the brahman cord, descend into the water and scoop water from the river with their hands, which they hold up and then slowly release back into the holy Ganges whilst praying and worshipping.

 

Each evening, a similar but more lively ceremony takes place at the banks of this river, which involves larger groups of priests and plenty of lay worshippers, as well as many onlookers.

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  blessing the Ganges