Mansa Devi is one of the most popular and most visited temple in the holy city of Haridwar. Generally Mansa is worshipped without any image. A branch of a tree, an earthen pot or an earthen snake image is worshipped as the Goddess. As it is rightly said, “everything is sacred, or nothing is.” If you have faith, it is God, if you are an atheist, it is just a stone.
I, being a monotheist, have a strong belief in God. Standing in long queues for hours hardly matter when you get to see a glimpse of the divine shrine. I was a religious kid since my childhood and I have always been keen to visit the Holy abodes. Last weekend, I headed out to Haridwar and then to the Mansa Devi Temple (you can read more about my Haridwar visit here).
Paying a visit to the Mansa Devi temple in itself is a sacred experience which enlightens the body, mind and soul. It is a temple with lots of positive energy indeed and you can also enjoy an eagle’s eye view of the Haridwar town in the cable car. Going up to meet the deity who sits high on the mountain is a thrilling and one of its kind of experience in itself. No wonder why this place is considered to be the most sacred and spiritual hub where one can find the purity even in the chants, peace in every flow of water and prosperity in every bright light of lamps. Sights of hundreds of pilgrims patiently waiting for their turn with a hope that their prayers will be heard, sounds of mantras, hymns and ringing bells and smell of incense sticks; all this at the Mansa Devi Temple. You would see a vast expanse of concrete jungle lurking behind the mountains during dusk when you are at the premises of the temple. So many years and this view never gets old.
When there is so much bedlam all around you, all you need is some peace of mind and this is the very reason I headed to Haridwar last weekend. A sacred place filled with devotion, Haridwar is consider a sacred city because of the River Ganges. A holy dip in the river Ganges is all you need to wash out your sins and be blessed. Gita and Ganga in fact constitute between themselves, the essence of Hinduism – one is theory and the other is practice.
When an ocean of humans turn up to pay respect to a river, this has to be the Ganga arti at Haridwar. Believe me, a mesmerising view, purity in the air, sound of ringing bells all at the Holy place Haridwar. This is how you see the Ganga arti at Haridwar. Reach early, a little before sunset so that you find yourself an apt place to be seated on the steps of the Ghat closest to the river. While you are seated people will approach you for diyas and flowers which you can give as an offering to the river. While there is still a streak of Sun in the sky, the priests will begin chanting prayers. Then before realising that the Sun has set, they pull out their large multi-storeyed oil lamps. You simply sit in awe, drop your jaws and admire the beauty of it all.
The synchronous rotation of the oil filled lamps by the priests, the chanting of mantras, the background arti song, the diyas floating in the river, the reflection of the setting Sun and the diyas in the swift lowing water leave you amazed. It feels like everything just freezes. The soul comes to life and just dazzles you.
Ganga is said to wash out all the sins of life and death. Ganga Arti is a ceremony to thank and praise the river. Truly an unmatched, purely divine and one of its kind of experience when you witness the divisonal flames at Har ki Paudi, Haridwar.
PC – Me, I regret that I could only capture the light, and I failed to capture the aroma and essence of that place.