New Delhi, Weather from Weather Underground

Sunday, August 1, 2010

During Shravan (the auspicious monsoon month of July-August on the Hindu calendar), the northern Indian states are inundated with pilgrims wearing a shade of flaming orange. They carry long poles with baskets at either end. From Wikipedia...."Shravan Kumar belonged to the time when King Dashratha ruled Ayodhya. He was born of poor and blind parents, but they had brought him up remarkably well. He was strong healthy and honest, and he had a good character. He bore sincere love and respect for his parents. He was also a great devotee of God. Every day, he worked hard to make his parents as comfortable and happy. In his leisure time he prayed to God and attended to his poor, blind and aging parents. One day his parents told him that they had be- come quite aged. They, therefore, wanted him to take them to the various places of pilgrimage : this could make them fully satisfied and give them abundant peace of mind. It is a typical Hindu belief that a pilgrimage to the various shrines and holy places under- taken in old age, purifies the soul and takes one nearer to one's Maker ere the icy hand of Death touches one. To a Hindu mind nothing is more precious, than becoming one with the great Maker of this Universe.
In those days means of transport were scarce and costly, and Shravan Kumar could not afford to hire- them. He, therefore, decided to place his parents in two baskets and carry the baskets on his shoulder to the places of pilgrimage. He took a strong bamboo- stick, at its two ends he tied the two baskets with strong ropes, and placed his father in one of the baskets and his mother in the other. Carrying on his shoulder this bamboo stick with a basket at either end, Shravan started on the pilgrimage."

Over the weekend, we saw hundreds of men in orange t-shirts and pants carrying water collected from the glacier where the Ganges river originates. They carry the water back to their hometowns as a gesture of thanksgiving to Lord Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction.
Tradition says that the water from the Ganges cannot touch the ground until it is used for the thanksgiving ceremonies. Because of this many people, organizations, and groups set up places where the pots can be kept. Along the routes locals provide the pilgrims with water and food.

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