Art, Literature, Culture · Culture · Dams · Goa · Rivers and Culture

The magic of 24th June: Water Worship around the World

“Sao Joao, Sao Joao, Viva Sao Joao!”

The shouts were followed by unbelievably loud splashes in a red laterite well. The well itself was decked up like a bride. All along the way to Siolim in North Goa, on the banks of river Chapora, the road blossomed with people wearing big smiles and bigger floral wreaths, ‘Kopels’.

At Siolim, flows a tiny river called Anjuna. The ivory white church of St. Anthony overlooks a small bridge across Anjuna which was festooned extravagantly with ribbons, balloons and flowers. On the grassy riverbank, hundreds of chairs were laid out and a makeshift stage creaked under the weight of musicians, dancers, announcers, and impromptu performers jumping up from the audience. Continue reading “The magic of 24th June: Water Worship around the World”

Culture · Narmada

Experience of Narmada Parikrama in 2020: a 3500 km pilgrimage along the river

Guest Blog by Jubin Mehta

Narmada is a sacred river originating in the Maikal Hills of central India from a place called Amarkantak. Parikrama is a Sanskrit word derived from the root ‘pari‘ meaning around and ‘krama‘ meaning going. And hence, Narmada Parikrama means circumambulating the river. This is a spiritual/religious tradition of the Hindus existing from centuries wherein pilgrims start walking from any point along the river after collecting Narmadaji’s water in a vial and start walking with the river to their right.

If a person has started from the north bank, they’d walk upstream to the origin of the river in Amarkantak, cross over from beyond the origin point, come to the south bank and walk downstream till the point where the river meets the ocean in south Gujarat. From here, pilgrims board a large boat for an estimated four to seven hours to cross over and reach back to north bank at a place called Mithi Talai. From here, the pilgrim starts walking upstream again to arrive again at the point where they started from. At the end of the journey, pilgrims go to the super sacred Omkareshwar which is one of the 12 ‘Jyotirlingas’ and also a river island which means a person cannot go to this point during the parikrama. One of the rules of the walk is that a person cannot cross over the river and go to the other bank or in the middle. At Omkareshwar, the pilgrim pours back the water that she collected in a vial when she started the walk and completes the parikrama. Continue reading “Experience of Narmada Parikrama in 2020: a 3500 km pilgrimage along the river”