The caste system is also very deep rooted and villages have clear distinctions and protocols for inter faith behaviour, including towards the parikrakramavasis. In Shiva temples, the devotees start the Pradakshina as usual from the front and go clockwise till they reach the gomukhi (the outlet for abhisheka water) from the Sanctum Sanctorum. Hundreds of pilgrims undertake this expedition barefoot, staying in ashrams, dharamshalas, or village shelters along the way. [5], A legend related to goddess Parvati (Shiva's wife) and her two sons illustrates the importance of Pradakshina or Parikrama. If I speak of the Parikrama, people walking or living on the banks, Narmada is the central theme but it is more to do with the idea of god that is embodied by the river. In Sashtanga Namaskara, the devotees have six parts of their bodies touching the ground. One study shows that the river has died after the Garudeshwar Dam, still under construction downstream of Sardar Sarovar in Gujarat. This legend justifies the importance that Hindus attach to the practice of Parikrama, and also the importance of motherhood in Hindu psychology. It took 133 days walking 3400kms. Dwadash Madhav Parikrama, Tirthraj Prayag, http://www.hindunet.org/faq/fom-serv/cache/31.html, Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent — glossary, http://www.kamat.com/indica/culture/sub-cultures/pradakshina.htm. This can take a number of months to complete. [16] The circumambulation during Hajj is done in a counterclockwise manner. We were walking without money or phone, as it is traditionally done. Our focus is on rivers and if you have anything substantial to contribute in the context of rivers, Plz write to me at: ht.sandrp@gmail.com. Devotees visit these sacred places during the parikarama. [19], Govardhan hill which has great religious significance in view of its association with Lord Krishna, presently at its highest point is just 25-metre (82 ft) high and is a wide hill near Mathura Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh, India. A clay pot filled with milk, with a hole at the bottom, is carried by the devotees in one hand and a pot filled with dhoop (incense smoke) in another. I have just completed my Narmada Parikrama on foot along with my wife Arti and 9yrs old daughter Ojasvi. In the temple city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, India, Panchkosi Parikrama is performed over a two-day period. [8] Parikrama of Agni or Agni Pradakshina is a part of the Hindu marriage ceremony. The whole structure is planned in such a way that it becomes the centre of the mandala and symbolically represents Mount Meru.[15]. Parikrama is supposed to be done with a meditative mood. Learn how your comment data is processed. People in the big cities of Madhya Pradesh like Indore and Bhopal may not be aware of this tradition of walking along the Narmada but a few kilometers on either side of the bank, along the entire stretch, there is a strong faith and devotion towards the river. Pilgrims can, however, start from the mouth of the river, or anywhere in-between, but they must complete the circuit and return where they began. We came across villages that were submerged by the dam, met people affected by the dams and heard several stories in favour and against the construction of dams. At Bharuch, Mithi Talai is the point where the Narmada joins the Arabian Sea. [29], The temple structure reflects the symbolism of the Hindu association of the spiritual transition from daily life to spiritual perfection as a journey through stages. One of the curiosities I had before the walk was if the river is clean? is not to be crossed. But to experience any of this, walking is the only way. [13], In Buddhism circumambulation or pradakhshina has been an important ritual since early times. Parikrama means "the path surrounding something" in Sanskrit, and is also known as Pradakshina ("to the right"), representing circumambulation. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. I have these memories of walking to take a turn towards the river and suddenly opening up to a vision of a huge settlement with more than 50 tarpaulin tents for people to live and tractors at work to dig out the sand!

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