Night of Shiva in the “gate of heaven”

Walking with the nomadic friend Manto, I arrived in Haridova in time before the three-day Shiva night began. It is located ten miles downstream of the Holy Land Rishikesh. At this time, the Himalayas were declining and finally turned into Shivalik Hill. The Ganges began to tire and slow, flowing through the endless plains of North India.

“The Gate of Heaven”
Haridova, one of the holy cities in India, the name means “gate of paradise”, like a statue theme park. The colorful Goddess of Ganges has four arms, sitting cross-legged on the lotus among the river, under the flower is her mount-crocodile, the god is placed on the cement base as a whole, and it looks as if life was born from heavy industry equipment.

On the nearby river bank, the Shiva statue is as high as 50 feet, although this is not the largest statue in India. There is also one in Karnataka in the south. He shows himself in a sitting position and is more than twice the height of this one. The statue of Shiva of Haridova is standing, slender, and somewhat hermaphrodite, with a Buddha smile almost on his face. He raised his right hand and prayed for Naxiang.

His usual image is: holding a trident in his left hand, a crescent moon on his head, a necklace made of cobra Naji Vasuji and Vajra Bodhi rosary around his neck, an hourglass-shaped Indian drum emits a mysterious Aum Or ohm syllables, striking the rhythm of human heartbeat When I first came to Haridova, the statue was bronze, and when I came the second time, it was gray-blue.

Sometimes the idols are dyed in the rainbow colors. Along the stone ladder road, countless small shrines were placed at the roots of the woods. They contained statues, such as Shiva wearing a wreath, Parvati, the goddess of the snow mountain, and Ganesha, the ganesha. The main god Krishna and the monkey god Hanuman and some other gods that I cannot confirm immediately. Pilgrims immersed the statue in the river. Some of them have long been distorted and damaged by the current. A boy looked at a life-size statue of the Ganges goddess with a sad face, her head and one foot had disappeared. On the back of the boy’s shirt, there is an eagle and a line of text that seems to be spelled out randomly from the dictionary with pins.

All roads lead to the main bath Karavanbori, where it is said that the god Vishnu left a footprint there. Even in February, the water has reached its lowest point, the monsoon has passed, and the snowmelt has not yet begun, but the current is still strong enough to set off torrential white waves. The bathing people clung to the edge, grabbed the metal chain, and leaned on the pillar with the sacred kaleidoscope as the head. Even so, some teenage boys walked in the water and released burning lamps made of leaves and flowers. No matter where they are wading, the water level is kept at waist level. I think the sludge on the riverbed must have been washed away by the water, but the next morning I realized I was wrong.

Pilgrimage and prayer
As night fell, the flames jumped and swayed on the camphor lamp that the priest lit the Ganges Night Festival. Manto spent a few rupees, bought a burning lamp from a boy, and placed it in the water, letting it go with the waves. I also follow the rules. At the end of the ceremony, Shiva Night lost the piety and dignity atmosphere just now and turned into a noisy and forgetful ball. The cluttered and shrill large and small trumpets sounded at the fair. The brass bands wore orange, silver and gold uniforms. There were the Shira, Raja and Shiv bands.

The buffalo moved slowly through the crowd, and the car carried statues of Lord Shiva and the Goddess Ganges. The pilgrims gathered outside the door of the Thievara restaurant to wait for a free meal. People can scoop rice and peas from the big barrel. Others are dropping coins into the charity box of Maa Ganga Temple. A woman ran towards me with a small basket, lifted the lid, a cobra exhaled to my face, and its little hood was still pulsating. The woman giggled. I, a foreigner, always shows a foolish attitude.

The next morning, we took the cable car-which the Indians called the ropeway-to the temple of the goddess Mensa of Nava Vasuji, the cobra of Shiva. The temple was built on a bare stone roof 600 feet above the Ganges, like a military castle.

I handed in the change and bought a plate of flowers as offerings, called “Plasad” in Hindi, which is a gift from my god. In return, I will get Dashen’s opportunity to see the true content of the idol and to be blessed.

A caution pickpocket sign was posted along the way. The slimy body squeezed against me, which is easily reminiscent of a stampede. We went through four doors, but three of them were locked. “Oh, these are for VIPs,” Manto said.

Finally we came to the Temple of the Goddess. I gave the flower tray to the priest, and he prayed blessings for me in a perfunctory manner, and then handed the flower tray to another person, who would hand the flower to the hawker at the door and sell it.

On the rocks outside, there are more monkeys than I have seen anywhere, even more than Rajasthan Bongka Station, and it is dizzying to look out over the river and the city. Before arriving in Karavanburi, one can see that the Ganges River is divided in two here.

Crazy and great project
The sluice on the east side of the big river flows part of the water into the original channel; the other two sluices lead the larger part of the water to the west and make it run along the stone ladder. It was at this moment that I realized that the boys did not step into the river at Artie Ganges, but stood on the bed of an artificial canal, which was the starting point of an irrigation system. It is this irrigation system that nourishes and nurtures tens of millions of people living on alluvial alluvial land between the Ganges and Yamuna.

Probie Thomas Courtley was the one who built the canal. He is a eloquent polymath, bald, wearing rimless glasses, and has a gentle poet face. He is also a humanitarian, determined to solve the cyclical famine that has repeatedly plagued the alluvial plains of the river. The last major famine occurred in 1838, which claimed 800,000 lives and accounted for 1/7 of the total population here. Four years later, Courtley began construction.

First, he went to survey every inch of terrain on the Shivalik hills, “wandering every ravine, canyon, or river that we could find and can enter, accompanied by guns and geological hammers.” The fossils he discovered include an saber-toothed tiger and an elephant ancestor with a ten-foot trunk.

Those who criticized him said he was crazy. It is too difficult to build a dam in the rapid mountain rapids, let alone how expensive it is; the dam should only be built on fertile sandy plains, as the East India Company did in South India. “Bad words, really boring.” Cowley replied, and the devouring floods on the Ganges Plain would wash them away.

I fully support his statement. In Haridova, the torrent of spring snowmelt was “always a cause of concern”, but he designed the sluice in this way in order to prevent disasters from happening as long as an early warning operator discharged the floods in time .

For the priests of Haridova, everything is blasphemy. This crazy Englishman is desecrating their goddess. But he listened to the priest’s dissatisfaction and made concessions. He will refurbish Kalaven Pauli and other baths so that pilgrims will be safer; he will hold an inauguration ceremony to pay tribute to the ganesha Ganesha, because it is he who removed the obstacles and blessed the smooth progress of the new project. Cowley wrote: “The Indian accepted it. They may view the move as some kind of compensation for restricting Ganges’ freedom.” When his great project was completed, the total length exceeded 350 miles, extending to Kanpur.