Ash immersion in Haridwar begins after govts nod to rituals for the dead – Hindustan Times

Posted: May 8, 2020 at 4:41 pm

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Ash immersion rituals resume in Haridwar at Brahma Kund Har-Ki-Pauri on Friday(HTPhoto)

After over a month-long hiatus, ash immersion rituals have resumed at Haridwar from Friday onwards.

People were seen carrying urns of ashes from the wee hours on Friday to the sanctum sanctorum of Brahma Kund at Har-Ki-Pauri Ganga Ghat. Local priests, too, resumed work and conducted the ash-immersion rituals.

According to priests, normally in Haridwar, about 2000 to 5000 people arrive daily for ash-immersion rituals, post-cremation rituals and Pitra Karmakand (forefathers soul-related rites) which had been disrupted due to the nationwide lockdown affecting their livelihood.

Har-Ki-Pauri is considered to be an ancient place with religious significance. It is believed that nectar of the gods had fallen here after a tug-of-war between deities and demons, as per Hindu mythology.

Haridwar district administration, however, has specified that only two persons and a driver are allowed to accompany an urn to be immersed at Har-Ki-Pauri Ganga Ghat.

Cabinet spokesperson Madan Kaushik said that adherence to the guidelines issued by the local administration and health department regarding Covid-19 preventive measures like wearing of face masks, social distancing and time-bound return to their respective home destinations was a must for carrying out the rituals.

Terming the decision as a step in the right direction, office bearers of Ganga Sabha, the main managing body of Har-Ki-Pauri Ganga Ghat, said ash immersion should have been allowed a fortnight ago.

Ash immersion rituals are part of ancient tradition and customs which help in providing salvation (moksha) to the departed soul. Its quite sad that after funeral rites people had to keep urns of the deceased for quite some time, but now the government has taken the right decision to allow it again, said Pradeep Jha, president Ganga Sabha.

Haridwar priests, who had last week submitted a memorandum to the state government demanding the lifting of the prohibition at Har-Ki-Pauri, were quite busy as people with urns turned up at the Ghats from Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi-NCR region, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and even beyond.

Akhil Bharatiya Yuva Teerth Purohit president Ujjwal Pundit said the lockdown has severely affected their livelihood as they primarily depend on last rites related rituals and special prayers for the deceased.

There are nearly 2000 priests in Haridwar involved in ash immersion rituals for several generations.

Meanwhile, the ashram and dharamshala owners have demanded the opening of some eateries and tea stalls at Har-Ki-Pauri for people coming from other states.

We have been waiting for more than a week to get the permission, finally Uttarakhand government has granted the same. We have been traveling for the past seven hours. We have reached Haridwar and it is overwhelming that finally, we will be able to immerse the ashes in the Ganga, said Vijay Singh from Haryana.

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Ash immersion in Haridwar begins after govts nod to rituals for the dead - Hindustan Times

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May 8th, 2020 at 4:41 pm

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