The first thing that you notice on nearing Har Ki Pauri at three on a December morning is the evanescent calm of the place. The chilly mountain winds blow in your face making you shrink into yourself. The only sounds that are heard, are that of blowing winds and the gurgling choppy waters.
This calm and serene Har ki Pauri baffled me a little. It was in such a contrast to what I had come to expect, even on thinking about Haridwar.
Being one of the most important religious places for Hindus, Haridwar is magnetic in its power to draw in devotees and inquisitive travellers like me. Therefore, this soothing silence confused me a little initially and then lured me into experiencing the place in its tranquil glory just a wee bit more.
As you try to take stock of the situation, squinting your eyes to try to look past the orange-ish street lights into the cool darkness of the night, past the brilliantly lit temple complex; it dawns upon you that Har Ki Pauri is as entrancing in its calm as during the crowded, chaotic yet majestic Ganga aartis.
Wrapped in a blanket over four layers of clothing, I stood there, watching the silver-orangish waves crash into each other, leading to a beautiful contrast of light and dark.
As we moved towards the bridge to reach the temple complex at Har ki Pauri, looking at the flickering lights illuminating the rapids, made me realise the ephemerality of the experience.
I’ll probably never be at Haridwar at three on a december morning, fighting off the crippling cold while holding the bridge railing with shivering hands just to breathe in the fresh mountain air, ever again.
The reverberating silence of the place would be lost in a few hours, replaced by the mystical chants of the oh so famed Ganga aarti.
The darkness defied by the orange street lights, creating a halo of surreality; would be engulfed by the radiance of the crack of dawn and I’d probably never be standing on a bridge at Haridwar again, trying to ignore the cold sting of metal just to be able to keep on standing there for a little longer, hoping to extend the moment a little.
Looking at the Ganga water, emerging from darkness and changing into silver-orange rimmed waves as they near you is what magic comprises of.
The eyes fixed on the miracle that Har Ki Pauri is at three in December mornings,make the sounds in the background melt into themselves, the background is wished away and the attention is so focussed on the existing moment that the foreground of consciousness is filled by a complete sense of euphoria which is difficult to contain.
The concept of reality and temporality is lost to land and water. The unadulterated beauty of experiences like these is no less a spiritual experience than that of attending the majestic early morning Ganga aarti or taking a dip in the holy Ganga water.
All pictures have been taken by Sheena Gola.
This blog was originally published on 'Ofdreamers'.