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Magazine Web Edition > July/August/September 2013 > Pilgrim Voices: New York, Lucknow, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh
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Pilgrim Voices

NEW YORK

“Rare Saints of Such Stature”

WE WENT TO THE 2010 Kumbh in Haridwar, but this is something really amazing. Ganga is a mokshadayani, grantor of liberation, you can say. Every morning we go to Sangam, have our holy dip, do our puja and only then start our day.

Both our children follow our Hindu traditions, but getting them married is a problem. They are pure hearted and honest, and this is something not so easily found here in India in the young generation. Though our culture is rich, we lack honesty; and this is one thing which is going from bad to worse here in India. We are looking for pure Bhartiya—the best of India—matches for our children. It may sound strange, but it is easier to get such matches back in the US. The reason is that the young people there are not learning dharma under pressure; they do it out of free will. We have yet to find pure-hearted Indians for them.

Neelam Sandhir: Every time I have a holy dip in the Mother Ganga I feel the presence of God on this holy land. The same feeling comes to us when we have the darshan of our holy saints. It is rare to have saints of such stature in such big numbers anywhere else.

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Vijay and Neelam Sandhir
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LUCKNOW

“One Who Has Not Come Here Has Not Seen Anything”

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Girish Agarwal, a businessman
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WHEN I CAME TO THE KUMBH 24 years ago as a child, we drove straight to the ghat and had our bath. There was hardly any security and fewer people. Those were simple days. Today it is a sea of humanity. A lot of change has taken place, and the faith of the people in the event has increased. We visited the different akharas, which was an 0ut-of-the-world experience for our group. It is very difficult to convey what I have seen here. I can only say that whosoever has missed this opportunity has missed a lot. In fact, the one who is not here has not seen anything.

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RAJASTHAN

“At the Feet of Mother Ganga”

I LOVE HAVING A BATH IN GANGA. If possible, I do so several times a day. It is my biggest enjoyment here. Here at this book stall I am looking for a Ramayana to take home. Every time I go to a religious fair, I buy at least one book which I then read daily after my morning prayer. I have come by train and without reservations. I am staying at the ashram of Manjhle Murari Bapu who is also of Rajasthan. I am comfortable, because my expectations are very low. I take it as a pilgrimage, where I get to touch the feet of Holy Mother Ganga and worship Her.

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Thakur Dev Lal, 65, a farmer
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MADHYA PRADESH

“Our Stay is Blissful”

WE ARE A GROUP OF TEN AND HAVE TRAVELED about 700 kilometers by road with a big vehicle to participate in the Kumbh. The older people in our group have been to the other Kumbhs, but for the youth and children, it is a first-time experience. We came last night and will be staying here for a few more days, having our bath on the 10th. We are staying in a tent put up by our priest, who hails from Ayodhya. We are not facing any problem here, and our stay is blissful.

We would be spending around us$185 on the transport. Total per-head expense would be around $37 to $56.

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Shikhar Chand Sahoo, 62, at center, is a farmer in Sivni District, MP
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