Sraddhalu Ranade at a beach sunset

Allahabad, the Confluence of Sacred Rivers

Runjhun and a Hindu family partake in a pilgrimage to Allahabad, to bathe in the confluence of rivers and discuss what it means to them.


RUNJHUN: We are doing a pilgrimage to Allahabad, which is a very surprising twist and I consider this a blessing, because we have an Indian family with us. And so, to do it with other fellow Indians and in a very warm and joyous environment. Just be able to relax and you know, feel the pilgrimage. And take a dip in the holy river.

MOTHER: Since childhood, my patron deity has been ‘Shiva-Bholenath’, so I used to dream that someday I would be able to come here, to the sacred confluence of these three sacred rivers. I didn’t know the real meaning of the confluence. Then I learned from the holy texts about the Sangam: the confluence of all three sacred rivers.

MOTHER: Here, the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the Sarasvati all meet. So this is the abode of the Gods. We’ve always wanted to come to this particular spot in the Ganges and take a bath, so our entire family will get purified.

FATHER: This year we brought out daughter-in-law with us because my son is abroad, and she is alone. Since she is a newlywed, we didn’t want her to feel lonely. She is our child now, a part of us, so we brought her with us.

DAUGHTER: This is my first time. So I’m just enjoying it.

RUNJHUN: Taking a bath in the Ganges is supposed to purify one’s soul. She’s a goddess and I’m trying to touch a part of her. We all are going to go in there one day and be a part of her.

MAN: My life, my family life, is same life. My family culture is good culture. What?

PHIL: My family life is good culture.

PHIL: Ganga our family is safe in Ganga.

FATHER: We make a pilgrimage for peace and happiness, to fulfill our wishes for good health and worship God. We also bring our unresolved issues from back home. So if we set an intention for our pilgrimage, then, when we return, all our unresolved issues will be resolved.

RUNJHUN: Ganga for me is the holiest river in the world. Because to me she is the only goddess that I see right in front of me. She is the only living goddess. There are a lot of stories about how Ganga is so pure and in all our ancient texts they say that a dip in the Ganges done with the purest of intentions at heart is the best thing in the world to do.

RUNJHUN: I’m blessed, purified, ready to begin anew.

DAUGHTER: I’m feeling good. I want to come back every year with my husband and my parents. My feeling is very big, you know. I can’t explain. Many words in my heart, but I can’t explain.

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