1.    Tirtha

a.    “Crossing places”: Tirthas

                                     i.     Divine presence and power (shakti), a point of connections between gods and human beings, a place that delivers one from suffering and rebirth, a place of auspicious influence, brings well-being (happiness, health, prosperity)

b.    Temples: Prolixity of exterior, interior focused on source of all

                                     i.     Divine-human axis [Gangotri]

                                   ii.     Moving toward the source of all, the seed of creation.  Garbhagrha (womb chamber) – a mystery at the heart

c.    Sacred (powerful) places: tirthsthans

                                     i.     Abodes of the gods, seats of the goddesses

2.    Yatra

a.    Sacred place (tirthsthan, destination of pilgrimage or yatra), even a person (guru).

b.    Purpose of yatra: to take darsan and receive prasad; cleanse ancestral sins, bring well-being to self and family.

c.     Tirthas on the tour:

                                     i.     Hardwar: God’s door, through which Ganga enters the plains

                                   ii.     Prayags – sacred confluence of the rivers that feed the Ganga

1.    One version of the descent of the Ganga onto Siva’s head tells that she broke up into many smaller rivers that ran along the strands of his hair; then they flowed back together, one by one.

                                 iii.     Rishikesh

1.    Devotional activities:

1.    Arthi – bells, gongs, fire, chant, devotional song

2.    Floating flowers – a diya or deepak: a leaf-boat with flowers and camphor lamp.

3.    Bringing back ganga jal – purify, cure, use in worship

                                 iv.     Gangotri – pilgrimage town near source of Ganga

                                   v.     Certain land formations:

1.    Sivling: sacred mountain that rises above the source of the Ganga (21,467 ft.)

2.    Gaumukh: the glacial source of the Ganga





1.    Tirtha

2.    Prayag

3.    Yatra

4.    Shakti


1.    What makes a place like Gongotri  or Haridwar a Tirtha?

2.    What is significant about a prayag?

3.    What kinds of devotional acts do pilgrims perform on a yatra to Rishikesh