Sri Sathya Sai Ghat at the Holy Rishikesh
We are giving below a detailed coverage of the Inauguration of Sri Sathya Sai Ghat at Rishikesh on the banks of River Ganga, other related activities organized by Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organizations – India during September 09 -11, 2016, Special article for our readers and devotees.
Chief Public Relations Officer
Rishikesh, Uttarakhand now has an exclusive riverfront named after Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. Amidst Vedic chants, homams, and Prasanthi mandir bhajans, the deva bhoomi inaugurated the Sri Sathya Sai Ghat with a spiritually-charged, 3 day program from September 9-11, 2016.
The three day celebrations began with traditional music of Uttarakhand and Veda chanting by Veda chanters from Prasanthi Nilayam who were joined by the best rudram chanters from Sai samithis across India and the students of the Sai School of Rishikesh. The full-throated rendition of the Sanskrit chants promoted by Bhagawan Baba echoed across the valley and were welcomed by the adjoining ashrams, saints and sages living in the lush forests rising across the river.
A Ganesha homam was performed on September 9th to seek divine blessings for the success of the program. This was followed by the musical presentations by the Bal Vikas Alumni from Haryana-Chandigarh, adding further to the spiritually charged ambiance of the SSS Ghat with the holy Ganga flowing in the background.
The highlights of September 9 evening included a play on Ganga Maa presented by the students of the Rishikesh Sai School and the rendition of Sai bhajans by the Prasanthi Mandir bhajan group who concluded their session with a special medley of bhajans based on the 'Ganga' theme.
The students of the Sai School at Rishikesh then performed the synchronised Ganga aarthi with their well-lit lamps reflecting on the waves of the river. This was followed by Sathya Sai aarthi. Thus began a grand tradition that is to continue for eternity – the offering of the two aarthis at the SSS Ghat at Rishikesh.
Earlier in the day, the spacious Sai Annapoorna Dining Hall (60 feet by 30 feet) was inaugurated by Sri S.S. Naganand, member, SSS Central Trust.
September 10, began with the early morning Nagar Sankirtan across Laxman Jhoola (the pedestrians-only suspension bridge) which proved refreshingly memorable for all involved.
Shri Nimish Pandya, the All India President of the SSS Seva Organisation of India inaugurated the spacious Sri Sathya Sai Ghat at Rishikesh. Lord Ganesha presides over the entrance of the ghat which is a 30 feet by 20 feet architectural gem reflecting great attention to detail, including the signature pastel colour scheme of Sai ashrams.
After the procession of Veda chanters down the ghat, the Ekadasi Saarvajanik Rudra Abhishekam, conducted by Shri Veda Narayan was well-attended by Sai devotees and office bearers from all over India and abroad. Everyone present got an opportunity to perform linga abhishekam with holy Ganga water.
This was followed by the second session of Sai bhajans by the Prasanthi Bhajan group. The final medley based on 'Rishikesha' enthralled the devotees who joyfully braved the sun to lend their voices to the chorus.
The second highlight of the day was the inauguration of the Paduka Mandir by SSS Central Trust member Sri R.J. Ratnakar. The padukas or lotus feet of the Lord carved in pure white marble were installed with due ceremonies in the specially set-up mandir on the ghat, now known as the Paduka Mandir. These padukas were brought from Prasanthi Nilayam mandir where they had been sanctified by the power of the continuous prayers held in the prayer hall for the past 40 years.
The grand concert by Bhagavan's students from Prasanthi Nilayam on the evening of September 10, 2016 left everyone on a mystical high.
Renowned bhajan singer, Sri Anup Jalota also presented a melodious concert on the night of September 10. The synchronised Ganga aarti followed by Sri Sathya Sai aarti marked the conclusion of each evening.
A number of breathtaking sculptures along the SSS Ghat capture the glory and the story of river Ganga. The 18 feet tall statue of Mother Ganga sits on the main ghat, beside another statue of Lord Shiva and King Bhagirath in deep meditation.
The entire area is resplendent with various statues that capture the Puranic tales related to the descent of Ganga from the matted locks of Lord Shiva.
Chair of the Sathya Sai International Organisation Dr. Narendranath Reddy inaugurated the 23 feet tall Shiva statue located outside the SSS Mandir.
The image of Lakshmi Narayan on the Ghat was unveiled by SSS Central Trust Member, Justice A.P. Mishra.
The government of Uttarakhand has handed over the 185 linear metre (607 feet) long bank of the Ganga right below the Sri Sathya Sai Mandir to the SSS Trust of Uttarakhand (UK) and Uttar Pradesh (UP).
The SSS Ghat is located along upstream Ganga in Tehri Gharwal, near Laxman Jhoola, where the sacred river is pure, clean and rich in minerals. It will now be maintained by the SSS Trust of UK and UP, and no commercial activities will be permitted on it.
The ghat comprises of a flight of steps leading to the river bank and it lies right below the vast estate that houses the Sri Sathya Sai Mandir, North Prashanti and Bhagavan Baba's residence where He stayed in 1982. A mandir has been built around it to house 350 people for bhajans. This was inaugurated by Sri N. Ramani, the National Vice-President, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation.
On September 11, 2016 the Sri Sathya Sai Vedic Learning Centre & Library was inaugurated by Sri B.G. Pitre, Director, SS Education, India. The learning centre will be open to all for Vedic learning. The centre is supported by a well-equipped library with Vedic literature which was inaugurated by Mrs. Nimmi Kanwar, National Coordinator, Bal Vikas program.
During the celebrations, Sri Ravish Khanna, the Convenor of the SSS Trust of UK & UP announced further plans to commemorate Bhagavan Baba's visit to the region at Badrinath and Varanasi.
Located in the Himalayan foothills in Uttarakhand, the town of Rishikesh is known around the world for its ashrams and yoga centres along the perennial and sacred river Ganga. It is also home to caves and temples where seekers and sages contemplate in quietude, seeking inner wisdom.
Under the able leadership of Principal Mr. Pramod Rana, the SSS School of Rishikesh has earned itself a sterling reputation in the region and the SSS Organisation and the SSS Trust of UK & UP are much respected for their selfless service activities, especially those rendered during the Kedarnath floods of 2013.
The events connected with the inauguration of the SSS Ghat brought a new wave of enthusiasm among the local population and ashramites some of whom have had darshan of Bhagavan Baba during His three visits to the town of Rishikesh in 1957, 1961 and 1982.
The grand inauguration of the SSS Ghat were watched 'live' by 38,000 concurrent users in 69 countries around the globe in various time zones and have revived the interest of Sai devotees everywhere to visit the Sri Sathya Sai Ghat of Rishikesh at the earliest possible opportunity.
Sri Ravish Khanna, Sri Deepak Nautiyal and Sri V.N. Upadhyaya, Trustees of the SSS Trust of UK & UP thanked Bhagavan for the grand opportunity to commemorate His divine visit to Rishikesh and sought His blessings to continue the same at Badrinath and Varanasi.