Photojournalist and Documentary Photographer Abhishek Singh is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this photo essay. From the project ‘Ghat’. To see ABHISHEK’s body of work, click on any image.
Every year, between the months of November and February, seagulls migrate from Russia to Delhi, seeking a tad warmer climate for habitation. These birds make the NigambodhGhat their temporary home during the winter months. Knowing this fact, many casual visitors, pro-photographers and bird lovers visit the ghat throughout the day; more so, in the wee hours of the morning.
The Yamuna is a goddess to the eyes of her devotees despite its current struggles with pollution. Topping it off with an unforgettable view of the Jama Masjid back through the streets of Old Delhi, discovering the Yamuna route is truly a unique and memorable experience.
The beginning of legend: Nigambodhghat seen from across the river. These are the sacred waters within which Brahma recovered the book of knowledge and the powers of divinity, which he had lost. NigambodhGhat is thus a place of ending, it marks the finality of the mortal core; but it is also the source of a regeneration of immortal wisdom, of sacred knowledge. Death and immortality exist together.
The great epics and sacred texts tell us about the beauty and power of the river Yamuna. This is the daughter of the sun god; sister of Yama, the god of death; lover of Krishna; sister to that other great river goddess, Ganga. The Gods themselves, Brahma and Shiva, are said to worship her.
The Ras Lila paintings of Lord Krishna consorting with his gopis are magical, ethereal, depictions of the river surrounded by lush sacred groves. On her banks, the great Sufi saint NizamuddinAulia spread his divine message. This is a river revered through antiquity; a river by which a unique culture flourished.
Today, however, as the Yamuna winds her course through the 22 kilometer stretch of Delhi, she bears no resemblance to her legend. Decades of wanton disregard have turned her into nothing more than a stinking sewer that is biologically ‘dead’ as it flows out of Delhi.
Yet there is a little stretch, a place where the story of Indraprastha begins; the story of the Pandavas, the story of Delhi. Here, despite the filth and degradation. From NigambodhGhat to the LalPul or the Old Iron Bridge, you discover ways of life that are still intertwined with the river and its sacred avatar.
All images and text © Abhishek Singh
Abhishek’s Previous Contributions To Edge Of Humanity Magazine
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