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Friday, June 5, 2015

Godavari Pushkaralu ~ Railways to sell Godavari water as 'God Jal"

Pushkaralu (in Telugu), [Pushkaram] is a festival of worshipping rivers.   From time immemorial, rivers are considered sacred in India.  Ganges is supreme, while for Srivaishnavaites, river Cauvery is considered sacred than Ganges itself.   I do not know the source but this song penned by Vaali for Maha Nathi was so impressive :

கங்கா சங்காச காவேரி ஸ்ரீரங்கேச மனோஹரி; கல்யாணகாரி கலுசானி நமஸ்தேஸ்து சுகாசரி)  ........  “ஸ்ரீரங்கரங்கநாதனின் பாதம் வந்தனம் செய்யடி”

The famed Godavari Pushkaralu is days away, slated to commence on 14th July 2o15.  The temple town of Bhadrachalam is expected to witness a congregation of over a crore devotees during the 12 day event, while there would slightly lesser crowds at Godavari bridge near Rajahmundry and Kovvur. 

Rivers are sacred,  important, source of fertility, providing employment opportunities to people, keeping them happy and healthy.  It is nearer major rivers, civilizations prospered.  Ganga, Yamuna, Narmada, Mahanadi, Brahmaputra;  Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej; Kaveri, Godavari, Krishna, Palaru, Pennar, Thamarabarani  – there are so many of them.  Most of the holy places in India like, Varanasi, Haridwar, Talakaveri, Nasik, Ujjain, Patna, Bhadrachalam, Sri Rangam are situated along with the banks of  holy rivers. The Triveni Sangam in Allahabad is a confluence of 3 rivers the Ganges, Yamuna, and the mythological Saraswati river.

The Godavari is the second longest river in India after the river Ganga. It starts in Maharashtra and flows for 1,465 kilometres (910 mi) into the Bay of Bengal via the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. It forms one of the largest river basins in India.  From its source in Western ghats, Godavari flows eastwards across the Deccan Plateau enters West Godavari  and then East Godavari until it splits into watercourses that widen into a large fertile river delta, flowing into Bay of Bengal.  It splits into Vriddha Gautami (Gautami Godavari) and Vasishta Godavari. Again the branch Gautami splits into two branches namely Gautami and Nilarevu. Similarly the Vasishta splits into two branches named Vasishta and Vainateya.

A unique Godavari cleanliness drive under the aegis of Green Kumbh is being undertaken on June 5 by 22,000 volunteers and about 125 organisations at 69 points on Godavari, Nasardi and Kapila on the occasion of World Environment Day. Led by divisional commissionerate, the district administration, zilla parishad and the Nashik Municipal Corporation, large-scale preparations have been made to clean the river in and around the city.

Rivers have made people rich – people consider river sacred and the Postal Department is planning to make some money by selling seven lakh bottles of Godavari water during the 12-day Pushkaram. A Rajahmundry-based ISI-certified water purification and bottling company, Sapphire, would be in-charge of making the river water drinkable. The bottles are to be  priced Rs. 20 each and will contain 500 ml of water that the Postal Department has named ‘GOD-JAL’ after ‘Godavari Jalam’. The department began the booking process on Wednesday.

Chief Post Master-General (CPMG), Andhra Pradesh Circle, is quoted as saying that going by the initial appreciation from the general public, the department would have to produce more bottles as the demand was expected to cross 20 lakh by July 14, the last date for placing booking. Those interested can purchase the bottles from any of the 16,150 post offices in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Believers from across the country and those residing in other countries can also place online orders on Delivery charges will not be applicable within the State though the overseas orders will draw extra delivery rates. Purchases from abroad can be made only by using American Express or Diner cards. If the Godavari bottle water project clicks, the department is planning to start bottling water from the Ganga too after acquiring permission from the respective State governments, according to the official.

The sale of water is part of the postal department’s revenue generation plans for the year 2015-16. The Andhra Pradesh circle of the Postal Department, comprising the twin States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, had had a steady growth in revenue over the past three years due to strict implementation of projects that attracted public interest, it is stated.  The Postal department is on an expansion spree – is set to open 14 new post offices and eight sub post offices at the mandal level this year; while  Six new branches  are to be opened at the village level.   

Tailpiece :  In India, many trains are named after rivers.  Godavari Express is one of the most prestigious trains of South Central Railway running  between Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad. It was introduced as the Waltair-Hyderabad express in Feb  1974 with the train numbers being 7007 and 7008. Its current train numbers are 12727 and 12728. Despite the two new trains, Garib Rath and Duronto on the same route,  the demand for the Godavari Express is  high, that sometimes an unreserved coach is replaced with an extra Classic Sleeper or Third Class coach. Godavari Express connects  the cities of four coastal districts in Andhra Pradesh to the state capital, In united Andhra Pradesh, now the capital of Telangana Hyderabad. The train stops at four stations in the Visakhapatnam district, six stations in the East Godavari district, three stations in the West Godavari district and Vijayawada in the Krishna district.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

5th June 2015.

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