Saturday night in Ujjain and we had a decision to make—to catch the lighting of
Saturday night in Ujjain and we had a decision to make—to catch the lighting ofthe two giant lamps at the Harasiddhi Temple, or to linger back at Ujjain’s ghats for the late-evening arti on the banks of the holy Kshipra river. The clouds darkened, as if to set the mood for the staging of Kalidasa’s Meghdoot. The weather had made our decision. We hurried across the pontoon bridge from Dattatreya Akhada towards Ram Ghat. The dark skies opened up, to flood the streets of Ujjain with a torrential downpour. Young priests scurried to retrieve the brass utensils and puja paraphernalia from the Arti Dwar (arched gate), which were ferried to a large pillared pavilion nearby where we all huddled for cover. The modalities were being worked out and soon a priest rearranged the crowd to make way for the lamp bearers. And lo and behold, to the rhythm of the rain, the clang of cymbals, and the crash of drums the Kshipra arti began.
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