11:48 GMT29 October 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): There is an Indian tradition of welcoming the New Year at the banks of the Ganges with prayers. It’s a major annual draw for tourists from India and abroad.  The ceremony includes the lighting of lamps, invoking the divine through hymns and offering obeisance to the holy river regarded as a goddess in Hinduism.

    Braving the nearly freezing temperature at dawn, several priests in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varanasi welcomed the New Year 2020 at the banks of the holy river Ganges in India’s Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.

    ​While some chose to celebrate the beginning of the New Year with a bang in clubs, restaurants, and resorts, a huge crowd emerged at the banks of Ganges praying for a prosperous and peaceful New Year for their loved ones.

    Cladded in saffron robes, priests lit big brass lamps and offered flowers to the holy river. The enchanting sound of hymns and cymbals made the environment a divine and auspicious beginning to 2020.  

    The significance of the prayers that are organised here every day is such that even Prime Minister Modi himself, on various occasions, has participated and performed Aarti (prayers) on the banks of the Ganges.


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