On November 6th, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall paid a visit to Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, as the first destination of their visit to India. They took part in the sacred Ganga Aarti Ceremony (ritual of lights), led by the President of Parmarth Niketan, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji and also a Water Blessing Ceremony, in which water was offered onto a large globe, symbolizing a prayer that all people across the world should have access to safe and sufficient water. A prayer was also held in homage to those who had lost their lives, loved ones, homes, livelihoods and hopes in the tragic Uttarakhand floods this past June.
Pujya Swamiji presented the Royal guests with a sacred sapling, rudraksh malas and shawls made by the Uttarakhand tribal peoples.
Prince Charles spoke about how glad he was to be present for this ceremony and to hear about the wonderful work for the environment and humanity being done by Pujya Swamiji. He said, “It has been a particular pleasure to meet Swamiji, about whom I have heard so much. I know that he and his ashram, and all the work that he and his colleagues do, is of remarkable significance.”