INDIA: Where Nectar Once Spilled

Holy bells clanged and trumpets blared, and up from the sacred place, above the murmur of the vast crowd, rose the cries: "Victory to Mother Ganges" "Long live religion . . ." The sun was not yet up, but at the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna Rivers, 4,000,000 Hindu pilgrims were gathered for the great ceremony.

Just before sunrise, a great procession, led by naked, ash-smeared holy men and gold-caparisoned elephants, trod solemnly toward the winter stream in a clamor of conch shells and cymbals. With ritual reverence, the first pilgrims rubbed the water into their skin and their...

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