Kumbh pilgrims declare Ganga as 'green valentine'

Over 500 "green Kumbh" participants, from more than 45 countries, carried out a rally at the Maha Kumbh mela to declare river Ganga as country's 'green valentine' on the occasion of Valentine's Day today.

The event filled with dance and music was organised by Ganga Action Parivar (GAP) and was attended by its founder and president of Rishikesh's Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Swami Chidanand Saraswati.

Several spiritual leaders like Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev of Isha Foundation and B A Swami Paramadvaiti, a Vaishnavite spiritual leader and environmentalist from Germany, also participated in the event.

"Ganga is the past, present, and future of Mother India. She quenches our thirst, cleanses our bodies, irrigates our fields and brings divine liberation and purity to every moment of every day," Chidanand Saraswati said.

Urging all to take active steps for its preservation, he said Ganga had played an integral role in country's growth, from cultural to developmental.

"She (the Ganga) must be allowed to flourish if the country is to flourish. All can do their bit to serve Ganga, whether it is by planting a tree, prohibiting plastic, or picking up trash in the local community. Make Ganga your green Valentine everyday," he said.

Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, in his message to the organisers, said, "We have always used the water of holy rivers like Ganga and Yamuna to purify ourselves, but today we have reached a point where we have to clean their waters.
It's not only the government that can do it. We will have to come together. Valentine's Day, a day of love, is a perfect day of coming together in the name of Mother Ganga".
American-born GAP and Parmarth Niketan Ashram member, Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati said that the Ganga was verily the lifeline for nearly 500 million people.
"Despite her spiritual and cultural importance, three billion litres of harmful toxic sewage, human waste and garbage are poured into (the Ganga) every day. It is time for people to reach out in love and service to her," she said.
Participants wore colours of the Indian flag to give out its environmentally-conscious message.
Of the flag's colours, orange was the symbol for sunshine and alternative energy, white represented simplicity and purity to encourage living in a sustainable and simple way and green stood for the importance of organic farming plays in keeping Ganga's waters clean.

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