Ganga Aarti in Rishikesh ऋषिकेश में गंगा आरती
Rishikesh is often called the gateway to the Himalayas by adventurers and Gateway to the heaven by the more religiously inclined. The old parts of the Rishikesh town are dotted with temples, aashrams and such religious establishments… Yogashrama are spread on the slopes of the hills and the temples along the Longest Indian River Ganga.
I had earlier written about my over all experience of the tour of Garhwal region. Although our final objective of reaching the Valley of flowers did not materialize, there was a whole lot of cultural experience to be savoured.
When I reached the banks of Ganga at Triveni ghat, I found the place very soothing, although it was not exactly silent. I sat at one of the steps and watched the flow of water. I could do that for hours if I had the time. It was a sort of meditation when I could actually introspect while eyes wide open. The water was a bit muddy, naturally, because of the incessant rains upstream in the Himalayas. The flow was very fast, looked as if it would sweep away everything including sins of the people. 🙂
One could see hordes taking bath for that very purpose.
Aarti at the bank of river Ganga
Suddenly my reverie was shattered by a blaring loud speaker announcing the beginning of Ganga Aarti. I could see the locals and tourists take their places on the cemented steps.
Aarti is often performed towards the end of Pooja, a worship ritual by the Hindus for the various gods and goddesses. Here I could see 12 huge oil lamps covered with wicks and ghee, all set for worshipping the river Mother Ganges. The priests or Pandits were busy collecting donations and performing individual poojas for people before the Aarti commenced.
At the stroke of 7:00pm, the loud speaker blares the Aarti song and the 12 priests already in position light up their respective lamps and hold them high and move in a circular fashion.
I am, of course, not new to Aarti. But this was special, in spite of the loud blaring of the noise I found myself drifting away again to my own introspection while I watched the circles of smoke and flames emanating from the 12 huge brass lamps, and the intoxicating smell of burning ghee and incense…..
“Om Jai Gange Mata……”
If you are in Rishikesh during evening then Triveni ghat or Paramarth temple ghat are definitely places to visit for the Maha Ganga Aarti.
You can watch my video of complete Ganga arti at Rishikesh.
Trip to Rishikesh should not be difficult. The ride from Dehradun is quite comfortable, bar a few stretches of broken roads. In fact if you land at Dehradun airport then Rishikesh is just 20-25 kilometers.
Autorickshaw rides within the Rishikesh city Rs 5 to Rs 20 depending on the distance. One could share the rickshaw, which works out cheaper. The old part is walkable, but during hot weather it could be … well just that, hot. 🙂
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