The Ganga Aarti is one of the most beautiful experiences in India. The spiritually uplifting ceremony is performed daily to honor the River Goddess Ganga. Every day, as dusk descends on the Earth, the ghats of the River Ganga witnesses a spectacular ceremony. Hundreds of diyas, mantras, aroma of incense, flowers, and musical instruments create an ambiance of divine bliss.
The aarti ritual is of high religious significance. Fire is used as an offering to the river. You need to witness the event to actually comprehend its grandiose. In this blog, we will provide a complete guide for Ganga Aarti.
Significance of Ganga Aarti
Aarti is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja. This ceremony includes fire, songs sung in praise of the worshiped, flowers, incense, music, etc. The purpose of aarti is to show humility and gratitude to God’s divine form.
Ganga aarti is a devotional offering to the River Goddess. Lit lamps and flowers are floated down the river. This offering is made to the Goddess Ganga, also affectionately referred to as Maa, the Mother Goddess of the most holy river in India.
How is the Ganga Aarti performed?
The Ganga aarti takes place on the river ghats facing the river. Brass lamps are lit and circled clockwise by the saffron clad pandits (Hindu priests), accompanied by chanting or songs in praise of Mother Ganga. The belief is that during the aarti, the lamps acquire the power of the deity. Therefore, after the ritual is complete, devotees place their hands over the flame and raise their palms to their forehead in order to get the Goddess’s blessing.
The salvation giving river is offered floating diyas and flowers. After the aarti, devotees float their offerings with chants of Har Har Gange!
Where is the Ganga Aarti Performed?
The Ganga Aarti is performed on the banks of River Ganga. The spiritual ceremony happens every evening in different cities of India, after the sun sets, be it rain, hail, or shine! The most popular aarti ceremonies are held in cities of Varanasi, Haridwar and Rishikesh. It is an event one must attend once in their lifetime. However, the ceremony is very different in each of these places. Keep reading to to find out about the Ganga Aarti in each place.
Ganga Aarti, Haridwar
The Haridwar Ganga Aarti is held at the river ghat known as Har-ki-Pauri. In terms of spiritual importance, it is one of the holiest places in India. The Ganga Aarti at Haridwar is a spiritual ceremony much more relaxed than Varanasi. As the sun sets, people arrive at the ghat with their offerings. Pandits, babas, people all get together in their own rituals.
The temple priests carry brass lamps to honor the river. Loud speakers chanting mantras, clanging bells, singing, incense, flowers, and flames create a sensory experience.
How to be part of Ganga Aarti Haridwar
Get to the river ghats as early as possible to secure a location to attend the aarti. Get as close to the water as you can. The soothing melody of the flowing river with the spiritual event is amazing.
Ganga Aarti, Rishikesh
The town of Rishikesh also has its own Ganga aarti. It is much relaxed and unhurried experience. It is held on the banks of the river at Parmarth Niketan ashram. The ambiance and the rituals here are more subdued. Each do their own rituals according to their wishes. The aarti here is performed by the ashram residents, particularly the children who are studying the Vedas there. The ceremony inaugurates with the singing of bhajans (devotional songs), prayers. A Hawan, a purifying and sacred ritual with the offerings to the fire god is performed. The lamps are lit after the Hawan.
The aarti occurs as the final part of the ceremony. The spiritual head of the ashram sing which is followed by tunes of all attendees. This ceremony is more of a personal spiritual connection. Even after the aarti, you will not feel like leaving. Sit for a while enjoying the divine bliss of the River Ganga overlooked by a huge statue of Lord Shiva.
How to be part of Ganga Aarti, Rishikesh
Arrive to the Parmarth Niketan ashram. Do arrive early if you want to get a seat on the steps close to the action. Remove your shoes to attend the proceedings.
Each of these Ganga Aartis are beautiful and bewitching in their own way. Attend all of theme and then decide for yourself. The spectacular ceremony is also a loving adoration for the life-giving river Goddess Ganga.
Ganga Aarti, Varanasi
The Varanasi Ganga Aarti is one of the most beautiful religious ceremonies in the world. It takes place every sunset at holy Dashaswamedh Ghat, near Kashi Vishwanath Temple. This divine ritual is a highly choreographed ceremony. The extravaganza is amazing and you will certainly will be wanting more of it. The aarti is performed on a stage on the river banks. A group of young pandits, all draped in saffron colored robes raise huge brass lamps in honor of the River Goddess.
The ceremony commences with the blowing of a conch shell, which is believed to eliminate all negative energy and heighten your senses. The waving of incense sticks in elaborate patterns and circling of large flaming lamps follows. The movement of the lamps are synchronized to the rhythmic chants of hymns and music of cymbals. The heady scent of sandalwood thickly permeates the air. The aarti is not just a ritual it is a display of complete devotion to the River Ganga.
How to be Part of Ganga Aarti, Varanasi
If you wish to attend the Varanasi Ganga aarti you need to arrive early, almost an hour before the sunset to get a good position for viewing the aarti. An effective way of seeing it is by boat from the river. Also, many shops in the vicinity hire their balconies out to tourists for the ceremony. For the bets experience, do attend the maha aarti that takes place on a particularly elaborate scale near the end of each year on Kartik Purnima.
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