Ganges is a major river of India and it is one of the longest rivers of the world, over 2,525 kms long. It passes through 29 cities and 70 towns. It also has stood as the economic lifeline and the elixir of life on the fertile plains of North India. The Hindu personified river Ganges as Goddess and ‘mother’.
In Hindu mythology, it is believed that its waters have extraordinary powers. Indians come to this holy river of nectar to perform the holy dip to wash away their sins. Some come to the Ganga to submerge the ashes of their beloved ones in this holy river for salvation; others visit this river goddess every year to offer prayers and donations for their beloved, departed souls.
Mythological connection speaks of a beautiful story of the origin of Ganga; Gangotri is the spot where this river comes into contact with the earth. Ganga, daughter of heaven, took the form of a river to absolve the sins of king Bhagirath’s predecessors. Lord Shiva received the goddess in his matted hair to minimize the impact of her fall.
Aarti of this holy river Ganga is just kind of thanks giving to her by the devotees. It’s usually made in the form of a lit lamp, and in the case of the Ganges River, a small diya with a candle and flowers that’s floated down the river and the whole river lights up with an eerie divine power that is sure to make bow the head in devotion.
The Aarti in itself was a very satisfying experience. Bhajans, shlokas were chanted by priests and mesmerized devotees. Pilgrims on the Ghats show their respects to maa Ganga, a variety of offerings – flowers, fruits, food and so on.
Ganga Aarti is a song performed at the time of Ganga Aarti. It is a daily ceremony performed every evening on the banks of the Ganges River although it is slightly different in Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Varanasi.
Ganga Aarti at Rishikesh
The Ganga Aarti at Triveni Ghat of Rishikesh captivates a huge number of visitors and mesmerizes them by the sacred songs and mantras. The Aarti at Trevini Ghats is special because of the live music. The Aarti lasts for about 45 minutes. The Ghats attracts many people during the evenings when the Aarti is done. The priests perform puja and chant mantras during this time. One can have a spectacular view of the river when many lamps are set afloat in the river during evening.
Ganga Aarti at Hardwar
Haridwar’s biggest attraction is the ghat of Har Ki Pauri. Har Ki Pauri means the “feet of the Lord”. As per popular legend, this is the place where a drop of eternal nectar had fallen from churning of the oceans. The most fascinating time of Haridwar is the evening Aarti, when hundreds of lighted floating lamps can be seen floating on the river at the end of grand Aarti.
People from all over the world come to Haridwar to witness and offer prayers to the maa Ganga. The prayers start in the evening, with chants of mantras emanating from the loudspeakers. A number of Diyas are waved in the air by the Pujari, the twinkling lights getting reflected by the water.
Whole ceremony takes 15-20 minutes, after which the devotees float their personal Diyas on the holy water of maa Ganga. Diyas placed in bowls of leaves and flowers are lit before being placed on the fast-flowing water, which takes lights away into the darkness.
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Ganga Aarti at Varanasi
The most mesmerizing Ganga Aarti at Varanasi is performed at holy Dasaswamedh Ghat, near Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It takes place daily just after sunset and is attended by thousands of people, both tourists and pilgrims. The ceremony is a deeply religious experience for Hindus and lasts for about 30 minutes. It commences with the holy sound chanting, bell-ringing, conch shell blowing, and lamps that are circled around by the seven “pandits” (Hindu priests), accompanied by songs in praise of Mother Ganga.
It is gracefully coordinated, spiritually boost, soul gripping and very energetic experience. You can also go out in a boat and watch the show from the River Ganges
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