The Magic Of Ganga Aarti in Rishikesh
Every day as the sun is about to set, a prayer ceremony full of melodious hymns fills the air, each paying homage to the holy river Ganges. This ritual is famously known as the Evening Ganga Aarti and is widely performed in three major yogic and spiritual cities of India - Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Varanasi. This ritual is powerful, it is spiritually invigorating and mentally purifying.
What is a Ganga Aarti Ceremony?
It is a fire ritual performed during which the devotees and priests pay their respects to the holiest river of India, the river Ganges, also known as Mother Ganges. The fire is an offering made to the river in the form of oil lamps (diyas) that are made to float upon the waves of the river. This ritual gains further significance during certain auspicious occasions such as the Ganga Dussehra which falls during the summer months and is believed to be the day when Maa Ganges descended from her home in heaven to Earth.
Performing the Ganga Aarti: a Brief Overview
The entire ritual is carried out while facing the river. Oil lamps of all shapes and sizes are lit and rotated in a clockwise manner while the priests and devotees sing musical hymns in honor of the Goddess Ganga. It is believed that the fire of the lamps symbolizes the power of the Goddess. Once the ritual is done, the priests and the devotees raise their palms over the flames and touch their forehead with the palms rotated over the fire as a part of purification and to seek the Mother's blessings from the fire.
The Locations of Ganga Aarti in India
The river Ganges flows freely through three cities of India where the aarti is performed every single evening on the holy banks of the river. These cities are in the Northern region of India in the states of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, namely Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Varanasi.
The Rishikesh Ganga Aarti
Rishikesh, the Yoga capital of the globe, is every traveller's favorite, especially the ones who travel in search of tranquility, spirituality, meditative immersions, and yogic practices. Yoga retreats and yoga TTC in Rishikesh are some of the most vouched programs in the world for aspiring yogis and advanced practitioners. While Rishikesh is known for many things, the evening aarti in Rishikesh is a not-to-miss event. Transport yourself into a world where thousands of oil lamps are lit, musical chants reverberate in the ambiance, and empowering bells are rung throughout the ceremony. This is an evening Ganga aarti in Rishikesh, India.
Where to Experience the Ganga Aarti in Rishikesh, India?
There are many ghats (river banks) in Rishikesh where the aarti takes place. However, there are two ghats that are widely popular for organizing the grandest evening aarti by the banks of the holy Ganges. The Shatrughan Ghat at Ram Jhula is one location. It is comparatively serene and less crowded, ideal for individuals looking for secluded spots to sit in while the aarti takes place. Another famed ghat is the Triveni Ghat which you can reach on foot through the flea market of Rishikesh. It is crowded, but a celebrated ghat. You can go there if you enjoy the crowd and the powerful collective meditative vibe that flows among the devotees while the aarti is being performed.
The Ideal Evening Ganga Aarti Time in Rishikesh
If you are visiting Rishikesh during the winter months, then you will be able to capture the shimmery evening views of the night as the sun sets early in winter here. You will be able to observe the evening aarti between 4:30 pm to 6 pm on a wintery evening. If you are travelling to Rishikesh during the summer season, then the timings would be slightly different. The ceremony is held between 5:30 pm-7 pm. It is recommended that you reach the ghat (river bank) by 5 pm to be a part of the ceremony.
How To Reach Rishikesh, India?
Via Road: If you are traveling via road then it is best to take a flight to Delhi Airport and then hire a car or a bike or an outstation cab from the airport. It is about 270 km from Delhi to Rishikesh and the distance can be covered in 4-5 hours with ease.
Via Rail: You can travel via the railway route and cover the distance while enjoying scenic views of the northern region of India. Trains are easily available and can be pre-booked from one of Delhi's railway stations to the station in Haridwar. From Haridwar, you can catch a Volvo or a local bus or cab towards Rishikesh. It is barely 45 minutes of a journey from Haridwar.
Other Top Things to do in Rishikesh, India
- Visit the Lakshman Jhula and go flea shopping for interesting artifacts, oxidized jewelry, meditation and prayer essentials, and more. Also, capture perspective views of the vibrant suspension bridge while you are there.
- Join a yoga teacher training in Rishikesh and get the opportunity to study yoga from its origin. While you are enrolled in a yoga TTC at Yoga Vidya School, you also get to partake in the Ganga Aarti ceremony as one of the excursions organized by the school.
- Spend time at a yoga retreat in Rishikesh and destress and unwind both mentally and physically.
- Enjoy fantastic vegan and vegetarian delicacies at its many continental cafes in Rishikesh.
- Visit the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Ashram, also known as the Beatles Café where the famous rock band inspired the making of White Album while studying transcendental meditation under the tutelage of the Great Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
- Pamper yourself at a Vedic spa and rekindle your body and mind with a fresh flow of energy and breath.