Ganga Aarti is carried out at Har-ki-Pauri Ghat in Haridwar. Har Ki Pauri is one of the most famous places to take holy dip in the river Ganga. Ganga Aarti in actual sense means prayer of River Ganga. Aarti according to Hindu mythology is an ancient Hindu ritual offered to Gods, spiritual leaders, holy things or to the guests. Aarti is a Sanskrit word which means remover of darkness (ignorance). Aarti offered at Har Ki Pauri Ghat is built by King Vikram in 1st century. Bhratuhari who was the brother of King Vikram meditated at Har ki Pauri ghat for Lord Vishnu and Lord Vishnu appeared and gave him his blessings. This way the place named Har Ki Pauri which means Foot Prints of God. This is the same place where drop of nectar fell down and this makes this place a place of prime attraction during Kumbh Mela Festival in Haridwar.
River Ganga is not only a river but is truly a godly Mother. She flows forwards from the Himalayas as the giver of life, carrying bliss, purity and liberation in her waters. Ganga is the nectar – the nectar of liberation, the nectar of life. She is a source of motivation to all who put eyes on her boundless, ceaseless, rushing current. She not only irrigates our farms, but also our minds, hearts and souls. She is the Mother Goddess – freely give to all without any discrimination, expectation or hesitation. One gets purified after drinking and bathing in the river Ganga. Not only is this she is also the remover of contamination
Every evening as the sun’s last rays reflect off the unlimited waters of Mother Ganga, people gather for Ganga Aarti. This heavenly light ceremony is filled with song, ritual, prayer and a palpable sense of the divine. Aarti is the attractive ceremony in which dias (clay made oil lamps) are lighten in river Ganga. Aarti can be done to a deity in the temple, it can be done to a saint or it can be done on the banks of the Ganges to Mother Ganga. It is performed to God, in any form, in any manifestation, and by any name.
The motive behind Ganga aarti is to say “Thank You” to the God who offers us light – the light of the sun, the light of His (Her) blessings and the light of life throughout the day. Through Aarti we give thanks to God and also through lights by the way of diyas we offer back the light of our thanks, the light of our devotion and the light of our love.
Ganga Aarti is performed twice in a day, in the morning at the time of sunrise and in the evening at the time of sunset. Timings for Ganga aarti are not fixed and so there is difference in Ganga aarti timings in summer and winter as the aarti totally depends upon the sunset and sunrise. Ganga aarti performed in the evening is more popular. Ganga Aarti is basically divided into two parts. In the first part offerings are done by chanting in Sanskrit language to get blessings of River Ganga. After a short break of 5 mins second part starts in which offering is done with a hindi son to River Ganga. A big Diya with multiple of wicks soaked in ghee with a holder made up of copper is lighten by the priest during the song. The diya is waved in clock wise direction towards River Ganga.
To enjoy this wonderful Ganga Aarti ceremonies do visit Har Ki Pauri Ghat, Haridwar at 4.30pm (during winter) and 5:30pm in summer in the evening.
Some important points for Ganga Aarti :
- To get a comfortable place to view the ceremony reach little early. Best place to view the ceremony is little island type place called Malviya Dwip. From there you can view the ceremony from front side.
- Some fake people may come to you and ask for donations. You are not supposed to give any donation to anyone. However the place and ceremony is maintained by Ganga Sabha so if you want you can donate them.
- If you do not want to sit on the floor (which is free) there are some wooden platform which is run by local families. They will charge you Rs.25 per person.
- Try to avoid priests if you don’t want to perform any Pooja (prayers) because even for a small prayer they will charge more from you and make you fool.
several years Maa Ganga has been doing the duty of absorbing the heat and negativities of this earth. Gegraphically Haridwar is divided in several small areas such as Mayapur, Jwalapur, Ranipur, Har Ki Pauri, Devpura, Motichur, Bhupatwala, Haipur Kalan, Shivalik Nagar, Haipur Kalan, Brhampuri. Not only this, Haridwar is the place where one of the four places where Kumbh Mela occurs after rotation of every twelve Years and ArdhKumbh after every six years.