Ganga Aarti in Haridwar

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Weather:

Time Required: 1-2 hrs

Timings:

Aarti timings: 5:30 AM - 6:30 and 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Entry Fee:

No entry fee
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Ganga Aarti, Haridwar Overview

Ganga Aarti is a religious prayer that takes place at the bank of the sacred river Ganga at the Har Ki Pauri ghat in Haridwar. Bringing in tourists and devotees from all over the world, it is a ritual of light and sound where the priests perform prayers with bowls of fire and the ringing of the temple bells. Visitors float "diyas" (small candles) and flowers, surrounded by the chanting of the mantras and the reflection of the lights off the surface of the flowing river, which is said to be blessed by the Goddess Ganga.

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The Ganga Aarti at Haridwar takes place twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. The starting of the Aarti depends upon the time of the sunrise and sunset in Haridwar.

In the summer months from March to October, the morning Aarti commences anytime between 5:00 AM and 6:50 AM, while the evening Aarti starts between 5:30 PM and 7:00 PM.

During the winter months, the morning Aarti begins between 6:30 AM and 7:00 AM, and the evening Aarti begins between 5:00 PM and 5:30 PM.

The Ganga Aarti in Haridwar is a magnificent event that attracts around 3,000 to 30,000 tourists every evening. The number of tourists can even touch a lakh during times of important festivals. The evening ritual commences with the bringing of an idol of Ganga from a small temple that is located nearby. The goddess is carried in a decorated 'palkhi' (palanquin) to a platform near the river and is accompanied by the singing and dancing of the pundits as well as devotees. Worshippers then seek the blessing of the idol, following which the ceremony begins.

The pundits chant Sanskrit mantras and offer milk, honey, curd and other such items to the idol. Loudspeakers in the vicinity of River Ganga ensure that the chants can be heard by all devotees, including those who are standing far away. This is then followed by the singing of 'Ganga Lahari', which is a Sanskrit poem that was written by Pundit Jagannath. The pundits then ask the gathered devotees to promise that they would not pollute the sacred holy river, and the people acknowledge by raising their hands and chanting the phrase 'Har Har Gange, Jai Ma Gange'.

What follows next is a short break wherein the workers of the Ganga Sabha collect donations that the people are willing to offer. These donations are used to meet the expenses of the Ganga Aarti, as well as for other religious and social purposes. Finally, the main Aarti begins. The Aarti is just a five-minute song, and the background music of bells enhances the overall experience.

The best time to visit the Ganga Aarti entirely depends on your personal preference. If you like to be a part of a large crowd that is bustling with activity, visit the river in May or June; and to explore a quieter side, visit the river in July and August.

Evening aartis are much more vibrant than the morning ones since the lights from the candles and diyas can be thoroughly enjoyed, and hence are more recommended.

The exact period when the tradition of the Ganga Aarti was started has not yet been ascertained. However, the ritual of the Ganga Aarti at the Har Ki Pauri was started by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya in the 1910s.

According to Hindu traditions and culture, the river Ganga is not a mere river; instead, it is the Divine Mother who gifts life in the form of water. When the fury of sage Kapil reduced the ancestors of Saint Bhagirath to mere ashes, the latter prayed and meditated for a very long time and was ultimately blessed with Ganga by the gods. Lord Shiva had held Ganga to reduce the steady flow of water, and the flowing water then provided liberation or moksha to the ancestors. This same water of the holy river is also believed to remove sins from the devotees who take a dip in the sacred water. The Ganga Aarti is thus a way to thank the River Ganga for all that she offers.

The word 'Har' means Lord Shiva, who is the god of the universe according to Shaivite Rishav Bhagwan's school of Hindu theology. The word 'Ki' means 'of', and 'Pauri' translates to 'steps'.

The area within Har Ki Pauri where the Ganga Aarti is performed is known as the Brahmakund and is considered to be the most sacred place in the entire area. This is because the Brahmakund is thought to be the spot where drops of Amrit or God's Nectar fell from the sky, while the Amrit was being carried by the celestial bird, Garuda at the time when the world came into existence. It is also believed that Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu had visited the Brahmakund in Har Ki Pauri in the Vedic times. On a stone wall at the ghat, there is a large footprint that is said to belong to Lord Vishnu.

1. Be sure to reach the Ghat at least 45 mins before the morning Aarti and 75 minutes before the evening Aarti to grab a seat for yourself and visit the Aarti closely.
2. Since there is a massive rush at the time of the Aarti, be sure to take care of your belongings and valuables. Do not let children go out of your sight.
3. Rickshaws and auto-rickshaws to take you to Har Ki Pauri often quote exorbitant prices, and hence you may have to bargain.
4. Seats near the clock tower and across the Ganga Temple, on the stairs of the ghats (cross the footbridge) are preferable for a good view.

Har Ki Pauri is located on the main highway, in the centre of the city. It can be reached either by bus or train. It is about 3 km away from the Haridwar Railway Station. You can hire an auto rickshaw from ay part of the city.

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Ganga Aarti Reviews

8 months ago by Mayank Shukla

Visiting Haridwar at this time of year is not at all useful. I visited har ki paudi in the month of june and the water in ganga was smelling real bad. The management is also not at all concerned for the cleanliness of the place. However place is good for visit in winter. Maximun time to stay here is 30 minutes.

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