Mesmerizing, enchanting, lingering experience…
…Visit once for the entire soulful experience!
As goes the name – Haridwar, it is indeed Hari ka dwaar where you enter to meet the divinity in its full glory. So much so that even Haridwar station is made in the shape of a temple. Quite excited to be in Haridwar, we reached there on the afternoon of April 29, 2015 from Dehradun, to be welcomed by courteous staff of Hotel Chitra Heritage, located close to station. After having lunch in the hotel room and a quick nap and a quicker shower we got ready for the evening Aarti at Har-ki-Pauri. My husband Mukund and daughter Tanya, having absolutely no clue how Har-ki-Pauri looked like, they were quite fascinated to catch the first glimpse of green and clean Ganga from the bridge. Ghat surrounded by small – time sellers selling diyas, flowers, garlands, toys, Ganga Jal Cans, Bangles, Sindoor what not delighted Tanya even more. She wanted to check stuff with every seller and found everything quite cheap.
Moreover, the song playing in the backdrop – Ganga Maiyya mein jab tak ke paani rahe, mere sajna teri zindgani rahe…added to the aura of Gangaji. After faced paced, highly commercialized life of Mumbai, religious Haridwar was quite a change. With temples all around us, we were in for a religious sojourn. My daughter a true-blue Mumbaikar, young & modern teenager was too delighted to be there, to my utter surprise. Gangaji at Har-ki-Pauri is quite clean but could have been cleaner. I think people are lending ears to Modiji’s Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan…
Enjoy the Photo-Essay:
We moved towards Clock Tower which is closer to Ghat where Aarti was to be performed. When we reached around 6:15 PM it was moderately crowded but as 15-20 minutes passed, huge crowds gathered on the Malviya ghat. We were seated on the opposite side of temple where Aarti was to be performed. We had a clear view of the temple ghat and were quite happy about it. Aarti started at sharp 7 PM, and what an experience it turned out to be! Absolutely divine. Lanterns flowing in Gangaji and several Pandits performing Aarti with life size diyas, it was a sight to remember. I am still finding it difficult to get over it…just mesmerizing! I felt one with divinity – the Supreme power, huge crowds totally immersed in Aarti!
Now a little backdrop of the Aarti – Each evening as the sun’s last rays reflect off the boundless waters of Mother Ganga, people gather for Ganga Aarti at Har-Ki-Pauri. This divine light ceremony is filled with song, prayer, ritual and a palpable sense of the divine. Aarti is the beautiful ceremony in which diyas (oil lamps) are offered to God. Aarti is being done to the deity in the Gangaji temple, and simultaneously on the banks of the Ganges to Mother Ganga.
Ganga Aarti Hardwar is performed at Har-ki-Pauri Ghat. Har Ki Pauri is one of the most famous place to take holy dip in the river Ganga. Ganga Aarti means prayer for the River Ganga. Aarti is an ancient Hindu ritual offered to Gods, holy things, spiritual leaders or to the guests. Aarti word is from the Sanskrit language which means remover of darkness (ignorance). Aarti is performed at the Har Ki Pauri Ghat which is built in 1st century by King Vikram. Bhratuhari was brother of King Vikram who meditated here for Lord Vishnu and Lord Vishnu appeared here to give him blessing. That is why the place named Har Ki Pauri (Foot Prints of God). This is also the same place where drop of nector fell down and that is why it is also prime attraction in Kumbh Mela Festival in Haridwar.
Ganga is not only a river. She is truly a Divine Mother. She rushes forth from the Himalayas as the giver of life, carrying purity, bliss and liberation in Her waters. Ganga is not only water. She is nectar – the nectar of life, the nectar of liberation. She is a source of inspiration to all who lay eyes on her ceaseless, boundless, rushing current. She irrigates not only our farms, but also our hearts, minds and souls. She is the Mother Goddess – giving freely to all with no discrimination, hesitation or expectation. Her waters purify all who bathe in them, all who drink from them. In fact, She is the remover of contamination.
The essence of the aarti ceremony is that all day long God offers us light – the light of the sun, the light of life, and the light of His (Her) blessings. Aarti is a time when we say, “Thank You,” and we offer back the light of our thanks, the light of our love and the light of our devotion.
Aarti in full splendour:
Ganga Aarti is organized twice a day every evening – Morning at sunrise and evening at sunset. Timing is different in summer and winter according to sunset and sunrise timings. Evening Ganga Aarti is more famous. Ganga Aarti has two parts. First part is offering to the river ganga to get blessing. Offerings are done with backgrounds of live chants in Sanskrit language. After short break of 5 mins after offering the second part starts which is Hindi Song for River Ganga. The preist also light the Big Diyas (Multile wicks are soaked in Ghee and the holder is made from copper) during this song. These diyas are waved in clock wise direction towards River Ganga.
We were really lucky that inspite of being late, everything fell into place for us, we got the right place to view so that we could view the Aarti in its full glory and splendor. Luckily the place was not that crowded too. After Aarti, we performed deep daan in Gangaji for our ancestors.
But yes, there are few lessons to be taken like you should reach little early to get the complete view of the ceremony. Avoid giving donations to the so called volunteers, instead you should give donations to Ganga Sabha so that it is utilized for the right purpose.
What is life without few learnings every now and then…