Ganga Ghat in Rishikesh
Ghat is a Hindi word that means embankment. It is generally characterized by a flat area followed by a staircase that leads to the holy river. A ghat is meant for taking a dip in the sacred river. Ganga Ghats are spread across all the towns and cities that share the banks of the holy river.
Triveni Ghats in Rishikesh have a special place in the hearts of devotees. Loosely translated, Triveni means merging of three. The name is eponymous with the spot as it is considered the merging point of three sacred rivers - the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mythical Sarswati river. It is believed that by taking a dip in the holy river at the Triveni Ghat, one can wash away all their sins. At sunrise, many devotees walk bare feet to the ghats to take a dip in the river or to feed the fish.
However, what attracts everyone to the ghats – from the wandering tourists, to the spirituality seekers, to the devotees is the Ganga Aarti, held here at dusk, every day.
Earthen and dough lamps floating on riverbanks, sacred hymns reverberating in the ears, large flames in lanterns inspiring awe and reverence, the sun taking the final bow for the day as it descends into the Ganga river – a site that is as invigorating as it is soothing. Spiritually inclined or not, attending the Ganga aarti at Rishikesh is a memory that is etched in the hearts of the onlookers for a lifetime.
A magnificent show of faith, the Ganga aarti is the Hindu ritual where prayers are offered to Goddess Ganga through hymn chanting and fire lit lanterns. As the sun sets, priests start chanting sacred hymns while rotating huge oil lamps burning bright with large flames. The devotees can be seen putting earthen lamps wrapped in leaves in the holy river. Mirroring the night sky littered with sparkling stars, the entire bank is lit up with earthen lamps, where somewhere in the background music can be heard playing as the priests and devotees sing Sanskrit hymns in praise of their dear Goddess, in a mellifluous chorus.
The Ganga aarti can be witnessed at the Triveni Ghats and at Parmarth Niketan Ashram every day at dusk.
Everyone is welcome to attend the aarti. However, visitors are expected to respect the sanctity of the ritual and the place. At the Triveni ghats, local priests conduct the aarti. The aarti at Parmarth Niketan is slightly different as ashram residents, especially children who come there to learn the vedas, conduct it. A havan and hymn singing precede the aarti. Visitors looking to experience the aarti should arrive at the chosen venue an hour before dusk to book a spot from where they can witness the spectacular ritual with ease.
A surreal experience, the Ganga aarti evokes different emotions in different people. And irrespective of the visitors’ background and knowledge, its power is universal.
There are a number of temples at the Triveni Ghats and visitors can spend the time exploring these temples after the aarti. Most prominent temples include the Laxmi Narayan Temple and the Gita Mandir.
The market at the ghats, with precious and semi-precious gemstones, clothes, knick-knacks, and paraphernalia for offering prayers, attracts the passersby.
Triveni Ghats offer a mélange of vibrant rituals, sanctity, and commerce
Ganga Ghats are spread across all the towns and cities that share the banks of the holy river.
Yoga ashrams are places of yoga sanctity. Almost all ashrams in and around Rishikesh.
Rishikesh is a ‘must visit’ place on every rafters map, and rightly so. Plunging from the Himalayan
The Hindu saint, Adi Shankaracharya, built many temples in Rishikesh.
Spring season is ideal for exploring the locales, and are perfect for adventures activities.
Lakshman Jhula, a 450 ft long hanging bridge across the river Ganga at a height of 70 ft.
The best way to reach Rishikesh is to first reach the national capital – New Delhi.
Rishikesh offers a wide range of accommodation options for typical hitchhikers.
Rishikesh is the center from where all excursions – spiritual or adventurous - begin.