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Ganga Aarti is prayer for the River Ganga. River Ganga is considered holy river in Hindu religion. Since ancient time there are many ways people have paid their respect to the holy river. In the hindu religion river Ganga is goddess came to earth for the liberation of ancestors of King Bhagirath. At the source river is called Bhagirathi in the name of the King. It came from Kamandal (kind of jug) of Brahma. Shiva captured her in long hairs to slow her speed to avoid damage. Hindu people from all over the world comes to Ganga to take holy dip in the Ganga. By taking dip they believe all the sins will be washed away. People also put ashes and bones of their ancestors and relatives after cremation. By offering ashes and bones people believe that their ancestors/relatives will get Moksha (liberation from cycle of birth and rebirth of the soul).
Every evening at hundreds of places people do Ganga Aarti as the river is 2500 kms long and people pay same respect everywhere. Ganga Aarti at Haridwar (Har Ki Pauri) and Varanasi (Dashaswamegh Ghat) are very famous. In Rishikesh also many ashrams and temples organize Ganga Aarti on the bank of the river Ganga every evening.
There is two Ganga Aarti one at Triveni Ghat and one at Parmarth Niketan is popular in Rishikesh. Triveni Ghat Ganga Aarti is organized by Ganga Sabha Samiti (NGO) while Parmarth Niketan Ganga Aarti is organized by Parmarth Niketan Ashram. It is hard to tell when it started at both places but in last 20 years it became more popular. At both places Ganga Aarti is very similar. It will start with chanting mantras in Sanskrit dedicated to gods and goddesses like Shiva, Ganesha, Krishna, Vishnu, Hanuman etc. After the singing prayers for different gods at the end they will sing prayer for River Ganga with Diya (lights from cotton thread & oil in copper lamps) circling in front of river ganga. At Parmarth they have Yagna also at the time first singing part. In Yagna there is small fire in pit (Kund) and people will offer things to fire to get blessings like small chopped woods, leaves, grass, grain, water, honey, curd, ghee etc. Yagna is also common in all major hindu rituals like marriage.
Ganga Aarti Locations : Parmarth Niketan, Triveni Ghat, Shatrudhna Ghat (Near Boat station of Ram Jhula), Lakshman Jhula, Sathya Sai Ghat, Sivanada Ashram Ghat, Dayananda Ashram and many more places at small level. At other places apart from first 3 ceremony is shorter.
Ganga Aarti Timings : The below times are approx sunset time in Rishikesh. If you want to attend the Ganga Aarti reach the Ganga Aarti place at least 1 hour before the below time.