Parmarth Niketan Ashram to witness the every day evening ceremony of Ganga Aarti Rishikesh.
The aarti is a pleasant ritual of worshipping the Ganga. Roughly 50-100 people visit the aarti on any day. Ganga Aarati in other places like Haridwar and Varanasi too, but they are a crowded noisy ritual with loud screaming speakers, people troubling you to make donations or hawkers trying to sell something very overpriced.
Ganga Aarati in Rishikesh is a contrast to it, held in a small place with a few people and is a comparatively quite affair. You can sit calmly in a corner and witness the ritual or join the crowds singing Bhajans with them.
Ganga Aarti at Parmarth Niketan is organized and performed by ashram residents, particularly the children who are studying the Vedas there. The ceremony commences with the singing of bhajans, prayers, and a purifying and sacred ritual that takes place around a fire, with the offerings made to Agni, the fire god. The lamps are lit and the aarti takes place as the final part of the ceremony. The children sing along with the spiritual head of the ashram, in sweet, haunting voices. A huge statue of Lord Shiva overlooks the proceedings.
Everyone present for the aarti was engaged likewise. Thus, innumerable floating lamps adorned the rapid current of the Ganga. The starry night sky seemed to be a reflection of the river below. The river, reverred as mother, looked dazzling, clad in a sari embroidered in flickering flames of gold. Rishikesh was heaven in divinity’s lap.