My visit to the holy town of Rishikesh on the banks of Ganga river could not have been considered complete without attending to the ‘Ganga Arti’ held every Sunset at the Parmarth Niketan Ghat, on the shores of the river.
A tall statue of Lord Shiva with a height of 18 feet above the normal level of River Ganga overlooks this Ghat, which we reached after taking a boat ride from the ‘Ram Jhula’ side of Rishikesh.
*’Jhula’ is the Hindi term for a Suspension bridge and ‘Arti’ means Prayers*
The maddening crowd on the Ram Jhula that evening is what petrified us away from using the Jhula to cross to the other side of the River where the Parmarth Niketan Ghat was located.
The boat ride costs Rs.10 one way and Rs.15 both ways per person.
As the ‘Ganga Arti’ was about to begin, the staircase at the Ghats were swamped by saints and priests, and their disciples dressed in saffron robes, the lit-up incense sticks made the atmosphere fragrant, the ‘diyas’ were lit up…the young and the old, men and women and kids, took their spots at the Ghat and slowly, the chants of the Arti and the music being played on instruments like the harmonium and ringing bells, reverberated in the air.
The divine atmosphere we soaked ourselves in that evening is to be felt to be believed.