Ganga Saptami, the day Goddess Ganga was reborn, is being celebrated this year on 18 May. According to Hindu beliefs, when Goddess Ganga first descended to earth after being released from Lord Shiva’s locks, her torrential waters swept the fields of Rishi Jahnu. Angered over this, the great sage gulped all the water of river Ganga to punish the goddess. However, after gods and King Bhagiratha pleaded Rishi Jahnu, the latter released Ganga on Vaishakha Shukla Paksha Saptami, leading to the rebirth of Goddess Ganga.
Since then, the day is celebrated by Hindus to commemorate the Goddess. Hindus, especially in north India, worship Maa Ganga by conducting special puja near the holy river and its tributaries.
Best places to perform Ganga Aarti
Although the congregation of people has been banned in almost all of India due to the ongoing second wave of Covid-19, and the government has advised citizens to celebrate all the festivals at their homes, following are the best places to visit for Ganga Saptmi during non-pandemic time.
The ancient Hindu pilgrimage city holds one of the biggest Ganga Aarti at Har Ki Pauri (bathing steps) where crores of devotees flock every year to perform the puja and take bath in the holy river. Clanging bells, hymns, lights and the serene view of Ganga river make for a delightful experience for visitors. However, this place remains crowded due to its popularity and significance.
Unlike Haridwar, the Ganga Aarti in Rishikesh on Triveni Ghat is relatively a low-key affair. Although the place is well known for its clean river water, the banks at Parmarth Niketan Ashram attracts lesser crowd, and those looking for an intimate and relaxing affair can head there.
After the two cities of Haridwar and Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, its neighbour also hosts a grand Ganga Aarti at Dasaswamedh Ghat near Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi. Unlike both the above mentioned places, the ganga aarti is conducted in a more choreographed manner.