Festivals of Varanasi

Land of Varanasi is famous for its long list of festivals. Many pilgrims visit the place to enjoy various festivals of the land.

Makar Sankranti

Makar Sankranti Varanasi
  • Date : 14th of January
  • Religion : Hindu
  • Duration : one day

This festival is celebrated throughout the country with different names as Pongal, Lohri and others. This is a festival of kites. People fly kites and the sky will be filled with colorful flying paper. This is the best time for photography here. Top delicacies to enjoy during this festival are badampatti, tilkut, dahichuda, khichadi and others.

Activities : Kite flying, rituals, tasting delicacies and others.

Mahashivratri :

Mahashivratri Varanasi

The airport receives flights from domestic destinations like Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho, Mumbai, Bangalore, Goa, Gaya, Kolkata, Hyderabad and others. Top international destinations served are Colombo, Sharjah, Bangkok and others. The international flights are seasonal and it is better to get the schedule from related airline.

  • Date : February or March (Based on lunar calendar)
  • Religion : Hindu
  • Duration : one day

This is an important festival for those who worship Lord Shiva. According to mythology, Lord Shiva drank the most deadly poison to save the world. There are many other stories for the origin of this festival. People fast and stay awake throughout the night. Many rituals and delicacies are famous during this festival. According to literature, this festival has been a part of Hindu religion even before 5 AD.

Dance performance of a rigorous dance form can be found during this festival. Annual dance performance and competitions are conducted in many temples. Fairs are common during this period.

Activities : Yoga, fasting, all-night ritual, delicacies, dance and others

Shravan Maah

  • Date : July and August (Lunar calendar)
  • Religion : Hindu
  • Duration : Four Mondays of the Hindu month, Saavan

Saavan or Sravana is a Hindu month that starts in the middle of July and end by middle of August. This is called as Avani in Tamil. This festival is linked with welcoming rainfall. People fast on every Monday / Tuesday and worship Lord Parvati (Tuesday) or Lord Shiva (Monday). People offer milk to Lord Shiva, wear rudraksha, chant and fast during this festival.
Activities : rituals, bathing in the river and fair

Dev Diwali or Karthikai Deepam

Mahashivratri Varanasi
  • Date : 15th day from Diwali (Based on lunar calendar)
  • Religion : Hindu
  • Duration : one day

On the 15th day after Diwali, people celebrate this festival by lighting hundreds of small earthen oil lamps around their house. The Ghats in the river will be decorated with the lamps and people float the lamps on the river. A good festival for photography. Firecrackers are burnt throughout the night, procession of deities from numerous temples can be seen on the road and many other activities are common during this festival.
Activities : Rangoli decorations, oil lamp lighting, firecrackers, rituals and processions


  • Date : 4th day from Diwali (Based on lunar calendar)
  • Religion : Hindu
  • Duration : one day

In the mythology of Lord Krishna, he lifted a hill to protect his village from the angry rainfall of Lord Indra. People celebrate this festival by making delicacies with gram flour, rice and vegetables. People who worship Lord Vishnu celebrate this festival.

Activities : Rituals and delicacies

Rangbhari Ekadashi

  • Date : February or March
  • Religion : Hindu
  • Duration : one day

This is an important festival in Kashi Vishwanath Temple. This marks the beginning of Holi celebration in India. Rangbhari or Amalakii is the child of Lord Brahma who can wash all the sins. Lord Ram worshiped Amalakii to wash off his sins after the epic war.
Activities : rituals


Mahashivratri Varanasi
  • Date : March (Exact date changes based on lunar calendar date)
  • Religion : Hindu
  • Duration : one day

This is the most colorful festival in India. People throw color powders and water on each other to celebrate. Many exclusively wear white dress to enjoy this festival. This festival marks the victory of good over evil. You can find dance performances, color play and other activities during this festival. Early morning rituals are common in temples.
Activities : pouring color water on each other and rituals


  • Date : November
  • Religion : Hindu
  • Duration : one day

Diwali marks Lord Ram’s win over Ravan. People celebrate this festival with fireworks. It would be heavenly to watch the sky at night. Many rituals can be seen in the temple and near the ghats. The houses will be lit with oil lamps.
Activities : rituals and bursting crackers

Buddha Mahotsav

  • Date : April or May
  • Religion : Buddhism
  • Duration : one day

Lord Buddha was born on a full moon day of Vaisakh month (Lunar calendar). Every year, on his birthday, grand celebration will be conducted in Sarnath, near Varanasi. A fair will be conducted and the remnants of Lord Buddha will be displayed to public. Sermons will be conducted and the place will be decorated with earthen lamps.
Activities – Rituals, fairs and others

Ram leela

  • Date : 10 days in prior to Dussehra
  • Religion : Hindu
  • Duration : 10 days

Ram Leela marks the battle between Ram and Ravan that took place for ten days. On the tenth day, it is celebrated as Dusshera. For the ten days, many carnivals, shows, stage performance, puppet shows and other attractions will take place. Special rituals will be conducted in the temples.
Activities – fair, carnivals, shows, dance performances and others.

Ganga Dussehra

Mahashivratri Varanasi
  • Date : June or July
  • Religion : Hindu
  • Duration : one day

This is a festival for River Ganges. People consider River Ganges as a goddess who provide fertility, prosperity and a source of agriculture. This day denotes the descend of the river from the heaven. During this day, it is believed that bathing in the river can wash off ten deadly sin from a human. People float lamps in the river just like Ganga Aarti.
Activities : bathing in the river, floating oil lamps and others.

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