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Varanasi Ganga Aarti

India is a mystical land. It has a lot of places to explore and it can be called as a traveller’s delight. One of the amazing part about this country is that you can travel from one town to another and find people with different cultural beliefs. There are various rituals in India and one of the strong and intense rituals is that of the Ganga Aarti.

Every evening Ganga Aarti is carried out in three holy cities of India. They are Haridwar, Rishikesh and Varanasi. All three of them have different vibes and energies. It is said that you should be a part of all the three aartis once in a lifetime.

Overview of the Ganga Aarti

Varanasi Ganga Aarti The aarti is always carried out facing the River Ganga. A lot of lamps are lit during the aarti. They are usually circled out by priests. It is always done clockwise. The aarti is always accompanied by different songs sung while praising the Ganga. It is believed that the lamps acquire the power of the deity.

After the aarti, devotees are supposed to cup their hands on the lamps over the flames and touch their foreheads. This is done in order to receive gratification and purification from the Goddess Ganga.

A group of young saints dressed up with silky saffron and white robes conduct this ceremony. Each pandit or saint takes up a specific spot in the Ghat and start the ritual by offering flowers to the river. The ritual includes many oil lamps like snake hood lamp which are waved in a synced motion.

Conch shells are blown during the ceremony too. Yak tail fans and peacock feather fans are also waved during the ceremony. The priests end the ceremony by pouring a bowl of water into the river. Upon which, the devotees let go of small oil lamps with flowers on a leaf to float on the river.

"Thousands of devotees gather to watch this Aarti and by the end of the Ganga aarti ceremony, you can find thousands of small oil lamps floating on the river that would look like numerous stars on the water".

How to Attend the Varanasi Ganga Aarti?

Varanasi Ganga Aarti You obviously need to be in Varanasi for starters. However, people arrive really early so that they get a good place to witness the aarti. Every day thousands of tourists visit the place. Even locals attend the aarti regularly.

Hence, it is a good idea to reach the ghats by 5 pm. You can secure a spot in the front. Since there is a lot of crowd, you might not be able to see things from the back.

A good way of witnessing the whole ritual is by being in a boat. However, you need to book a boat ride in advance. Apart from that, a lot of shops and house owner rent their balconies to tourists for viewing the aarti. You can ask the locals for that as well. In that way, you can peacefully see the whole aarti.

Also, there will be lesser crowd in the balconies as compared to the ghats. You will get a taste of the local culture while interacting with the locals. If you want to see a Maha Aarti, then you will have to visit Varanasi at the end of each year near Kartik Purnima.

An early morning sunrise aarti also takes place in Varanasi. Even that is beautiful. It is organised by Subah-e-Banaras. You can visit that one as well, if you are a morning person.

How Ganga Aarti is performed in Varanasi?

Varanasi Ganga Aarti A lot of preparations have to be done before starting for the Ganga Aarti. The priests who are performing the aarti are supposed to wear a dhoti and kurta. The kurta should have a gamcha as well. Gamcha is more like a towel.

They gather five elevated planks with a layered brass lamp. There is also an idol of Ganga devi with incense sticks, flowers and conch shell. There are other pooja items as well.

Only learned Pandits can perform the aarti. They should have knowledge of the holy Hindu books like Upanishads and Vedas. The teams of priests is headed by the main priest who is the leader of Gangotri Seva Samiti.

The Aarti is a tray with lamps lit with an oil and small burning flame. The Ganga Aarti has exceptionally large lamps held and performed by the Hindu priests called pundits.

They encircle ritual place in clockwise way facing the River Ganga and offer the devotional thanks in that way. They are dressed in special attire like silks, exquisite materials, etc., and chant slogas or sing bhajans in the background. This is done as an offering of thanks to Maa Ganga.

It is believed by doing this they will also get the divine power of the water of Ganga. Then, the devotees take the smoke from the burning lamps and take it near their head as a mark of respect and to get blessed and purified by the Goddess

The aarti is a complete organised activity. It starts by lightning up the multi-tiered brass lamps.

Also, a well synchronised chanting of mantras begin when the lighting starts. Some of the priests also blow the conch shells. It is an indication that the aarti is about to begin. Also, the shells are known to sanctify the atmosphere. The other remaining priests light the incense sticks and offer it to the goddess in a clockwise circle.

The aarti has some preliminary mantras. Once they are recited, camphor is added to the brass lamps. Then, they perform the aarti with that. This aarti will surely give you goose bumps. You will feel the energy floating around you. You will be bestowed with peace and tranquillity. It is surely a very spiritual feeling. The mantras do have certain vibrations and you will be able to feel all of them.

After the camphor aarti is done, you will feel purity in the air as well. It is a different experience and it cannot be written or described. It can only be felt at the Varanasi Ganga Aarti.

What to see during Ganga Aarti Ceremony in Varanasi?

Ganga Aarti Ceremony

The Ganga Aarti Ceremony held every evening at the Dasashwamedh Ghat at Varanasi is one of the most spectacular religious or devotional rituals carried out in the world. It takes place in a choreographed way as priests stand clockwise in front of the River Ganges to offer the Aarti. The religious ceremony is held close to one of the most famous temples for pilgrims in India, Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

The whole aarti is a visual treat. Seeing a group of pandits in saffron robes in beautiful. The colours in a frame are worth a watch. There is the water, the deity, the saffron robes, golden brass lamps and people. A lot of incense sticks are lit and the canvas of the evening surely seems brighter.

Watch the synchronised action of the oil lamps. It has a huge fire and those lamps are really heavy. Although, the pandits are trained to hold them. The uniformity of the movement will surely leave you baffled and speechless at the same time.

Peacock feathers and yak tail fans are also waved in a synchronised manner during the aarti. After the ceremony ends, people lit small lamps and leave it in the river with flowers as offerings to Ganga. You might want to stay till the end and experience that as well. The river looks beautiful with lamps lit up.

It is a grand extravaganza as pundits of all age groups draped in silk type material robes in saffron and other shades offer an Aarti with huge golden looking brass lamps to Maa Ganga. It is said that these lamps are also around 2 kilograms. They are lit with small fires and they hold it in front of the river.

The other rituals include the ‘blow of the conch shell’ that loads your senses and the aroma from the smoke of burning incense sticks. They are also laid and waved in big patterns followed by the circular movements of the large burning lamps.

It is also done in a rhythmic manner as the chantings happen and bells sound in the background. It is one of the best visual treats with display of total devotion to Maa Ganga in grandiose.

When Ganga aarti is performed in Varanasi?

The Ganga aarti happens throughout the year every day. However, if you want to witness the grand celebrations, then you must visit during the Kartik Purnima. It starts from October and ends in November. It takes place at sunset every day.

Where Ganga aarti does takes place in Varanasi?

The aarti is carried out at the holy Dasaswamedhghat. It is near the famous Kashivishwanath temple in Varanasi. You will be able to find the way to the ghat easily as all the locals know the location of the aarti.

What is the Ganga Aarti Timing in Varanasi ?

Rain or shine, the ceremony is conducted on every evening during sunset :

Season Start time End time duration
Summer 7 pm 7:45 pm 45 minutes
Winter 6 pm 6:45 pm 45 minutes

The Ganga Aarti starts exactly at the sunset time. The starting time of the ceremony changes with sunset time. If you want to enjoy the ceremony from a good spot, you ought to reach the ghats by 5 in the evening.

What is the Cost / Entry Fee for Ganga Aarti in Varanasi

No entrance fee for watching the ceremony. People are welcomed to give any donation if desired. If you are planning to watch the ceremony from the river, you need to hire a boat. Boat Ride will be costly during this ceremony.

The Varanasi Ganga aarti is beautiful. It is different from the one carried out in Haridwar and Rishikesh. The aarti is highly choreographed in Varanasi and is carried out with much pomp and show. You must visit the aarti, if in Varanasi.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ganga Aarti in Varanasi

Q. What is the history behind Ganga Aarti?

A. In ancient mythology it is believed that the Daughter of Heaven descended to earth to do good. In order to wash away the sins of the ancestors of King Bhagirath, the Goddess became a river of flowing water. The River Ganges is considered divine and sacred and many crowds go there to take a holy dip. So, in order to thank and repay the Goddess or Maa Ganga, everyday at sunrise and sunset, an extravagant religious ritual is carried out by the banks by specialized priests called Ganga Aarti Ceremony.

Q. Where does Ganga Aarti happen in Varanasi?

A. The Ganga Aarti ceremony that takes place at Varanasi and the colorful and grand ritual is performed at Dasaswamedh Ghat. It is situated to a famous temple called Kasi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

Q. What is Ganga Aarti in Varanasi?

A. The Ganga Aarti is a devotional ceremony that takes place every evening with puja, pujaris, bhajans, and it attracts many crowds that includes foreign tourists, visitors and pilgrims or devotees from around the country. This takes place at the banks of the sacred river Ganges.

Q. Which Ghat is famous in Varanasi?

A. The Dasashwamedh Ghat is one of the oldest and most famous Ghats in Varanasi. It is believed that Lord Brahma created this for Lord Shiva. This is a very attractive Ghat where many thousands of devotees and visitors gather to view the evening ceremony called Ganga Aarti at sunset.

Q. Why is Assi Ghat famous?

A. This Ghat in Varanasi is situated at the confluence of River Ganga and River Assi. This is situated at the southern most of 84 Ghats. The huge Shiva Lingam is situated near this Ghat under a peapal tree. This is where pilgrims take holy dip and also pay respect to even another Lingam Asisangameshwar Lingam enclosed in a marble shrine situated close to Assi Ghat in Varanasi.

Q. What attractions are near Ganga Aarti in Varanasi?

A. Varanasi is a serene place and is famous for the Ganga Aarti ceremony at Dasashwamedh Ghat, boat ride by the River Ganga, morning and evening rituals, holy dips by devotees, and also many Ghats where the last rites of departed souls are performed.

Many visitors come here to view these processions and ceremonies especially during festival periods where they hold celebrations and rituals in full grandiose. There are also several temples around Varanasi, and also forts, museums, and other attractions too.

Q. When Ganga Aarti is performed in Varanasi?

A. Everyday around 6.30 pm after or during sunset an attractive choreographed Ganga Aarti ceremony takes place at Varanasi that lasts roughly 45 minutes. It is considered as one of the most famous and celebrated religious ceremonies in the whole of India.

A big announcement is done prior to the commencement of the ritual to inform visitors and devotees about the devotional ritual. Sometimes, timings may differ by 30 minutes or so in different seasons such as winter.

Q. How to Attend the Varanasi Ganga Aarti?

A. If you would like to view the attractive Ganga Aarti ceremony in Varanasi then you have to arrive before sunset at least on hour before. There is also an exciting way to watch the everyday ritual take place.

Take a boat ride at sunset and and watch it at sunset. The best time to watch the special ceremony is during Kartik Purnima for unforgettable experience.

Q. What is the timing of Ganga Aarti in Varanasi?

A. Every evening at sunset the colorful ceremony takes place between 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm. However, in winters it starts around 30 minutes earlier that is around 5 pm in the evening. It takes approximately 45 minutes. There is also an announcement made prior to the start of this religious ceremony about it.

Q. What are the best attractions to visit in Varanasi?

A. There are many top attractions to visit in Varanasi including the Dasashwamedh Ghat famous for the Aarti Ceremony. In addition there are many tourist attractions to visit in Varanasi. They are:

  • Benaras Hindu University founded in 1917 by Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya.
  • Kashi Vishwanath temple one of the most ancient and famous temples in Kasi.
  • New Vishwanath Temple or Birla Temple popularly known as Golden Temple on BHU campus.
  • Statue of Standing Buddha is one of the latest attractions situated roughly 800 meters from Sarnath.
  • Archaeological Museum in Sarnath holds ancient relics unearthed in and around Sarnath.
  • Benaras Vidhya Mandir Museum also called Ramnagar Museum situated within the Ramnagar Fort. It holds collection of personal items used by Varanasi’s Royal Family and artifacts of medieval period.
  • Tulsi Manas Temple is a shrine dating back to 1964 dedicated to Lord Rama and has marble carvings. It is named after great saint Tulasi Das, a sixteenth century poet.
  • Ghats of Varanasi: There are many other Ghats famous with crowds such as: Assi Ghat, Kedar Ghat, Tulsi Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat and few more.
  • Shopping at Gadauliya Market. It is situated in center of Old Varanasi and is a very crowded place. Taste chat at Dina Chat and purchase some great silk sarees made from Baneras Silk found here.
  • There are many more Ghats of Varanasi and also other top attractions in Varanasi such as Lal Khan Tomb and also a prominent landmark called Diesel Locomotive works.

Q. Why Ganga Aarti in Varansi is so famous?

A. This is one of the best Ganga Aarti ceremonies that takes place in India. Even though the devotionally ceremony also takes place at two other places where the river flows – Haridwar and Rishikesh, the daily evening ceremony at Varanasi attracts lots of crowds including photographers, visitors, foreign tourists, and devotees.

It takes places colorfully and illumines the whole area colorfully. The lamps are lit by pujaris who face the river and chant while performing this Aarti with fire and oil in lamps that are also sometimes 2 kgs in weight. The water of the river is decorated as smaller burning diyas are left to float and flowers also float on the river.

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