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The Magnificence of Ganga aarti of Dashashwamedh Ghat

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A visual treat – Ganga aarti of Dashashwamedh Ghat

The Ganga river has very sacred place in heart of every Indian. Not only a river but The Ganga is the lifeline of culture of this mystical land called India. The Ganga river bank itself is home has many places to explore and it is a traveller’s delight. It has myriad destinations replete with a variety of captivating cultural rituals. The Ganga river is seen as Motherly figure of Divine energy and is widely accepted as a Goddess in Hindu tradition. So much so that people feel blessed to have ‘Ganga darshan’.

The Ganga river-A Goddess is worshipped by a holy ritual called Aarti/Aarati. Ganga Aarti is performed many places along the banks of Ganga. Ganga aarti is most famous of three holy places namely 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.

The Aarti of Dashashwamedh ghat of Varanasi is very famous and consistently grown in stature over the years. This is in a must do list of almost all tourists and Hindu pilgrims who visit Varanasi.

Place, Time, Nature of event : Ganga Aarti

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.

Address: Dashashwamedh ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat Road, Ghats of varanasi, Near Godowlia,
City: Varanasi
State: Uttar Pradesh
Country: India
Pin code:221001

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 which falls in October-November. It takes place at sunset every day.

What is the Ganga Aarti Timing in Varanasi ?

Rain or shine, the ceremony is conducted on every evening during sunset :The approximate start and end time of the Arati according to seasons are as per given table.

SeasonStart timeEnd timeduration
Summer7 pm7:45 pm45 minutes
Winter6 pm6:45 pm45 minutes

Please note that The Ganga Aarti starts exactly at the sunset time, hence the given start time as per the table above may vary a little depending at the sunset time of that day. 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. Its free for all public. If you still wish to contribute you may use one of the donation boxes kept on the Ghat.

Nature of Event: Religious and open for all, Non participating

Ganga Aarti is a religious event although with much pomp and show it is a spectacle to watch. Though you can not directly perform the Arti with the priests you may feel the vibrations of the divine energy at the place during the Aarti.

At the end of the event the Aarti flames are offered to everyone you may cup your palms over the flame to absorb the warmth and smear over you face and eyes to receive the blessings.

It is believed thatw hile taking Arati you should drop some money, preferably coins, into the Arati plate eve if it 1 Rs coin then also it is ok. As it is a token for the Deity/priests performing the Arati.

Huge crowd during Ganga Arati at Dashashwamedh Ghat
What to expect:

A chance to view the beautiful ritual of Ganga Aarti wherein Hindu priests are showing fire lit lamps in a respectful rhythmic manner to Mother Ganga as an offering , singing holy mantras and prayers to her.

Significance for visitor/attendees:

A beautiful once in lifetime experience to be a part of this magnificent event and blessings of Holy Ganga river goddess to attendees.

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.

How Dashawamedh Ghat Ganga Aarti different from other places

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.

How Ganga Aarti is performed in Varanasi? Overview

The Aarti is carried out in clockwise direction. The flames are moved in somewhat semi circular direction are repeated in to and fro fashion. Vedic chants and Sanskrit mantras are chanted to propitiate holy Ganga Goddess. The flames carry divine energy and both people performing the Aarti and watching it are blessed. The aarti is done in order to receive gratification and purification from the Goddess Ganga.

In Dashashwamedh Ghat Ganga aarti Multiple flames are lit on a single arati vessel. The Aarti is a tray with lamps lit with an oil and small burning flame. The Ganga Aarti has exceptionally large lamps. This vessel carries tiny cups like structures for carrying multiple flames , Vessel is mix of brass & copper. Still it is said that its weighs around 2 kgs. The aarti vessel has ritual includes many oil lamps like snake hood lamp which are waved in a synced motion.

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.

A group of young priests dressed up in auspicious silky saffron, yellow, pink or white robes conduct this ceremony. The priests called Pundits who are performing the aarti are supposed to wear a dhoti and kurta and ‘gamcha’. Gamcha is something similar to a stole for men. Each priest/pandit takes up a specific spot in the Ghat and start the ritual by offering flowers to the Ganga river.

Pandits performing the Ganga aarti are learned and well versed with vedic scriptures. The team of priests is headed by the main priest who is the leader of Gangotri Seva Samiti. Gangotri Seva Samiti is responsible for organisation of the whole Ganga Aarti event.

Ganga Maata Murti Dashashwamedh ghat

An idol of Goddess Ganga devi is also placed and is worshipped with incense sticks, flowers .

Bells & mini-Gongs are rung, conch shells are blown during the Aarti too. Yak tail fans and peacock feather fans are also waved during the ceremony.

A synchronised chanting of mantras begin when the lighting starts. Some pandits also blow the conch shells as an indication start of aarti. Sound of conch is considered sacred and is known to sanctify the atmosphere(Reminds me of effect of sound in chapter of Acoustics in Physics class). Then pundits light the incense sticks and offer it to the Ganga river Goddess in a clockwise direction.

The aarti has some preliminary mantras. Once they are recited, camphor is added to the brass lamp and aarti is performed . The mixed sweet aroma of camphor, incense, flowers create and ecstatic atmosphere which will surely give you goose bumps. The powerful yet synergised chants of Sanskrit mantras and vastness of Ganga river in background tempt you to look into the another dimension of divine energy.

You will feel the energy floating around you. You will be bestowed with peace and tranquillity. This could be very surreal spiritual feeling for some.

Pandits end the aarti ceremony by pouring a bowl of water into Ganga river. This is the time when the devotees float small earthen lamps on leaves into holy river. These small lamps are called ‘Deep’ in Hindi. The acts of floating ‘Deeps’ is called ‘Deepdaan’. This is very holy act and is supposed give great spiritual merit.

After the aarti, the flames are rotated among devotees. Devotees are supposed to cup their hands briefly on the flames to absorb divine energy and touch their foreheads.

Thousands of floating lamps in vast span of the Ganga river bring forth a mesmerising effect on onlookers. Seems like reflection of stars in sky in the sacred Ganga river below.

Ganga Arati at Dashashwamedh Ghat
Ganga Arati at Dashashwamedh Ghat

How to Attend the Varanasi Ganga Aarti?

To attend Gaga Aarti you need to reach Dashaswamedh Ghat well before Aarti time, to secure a good place for viewing the Aarti. Every day hundreds of people reach to witness the Arati even the locals attend the Aarti. Few of them a regular visitor to the event.

Hence if you reach by 5pm then you can secure the spot in front row. As there are thousand of people present if you are not in front you may not be able to see things from behind of so much crowd.

Also some shops and some nearby house owners also rent out their balconies to tourist for a small fee for viewing the Aarti. If you reach Ghat in time you might talk one of them to allocate a place for you. Locals are helpful and will direct you to right place. Balconies may have a little lesser crowd than Ghat especially on big occasion events.

Another good way of viewing the Ganga Aarti is by boat. You may share the ride with other or can hire a boat entirely. Couple or years back the boat fee used to be around Rs 50(Less than a $) for entire Aarti session.

Apart from big festivals like MahaShivratri, There is event of MahaArati which happens during Kartik Purnima. It fall around October-November now a days.

An early morning sunrise aarti also takes place in Varanasi. This is another beautiful event and has a brand of its own.Event is called Subah-e-Banaras. You can visit that one as well, if you are a morning person.

Young Pandits performing Aarti-Photo courtesy Pallavi Ramani
Best time to visit

Though the Ganga Aarti happens throughout the year, the ‘Ganga Maha Aarti’ ceremony is conducted in a grand manner on Kartik Purnima, which falls in between October to November.

How to reach?

No transportation is available to reach the Ghat. It has to be reached on foot. If you are staying far away, you can avail bus services till Varanasi Cant Main Bus Stand. From the bus stand, the Ghat is about five km away. From the bus stand, you can hire an auto to Godaulia. Beyond Godaulia, there is no transportation service. It is just 800 m away from the Ghat. Everyone has to walk this distance through a crowded market.

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