Ganga Aarti - An enchanting experience!
Updated: Aug 23, 2019
Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India; it’s one of the oldest cities in the country dating back to 11th century B.C. It is also famously known as Banaras and Kashi and has been documented in several feature films in Bollywood and documentaries from around the world.
Even though I was on very short trip there, it still holds a special place in my heart. A city so peaceful amongst the surrounding chaos, which is something you can only experience when you are present there.
So, this trip happened when I wanted to check off Ganga Aarti from my bucket list as it’s something which one needs to witness first hand in a lifetime. My mom always helped me in travelling and surprised me one day with plane tickets to Banaras. I was elated. We reached there after a short flight from New Delhi.
There are around 2000 temples and 88 ghats; Kashi Vishwanath Temple being the most prominent temple in the city. There are so many legends, stories and beliefs related to each temple and ghat, that you'll be captivated and spellbound.
The Ganga Aarti takes place daily at dusk around 6:45 pm on the Dashashwamedh Ghat. According to Hindu legend, Lord Brahma sacrificed ten horses during Dasa-Ashwamedha yajna performed on this ghat, hence the name Dashashwamedh (Dash meaning Ten, Ashwa meaning horse and Medh meaning Yajna / sacrifice).
Ganga Aarti is a Hindu ceremony (puja), where fire is used as an offering to the goddess Ganga (of the River Ganges). The aarti is performed on a stage by a group of young priests, dressed in the same saffron coloured clothes; a kurta and a dhoti.
The ceremony starts with the blowing of a conch shell and ringing bells. The priests waves incense sticks and hold up large flaming lamps while chanting mantras to the goddess Ganga. The priests’ movements are synchronized and it is a sight you will forever be in awe of.
Ganga Aarti is so divine, and it brings so much peace and spirituality in just around one hour, which you will not be able to feel elsewhere. Tourist not only from around the country but around the globe come to witness this enchanting activity every day.
If you're ever travelling to North India, I definitely recommend to witness this enthralling experience at least once in your lifetime.