"Evening ceremony - Ganga Aarti" Varanasi Things to Do Tip by illumina

Varanasi Things to Do: 265 reviews and 451 photos

The evening ritual of Ganga Aarti is a fire ritual, in which lamps are offered to the deity, in this case Mama Ganga, the river itself. The whole ceremony is quite lengthy, with conches blown, 3 incense sticks (per priest) lit and the smoke formed into elaborate patterns by the hand gestures of the priests; then tiered lamps with burning wicks are also lifted in slow circular patterns; finally a large open-pan lamp filled with oil is offered in the same way - all to the accompaniment of chanting, bell ringing, and rhythmic clapping from the devout crowd.

Throughout the ceremony, families come down the steps to the water, purchase leaf bowls filled with flowers and candles, and offer the to the river in memory of departed family members.

The ritual starts at around 6pm, with crowds gathering long before that. Musicians entertain the crowds until the priests arrive.

Lots of the shops around the ghat have balconies that tourists can watch the Aarti from - for a fee. Perhaps the view wasn't so good, but I prefered wandering around the bottom of the ghat.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 18, 2010
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