ganga aarti at varanasi

Ganga Arthi in Varanasi

In a certain temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, located in one of the oldest cities not just in India but worldwide has a distinct type of Pooja and customs, that deeply immerses everybody present there into spirituality. That temple is the renowned Kashi Vishwanath temple, that city is Varanasi, and that ritual, known as the ‘Ganga Aarti’.

Millions, who visit the ancient city have the auspicious Ganga Aarti, highlighted on their checklist. This ethereal and almost paradisical experience is worthy of every visitor, sightseer, and pilgrim traveling from around the world.

 

The History:

On the banks of the Holy Ganga – known to cleanse a soul of all earthly sins – in the mystical city of Varanasi is the Dashashwamedh Ghat situated adjacent to the temple of Kasi Vishwanath. One Hindu theology says that Brahma created it to welcome Lord Shiva. And another is that Lord Brahma – the god of creation – performed the Ashwamedha Yajna ten times, hence the name.

 

Pooja Aesthetics:

Pundiths clad in traditional dhoti and kurta attire, gather on the Dashashwamedh Ghat, steps leading down to the river of Ganges carrying brass fire-lit earthen lamps, diyas, bells, incense sticks, and other ritualistic items, preparing for the centuries-old ceremony.

Devotees from all over the world swarm to the location for as much as even a glimpse of this Magnanimity.  Many devotees even hike a ride on boats from the opposite banks of the Ganga River. Leading the aarti is the priest of Gangotri Seva Samiti, who is among the exclusive group of renowned pundits of the Vedas and Upanishads.

Onlookers experience welcoming the deities with percussive melodies of holy mantras chanted aloud with big, multi-tiered diyas, the amplified ringing of bells, and the blowing of the conch shells, in a style similar to how a war hero is welcomed. As this ceremony reaches a crescendo, it transitions to the next stage where the Pundiths perform the “maha aarti”.

Devotees participate in the chanting, their voices rising in unison with the Pundiths, as they offer their prayers to the river Ganga, seeking blessings for themselves and their loved ones. The scent of incense fills the air, mingling with the sound of bells and the rhythmic beating of drums with the entire atmosphere seeming to pulsate with spiritual energy, transcending the boundaries of time and space.

 

Spiritual Significance:

The Ganga Aarti ceremony is a profoundly spiritual event more than just a pretty sight. Honoring the holy Ganga river, which is said to wash away sins and grant spiritual purity, is a sign of respect. For those who want to have a close spiritual connection with Varanasi, this ceremony is a must-attend because of its intensity and commitment.

 

Time to visit:

The Aarthi is conducted both in the morning and in the evening. In the morning, Ganga Aarthi starts from 5 am to 7 am in the summer and from 5:30 am to 7:30 am during the winter season.  The timing of the evening Aarthi starts daily at 6:30 PM in summer and 7:00 PM in winter.

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