Ganga Aarti is an important ceremony that takes place on a grand scale every morning and evening on the banks of the holy Ganges. The priests perform the Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat. The entire Ghat gets floodlit with a heavenly light that can be felt powerfully. The superb ritual includes huge brass lamps lit with oil and the priests chant the holy mantras that resonate the entire location.
Ganga Aarti Varanasi is the most famed and intricate one. Lately, Aarti is also performed at other Ghats like Assi Ghat. At the Dashashwamedh Ghat, there are two sets of platforms in two different sections of the Ghat. Colorful canopies decorated with flowers on top of each platform secured to a rod which also consists of electric lamps. On each of the platforms, there is an extra small platform wrapped with a saffron cloth, which consists of all the Pooja items such as flowers, copper pot with water, wet cloth to hold the hot and heavy metallic Diyas and a conch shell. Platforms are also ignited with oil lamps that port you to another zone.
The Central platform has a small temple dedicated to Goddess Ganga with her human-like form decorated with beautiful floral garlands.
Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat, Varanasi is a treat to watch. It is a great example of the ancient tradition of worshipping the river in India packaged in a way that it appeals to all kinds of people. Pilgrims come to pray at holy Ganga. Tourists come to see the visual treat, where the fire comes to worship the water that endures life. The minute you take Varanasi’s name, the visuals of the Moon shaped Ghats of Ganga crosses your mind. The steep steps connecting the Ganga with the city are also the venue for much-captured sights and sounds of the Ganga Aarti.
Every evening, devotees stand before the Ganga, who is affectionately called Ganga Maiyya or mother Ganga. They pray to Ganga with the Ganga Aarti on her banks, thank her for nurturing them and for cleansing them with her holy waters. A lot of pilgrims, devotees, tourists, and travelers come to watch the display of Ganga Aarti at the famous Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi.
Over the years Ganga Aarti has become the must-visit tourist place in Varanasi. Moreover there is an addition of the glamor factor to the event, which should be a serious affair otherwise. Young Priest who perform the Aarti will be wearing silk dhotis with rich gold borders, orange kurtas, and stoles on their shoulders, all of them will maintain the color coordination. Their hands move in synchronized rhythm on the raised platforms that put them above the rest of the crowd. They are conscious of the fact that while the Aarti is going on, all the tourist eyes are on them. It is amusing to see their expressions as they perform the Aarti.
Boatmen who would otherwise have little business after the sun goes down, have found a new revenue stream. They tie their boats right in front of Aarti benches in the Ganga that they let the tourists use for a heavy price. If you want to witness the sight of Ganga Aarti in Varanasi or even photograph it, boats may be a better choice. However, you can pray to Ganga, stand alongside the Priests performing the Ganga Aarti, join your hands and pray to Ganga.