An evening in Varanasi isn’t complete without a trip on the Ganges to see the Hindu aarti ceremony (the waving of candles and singing – not an official description).

Your boat (easily arranged from your hotel or anywhere along the river) docks near others to watch from the water, with people clambering around for better views.

Aarti Ceremony, The Ganges, Varanasi, India

Viwers of the aarti ceremony, The Ganges, Varanasi, India

I was amazed at the sheer amount of people.  In my rickety boat was an Indian family and an older lady from South America who was doubting the boats stability – constantly yet amusingly.

Aarti Ceremony, The Ganges, Varanasi, India

Aarti Ceremony, The Ganges, Varanasi, India

The family bought candles from a passing man,

Aarti ceremony, Dasaswamedh ghat, the Ganges, Varanasi, India

Aarti ceremony, Dasaswamedh ghat, the Ganges, Varanasi, India

After they dropped their candles in the water, the grandmother threw water from the Ganges onto us in what I presume was a blessing. The lady from South America was horrified, having earlier showed me pictures of what was assumed to be a large amount of poop floating in the river.

After the ceremony, we travelled up the river a little.

The Ganges, evening boat trip, Varanasi, India

The Ganges, evening boat trip, Varanasi, India

We past the constantly burning ghat of Makikarnika (no photos allowed – would you take pictures at a funeral?) and round the corner.

We then docked back near the hotel, where a man was completing his own aarti.

Aarti ceremony, the Ganges, Varanasi, India

Aarti ceremony, the Ganges, Varanasi

When he’d finished, he threw a little more water over the South American lady who made the mistake of sitting very near him.  I had to smile to myself at her ‘I need two showers, now’ overreaction.

The next night, I viewed the ceremony from land.

Aarti ceremony, Dasaswamedh ghat, the Ganges, Varanasi, India

Aarti ceremony, Dasaswamedh ghat, the Ganges, Varanasi, India

If you want a good space to view it, get there early.  It’s as packed as the boats – but at least I was closer enough to hear the sound.

More information about Varanasi can be found here.  Smiley face.

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Posted by Sunburnt Back

5 Comments

  1. Amazing pics!! like it

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    1. Thanking you kindly!

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  2. Wow!! Look at the crowds.
    These are amazing photos!!!

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    1. Considering it’s a nightly event there were a lot of people!!

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  3. […] little more about India?  Ah, go on, you know you want to.  See some pictures of and read about Varanasi’s Aarti Ceremony or Udaipur’s Evening Dancing.  Or perhaps India Vs Pakistan border closing ceremony.  The […]

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