Ganga Aarti
Ganga Aarti
4.5
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Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • Dennis P
    Melbourne, Australia2,107 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Colour,Music,Chants simply amazing
    Aarti is a Hindu ceremony in which lights with wicks soaked in ghee are lit and offered up to one or more deities. Varanasi is a sacred and oldest city of the world located at the banks of the holy River Gange. Where, Gange aarti is performed daily in the evening by a group of priests at the Dashashwamedh ghat. Through the aarti, Agni Pooja is performed in which a commitment is made to the Lord Shiva, Mata Gange, Surya, Agni (Fire) as well as the whole universe made by the Lord Shiva. On some special occasions, religious festivals and second day of the week means Tuesdays, a particular type of aarti is held at this ghat. As mentioned, this ceremony is performed daily at sundown and attractd crowds/worshippers etc up to 50000 per night. Iis is an e3ctremely colourful and religeous ceremony with lots opf hindu chants and offeringsd to the Lord Shiva. This is something than cannot be missed. It only takes an hour, but what a colourful hour that is
    Visited February 2023
    Written March 25, 2023
  • Tanja
    3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Mesmerizing experience
    I gladly experienced both, a morning and evening Ganga Aarti during my visit to Varanasi. This holy ritual is absolutely wonderful and moving to experience (also with a non-Hindu background). I highly recommend every visitor to this holy city to witness a Ganga Aarti.
    Visited October 2022
    Written May 23, 2023
  • Raman G
    Noida, India307 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must visit ( can ignore few negatives )
    Visited this month on Aug 18. The Ganges was in full flow. The waters had flooded the ghat steps. The boat rides were not taking place. At Dashashwamedh ghat the night Aarti took place on the roof of a building alongside the ghat. It was still worth the visit and view. A large crowd looking up towards the roof. Quite an attractive ambience. We stood on the ghat steps. Walking to this ghat through the main bazaar was a charmful experience in itself. A big crowd. Jostling with each other. Bright lights put up on the street and well lit shops on the side. But some 2 wheelers on this street did disturb you. On way back after Aarti, we had the famous 'tamatar chat ' at Kashi Chat shop and then a BANARSI PAN at 'Gama pan wala'. This pan wala shop is at the same place and shop for 3 generations. It is the 3rd generation making the Pan for you. The proprietor informed that he is grooming the next generation also. Enjoyed the evening. The taxi was parked at a distance of about 1 km. ALSO must visit is the morning sunrise Aarti at Assi ghat. We saw this at 5am. Driving to the ghat early morning is yet another look at Varanasi. The streets are empty and you have another perspective of Varanasi. At this ghat the crowds are less and you can get a good view seat on the steps. The Aarti ritual is similar to Dashashwamedh ghat. After that you get to see and savour the grand morning sunrise over the Ganga. A memorable visit.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written August 27, 2023
  • deepak bharali
    Guwahati, India8 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must see event in Varanasi. Don't miss.
    A must see event at Varanasi. It's free , no ticket. Crowd gathers and occupies seat from around 5 pm. The Aarti starts at around 6.30 PM. Very spiritual and mesmerising event with lots of participation from crowd in Bhajans / prayers. Apart from our own country crowd, there were lots of international tourist / photographers. Being a flagship / showcased event of Varanasi, hoped the event could be little more systematic / better lighting arrangement on the people who do the Aarti. ( from photographer's point of view as well as general opinion). Over all a good experience. Don't miss.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written October 22, 2023
  • Andrea438
    Milan, Italy507 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Evening Hindu ritual on Gange river.
    If you have chosen a hotel overlooking the Gaths, with a suggestive evening walk along the Ghats you will arrive at the place where this Hindu ritual takes place, composed of various offerings by the officiants dedicated to one or more deities. Go in time to occupy a seat in the area overlooking the sacred area or on one of the terraces of the adjacent buildings, for a payment of one hundred rupees. Also recommended solution to have a better field of vision.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written November 18, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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lagnam123
Redmond, WA44 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
The ganga aarti was a great show but still following the traditional religious practices. If you go early you can get a seat pretty close
Written February 22, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andrea438
Milan, Italy507 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Couples
If you have chosen a hotel overlooking the Gaths, with a suggestive evening walk along the Ghats you will arrive at the place where this Hindu ritual takes place, composed of various offerings by the officiants dedicated to one or more deities. Go in time to occupy a seat in the area overlooking the sacred area or on one of the terraces of the adjacent buildings, for a payment of one hundred rupees. Also recommended solution to have a better field of vision.
Written November 18, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Vijaylakshmi Sewnarain
17 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Family
A soul stirring experience. Preferred sitting on steps, closer , rather than from boat. Spiritually uplifting. The pundits perform arti like a choroegraphe'd dance, a sight to behold
Written November 7, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

deepak bharali
Guwahati, India8 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Family
A must see event at Varanasi. It's free , no ticket. Crowd gathers and occupies seat from around 5 pm. The Aarti starts at around 6.30 PM.
Very spiritual and mesmerising event with lots of participation from crowd in Bhajans / prayers. Apart from our own country crowd, there were lots of international tourist / photographers. Being a flagship / showcased event of Varanasi, hoped the event could be little more systematic / better lighting arrangement on the people who do the Aarti. ( from photographer's point of view as well as general opinion).
Over all a good experience. Don't miss.
Written October 22, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Discover820205
72 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Friends
Lot of mismanagement at the point. No proper seating arrangement . People paying heavy for Darshan from boats. However enjoyed the ganga arti with devotion. It starts about 6.30 pm .
Written October 8, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Raman G
Noida, India307 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
Visited this month on Aug 18. The Ganges was in full flow. The waters had flooded the ghat steps. The boat rides were not taking place. At Dashashwamedh ghat the night Aarti took place on the roof of a building alongside the ghat. It was still worth the visit and view. A large crowd looking up towards the roof. Quite an attractive ambience. We stood on the ghat steps. Walking to this ghat through the main bazaar was a charmful experience in itself. A big crowd. Jostling with each other. Bright lights put up on the street and well lit shops on the side. But some 2 wheelers on this street did disturb you. On way back after Aarti, we had the famous 'tamatar chat ' at Kashi Chat shop and then a BANARSI PAN at 'Gama pan wala'. This pan wala shop is at the same place and shop for 3 generations. It is the 3rd generation making the Pan for you. The proprietor informed that he is grooming the next generation also.
Enjoyed the evening. The taxi was parked at a distance of about 1 km. ALSO must visit is the morning sunrise Aarti at Assi ghat. We saw this at 5am. Driving to the ghat early morning is yet another look at Varanasi. The streets are empty and you have another perspective of Varanasi. At this ghat the crowds are less and you can get a good view seat on the steps. The Aarti ritual is similar to Dashashwamedh ghat. After that you get to see and savour the grand morning sunrise over the Ganga. A memorable visit.
Written August 27, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anuradha Manjul
Lucknow, India372 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2023 • Family
Varanasi and Ganga Aarti have become synonyms. Irrespective of the religion, caste or creed one would like to witness the Ganga Aarti (worshiping the river Ganga) when one is in Varanasi.

Many would say its nothing but a highly commercial activity, but then which activity has no commercial angle to it. We had gone many times to Varanasi but some how had never been to Ganga Aarti (once missed it as had got delayed due to traffic jam).

This time we were sure that we wanted to witness the Ganga Aarti (the evening one) for sure. On Day 1, we decided on visiting Namo Ghat and missed out on the Aarti (thankful now, as there was too much crowd everywhere).

Now a days almost all the ghats have the Ganga Aarti twice a day – morning and evening. But the morning aarti is famous at Assi ghat i.e. Subah e Banaras, which is held between 5-5.30 am in summers and slightly later (timings can be checked) in winter. For evening aarti, the most popular ghat is Dashashwamedh Ghat. Again the timings are different for summer and winter, the same can be checked. In summer the actual Aarti starts at around 7.00 pm and goes on for around 45 minutes. But to witness the same people throng the ghat by around 5.00 pm. The Ganga Aarti starts exactly at the sunset time. The starting time of the ceremony changes with sunset time. There are different ways to witness the aarti – from the ghat (some companies charge a fees for special VIP seats -right next to the Aarti area where the aarti platforms are – charges could be any where around Rs. 1000 to Rs. 2000).

Please note that from the administration side there are no entry charges for the aarti. Depending on the space availability and the time one has reached the ghat one can witness the aarti. People witness the aarti from the roof top of lodges, boarding houses, hotels and restaurants which are in and around the ghat. One interesting way, and we found it the best way to watch the aarti was on boats. These boats are available from nearby ghats, in fact the moment you enter the Godowlia area (road going towards the ghat), one would find many touts and boatmen selling the boat ride. Haggling works here and one has many options in boat ride (witnessing the aarti and then cruising the river Ganga (mostly just a glimpse of various ghats -Manikarnika ghat onwards to Assi ghat), one can go in for an individual boat (rates different for manual and motorised boat) or can even pay for the ride on a per seat basis (much cheaper option). In case looking for budgets – then go for an individual ride (hire the full boat) only if in a large group (more than 5 people) (when we went they were charging anything from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 6000), else you can opt for either sharing boat ride (Rs. 300-Rs. 600 per person) or seat on a large boat (2 tiered- the seats are placed on the top tier), the price would again be anything from Rs. 150 to Rs. 600 per person depending on the boat and also your haggling skills.

All boats will provide you with life jackets -technically mandatory to wear, but most people just take it and don’t wear it, or they would not provide you on entry and they would be provided only if you ask for the same. The complete time including the cruise and aarti would be around 2 hours.

We took the per seat option (though on a higher price compared to others who came after us). Our boat docked on the Ghat (all boats have a number and they dock as per their numbers – so your boat might be docked behind another boat, but they would ensure that one gets the full view of the Aarti). The ghat area was jam packed and so were the roof tops of the near by establishments. The ghat was beautifully lit (thankfully all ghats are lit now – so the night experience would be different than the day one). There were vendors who were coming to sell tea and coffee on the boat and some kids dressed as Lord Shiva and goddess who were carrying aarti thali and also Chandan tika – on payment they could make tika/tilak on your forehead.

One can find the mention of the Ganga Aarti at Kashi in Skanda Purana

गङ्गायां च सकृत्स्नातो हयमेधफलं लभेत्

तर्पयंश्च पितृम्स्तत्र तारयेन्नरकार्णवात्

Please note that this just literal translation of the Sanskrit verse, the original meaning might be slightly different and contextual.

According to legends, Lord Brahma organised a Yagna (fire sacrifice) at the Dashashwamedh ghat to recall Lord Shiva from exile. Since then, every evening there is an aarti of the Mother Ganga. It is difficult to say that the aarti in current format is similar to the ancient format. Interestingly none of the authors (from the 19th Century who have written about Kashi or Banaras has talked about Aarti in any format). So it is quiet possible that it never used to be such magnum opus earlier.

The current format was started in the year 1991 (like the Ganga Aarti which is now happening in Kolkata – Baje Kadamtala ghat on the river Hooghly started in March 2023, its a different matter that river Ganga in Kolkata becomes river Hooghly), and it has been continuing since then. The only exception was during COVID period when the Aarti continued but without gatherings and with just one priest.

There is a specific area from where the aarti is performed ( a long platform with 7 short platforms which have an umbrella like structure atop them).

The aarti is performed by 7 young learned Brahmins of Kashi (symbolising the Sapta Rishis who offered their Puja to Maa Ganga).

The Ganga Aarti is a well-planned and choreographed event. There is chanting of Mantras and melodious bhajans in praise of Lord Shiva (Vishwanath) and Lord Vishnu. The aarti is always carried out facing the River Ganga

All the priests who are doing the aarti, wear the same outfit, a dhoti, a kurta, and a stole or drape (colours could be white or saffron or pink or gold or red or a combination of colours). The priests start the preparation before the aarti starts.

The young priests (all coordinated) start the aarti by chanting mantras and blowing the conch shell (शंख). A picture of river ganga as goddess incarnate Maa Ganga (mother Ganga) is placed on the central platform of the seven smaller platforms. It is decorated with garlands and flowers.

The whole ritual follows a set sequence – incense and flowers are offered to the water (symbolically using hand gestures).

Post this the priests start to move the many layered huge brass lamp (with many small lamps which are lit) in a clockwise direction in a rhythmic manner. This layered lamp looks like Sheshnag (ruler of the nagas (snakes) having 5 or 7 heads). The Narayana form of Vishnu is often depicted as resting on Sheshnag, accompanied by his consort Lakshmi.

During all these incense burning, lamp movement etc. there is constant chanting of Mantras and Har Har Mahadev. The whole atmosphere is magical and even in so much crowd there is a feeling of peace. Something like peace in chaos.

People believe that participating in the Ganga Aarti purifies the soul and creates a positive environment all around.

Fresh flowers are offered to River Ganga or mother Ganga in the end.

For us the whole experience was magical and we thoroughly enjoyed the same. For an hour or so one is transformed into a different world.

Yes witnessing Ganga Aarti in the evening is a unique experience and should not be missed at all.
Written July 20, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

charu
Bengaluru, India6 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Solo
Pathetic experience.
Dirty filthy place to go
All religiousness goes away once you step on a puddle or watch almost stripped down people everywhere. So crowded so crowded, no place to breath. Bad quality music blasting from all directions.

Thankfully, police constables at every 100 meters maintained decoram and dint let rowdy men do anything untoward. Yes, men all around, hardly any women or girls.

After walking a km in muddy puddles and filth, with greasy dirty bodies swarming around, did not feel worth it.
Written July 7, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tanja
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
I gladly experienced both, a morning and evening Ganga Aarti during my visit to Varanasi. This holy ritual is absolutely wonderful and moving to experience (also with a non-Hindu background). I highly recommend every visitor to this holy city to witness a Ganga Aarti.
Written May 23, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

FarAway18678154455
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022 • Friends
Worst experience at Kashi viswanath, wading thru the sea of people, every facilitator or pandit is out to loot us in the name of god. Had gone to Kashi, having heard so much about it, but alas.. Cudnt feel any piety.
Yes, the Ganga arti was simply great and malaiyyo, the sweet was mouth watering.
Written May 13, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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GANGA AARTI - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Ganga Aarti

According to Tripadvisor travellers, these are the best ways to experience Ganga Aarti: