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travel street photography ganga aarti ceremony varanasi benares india people

Ganga Aarti Ceremony. The Ganga Aarti is a a very powerful spiritual ritual which takes place on the Dashashwamedh Ghat, near the Ganges River, and is held daily at dusk (Varanasi, also know as Benares, Uttar Pradesh, India).

Facing the river, a group of young pandits take their positions at a given wooden platforms which are full of ceremonial things like oil lamps, a conch shells, incense sticks, a yak-tail fans, peacock feathers, sandalwood, milk, and flower petals.

The mystic Ganga Aarti starts with the blowing of a conch shell. Smoke rises from the waving of incense sticks and the scent of sandalwood permeates the air. Fire is offered to Lord Shiva and the Ganges River through the movement of flaming lamps. Fire is used as a link between the spirit world and this world. The rhythmic chants and songs of mantras in praise of Mother Ganga can be heard while the drums and cymbals are playing.

When ceremony is going to finish, the pandits offer flowers, milk, and floating lamps to the Ganges. Eventually, attendants and pilgrims leave small diyas with a lit candle and flowers that’s floated down the river.

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