Photo Essay

Varanasi 2013 , ganga aarti

Varanasi 2013, Ganga Arti - 19

Aarti (Hindi आरती), also spelled arathi, aarthi (from the Sanskrit word "आरात्रिक" with the same meaning) is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee (purified butter) or camphor is offered to one or more deities. Aartis also refer to the songs sung in praise of the deity, when lamps are being offered. A group of priests daily in the evening at this ghat perform "Agni Pooja" (Worship to Fire) wherein a dedication is made to Lord Shiva, River Ganga (the Ganges), Surya (Sun), Agni (Fire), and the whole universe. Special aartis are held on Tuesdays and on religious festivals.

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.

Gange aarti is the magnificent event during evening in the Varanasi that one must not miss to see it. It makes us to experience the great feelings while Gange aarti become in process. This beautiful ritual makes every moment of the evening period special and fills with the spiritual thoughts. It is performed by the brass lamps which accompanied with the mantra chant in the presence of the huge crowd.

All the priests who have to perform the aarti, wear same cloth, the dhoti and kurta which is tightly bind with a long towel. First they make preparation of the Gange aarti by making collection of the five elevated planks, a multi tiered oil lamp, an idol of the Goddess Ganga, flowers, incense sticks, a conch shell, a big and heavy brass lamp having a snake hood at the edge of the River Gange. A group of boats filled with devotees come around the place of aarti at the bank of River. They are very eager to see the event; some of them take live video, photos as well. Ritual of the Gange aarti is performed by the students of the Vedas and Upanishads which is lead by the head priest of the Gangotri Seva Samiti. The whole event takes around 45 minutes.

Timing of Gange Aarti

Gange aarti takes place at 6.45 PM in the evening after the sunset for around 45 minutes at the Dashashwamedh ghat in the Varanasi. Devotees have started to come to see the Gange aarti at least one hour before.

A group of young priests starts aarti in a well organized manner by having a lighting lamp in their hand, start a rhythmic chant of mantras. An announcement at 7.00 pm indicates the beginning of the aarti. Music starts by someone and priests involving in the aarti stood up to begin the Gange aarti. Devotees at present make clapping together with the chanting of the mantras. Priests blown the conch shells in between the aarti very loudly and aarti continues with the incense sticks. After completing the mantras, priests do aarti with the multi-tiered brass lamps having firing camphor or kapoor. Gange aarti ends up with the final aarti and after that the environment become very silent.

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