As the Sun descends, the dusk takes it over. The evening turns darker and Varanasi prepares itself for the Ganga Aarti. Ganga Aarti is performed daily in the evening at the bank of scared and pious river Ganga.

It is performed at the Daswamedha Ghat near the Kashi Viswanath temple. Through the Ganga Aarti, a commitment is made to Lord Shiva, goddess Ganga, Surya, Agni, and the entire universe. The preparations for the Aarti is done by making a collection of 5 elevated planks, multi-tiered oil camp, an idol of Goddess Ganga, flowers, incense-sticks, conch shell, and a heavy bell.

It is a magnificent event during the evening in which worshippers, pilgrims, and devotees gather near the Ghat. People come in a crowd of hundreds and thousands near the Ghat to join the offerings made to holy Ganga.

With a powerful affection in their heart, they come to fade away from their grief and pain from their life. The vibes of the holy river Ganga are the most powerful. People eagerly wait for the Aarti to begin and make their soul meet heaven on a way to the purified path.

The head priest of the Gangotri Seva Samiti leads the Aarti. The Aarti gains the momentum by beginning with a “tilak” on the forehead of river Ganga. The priest dressed in a dhoti, kurta and tightly bound with a long towel called “Gamcha” and does the routine rituals before performing the Ganga Aarti at the Daswamedha Ghat.

Before the beginning of the Aarti, the priest makes some more offerings of flowers and incense stick to goddess Ganga. He also rings the heavy bell rhythmically to awake river Ganga to shower her blessings on all the devotees.

The goddess Ganga purifies the air and hearts of the devotee. The Ganga Aarti is very powerful and blissful.

To make the evening more powerful all the priests stand organized in a line wearing the same attire they stand in front of the idol.

They blow the conch shell and with a loud conch sound in unison, they call Goddess Ganga. This is one of the ways in which the priests try to derive the attention of goddess Ganga.
The aarti gains the momentum and the routine starts. All the priests wave the incense stick in front of the idol by being at kneeling position. According to Hindu rituals, aarti begins by waving an incense stick. The beautiful odour of the stick purifies the air around.
Now, the priests stand and they turn their back towards the idol. Again, the priests wave the incense sticks in the same manner on the opposite side.

The well-experienced priests follow the entire process with the same gestures. It reflects their unity and togetherness.
After the completion of waving the incense stick, its the turn for big heavy metal camp. The camps comprise camphor and some other substance that produces smoke from it.

The priests revolve the camps in front of the idols with full zeal. Throughout the Aarti, they hold the lamp with their right hand and rings the bell continuously with their left hand. The head priest of the Gangotri Seva Samiti lits up the multi-layered aarti. The aarti handle has 6 layers and a diya at the top of it. The entire gist of Ganga Aarti lies in this. The 6 layered aarti and mantras in chores send signals directly to heaven.

All the priest holds the big-headed multi-layered aarti with both their hands. Therefore, they do not hold the bell with another hand as the aarti handle is very heavy. They start performing the aarti by revolving it in front of the idols and singing in chores.

The priest revolves the aarti in a clockwise manner. All the aarti handles are halfway in the air at the top. That is indeed a reason, it looks so stunningly beautiful that the photographers often seize the moment with their camera.

The priests have an amazing tuning and devotion into what they are doing.
After the multi-layered aarti is done, it is accompanied by the brass camps along with the chanting of mantras. The priests perform the same clockwise rotation with the brass camps.

However, they hold the ring with their left hand. The power and unification of aarti are at a peak at this moment.

People come to see the Ganga Aarti also joins in the chorus sung by the priests.After the completion of 6 layered aarti, the priests offer flowers to the idols.

The priests throw flowers with their right hand and continue to ring the bell with the left hand. The entire 45 minutes aarti is now at the edge to come to a halt.

 All the priests again in unison, blow the conch shell. The powerful sound of the conch shell energizes the entire event and sends the vibes of purity and divinity around.

Conch shell indeed plays an integral role in the entire Ganga aarti. All the gathered devotees raise their hands to take the aarti. They believe in the powerful holy vibes of aarti and pray to goddess Ganga to take away their pain and grief.

As the aarti completes, people pray and bow their heads to the idols. The Ganga aarti spreads the blissful vibes all around the Varanasi.

The aarti is considered complete when the diyas and flowers are left floating in the river Ganga. In small paper plates, the flowers and diyas are kept and an offering is made to the pious river Ganga. The holy vibes of the aarti leave spellbound to each person standing there at the Ghat.

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By Abhishek Saraswat

Abhishek (@himalayan_gypsy) is a travel photographer and blogger known as Himalayan Gypsy over the internet. Academically from an engineering background and born the Himalayan valley of Dehradun, he found himself in love with nature and ever since he has been on a journey to travel India and showcase the beauty of the country through his pictures, motivating and encouraging people on the go to feel the same and also take responsibilities to conserve our rich heritage, culture and environment. He is a Certified Digital Marketer and a Travel Influencer who is efficient to create visually appealing content for Travel Brands, Property Owners, Cafes and other Product Shoots. He also specializes in running Facebook & Instagram Ad Campaigns for Brand Awareness, Brand Promotion and Online Reputation Management.

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