Varanasi Day 3 – Evening Ganga Aarti

The River Ganga is said to begin in heaven and flow through Shiva’s hair before arriving on earth. In Varanasi there is an evening puja (called aarti) that is performed every day.

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We arrived at the ghats and rented a boat to travel a couple miles down the river. Generally speaking the vessels are not exactly an example of modern design. Ours had a single cylinder hand cranked diesel that really shook the boat.

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The trip down the river was leisurely and relaxing in the warm evening air.

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There were hundreds of boats on the water full of tourists. This is a pretty popular thing to do in the evening.

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We jam into the flotilla of boats watching the puja from the water.

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The puja performance involves a lot of singing and loud music.  I found it all a bit touristy, but still  the spectacle was fun.

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This is the offering of incense.

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Aarti involves the offering of light and when you have the large camphor lights burning….5 or 6 in a row moving in unison, the sight is quite impressive.

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Once the puja was over, the flotilla broke up and we motored leisurely back to our starting point. Just like the roads in India, there is always something to look at and wonder about. The trip back was no exception.

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This last photo is someone sitting near the funeral ghats performing some kind of meditation practice. He was absolutely still, with a mosquito net over his head. He never moved at all. Wonderfully mysterious.