Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat
Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedha Ghat. Well, various people have various views about the Aarti. Some find it too noisy and colorful. Some find the crowds to be too overwhelming. But then isn't that what is the very essence of our country? People everywhere! We are after all a bunch of colorful and noisy people! People in all colors, sizes and shapes!
Dashashwamedha Ghat, each time from a vantage point - I couldn't have hoped for a better seat. And the best part is, except for a prime seat on the boat opposite the Aarti area, sitting anywhere else is free. You just have to be there early enough to grab the best seat.
Here goes my experience of those four evenings...
On my first day there, I reach early at around five in the evening, not very sure of where to sit. I end up sitting right next to the corner Aarti area, best suited for some mean shots. Young men in jeans hover around arranging Pooja paraphernalia. I later realise it is the same men who would be performing the Aarti too - they are students of the Banaras Hindu University. There are seven raised platforms, adorned with marigold petals, which gels perfectly into the golden evening. As the Sun slowly sets and sky is lit with hues of gold, the small diyas are lit by the women assembled in the crowd. (Here I make a mental note, the next time I'm here, I should dress up in a saree at-least on one evening, just to get a chance to light those lamps!)
Anand Bhate and Ronu Majumdar - something straight out of his dream). Announcements are made for everyone to settle down and stop moving about, and the Aarti starts.
Vakrathunda Mahakaya, invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesh, the remover of all obstacles, followed by a rendition of the popular and pleasant bhajan, Achyutham Keshavam, invoking the blessings of Lord Vishnu. Next invoked is Lord Krishna, with the bhajan Govind Bolo Hari, followed by few other shlokas.
stotrams. The brass lamps are exquisite, and would weigh quite a bit - watching them perform the Aarti at times with just one hand with bulging muscles is just wow!
(Tip: It is worth paying a small amount to sit on one of the boats in the ghats to get best shots of this part of the evening)
Shiva Thandava Stotra composed by Ravan, and the Aarti used this time is shaped like a snake (naga aarti). This stotra has been incorporated into many movies, either in part or wholly. If I were to be asked, this is the most favorite part of the evening for me. The fast pace leaves you quite energetic.
A thali is passed around for any donations, strictly a personal choice. Finally comes the Ganga pledge, and ends with roars of "Har Har Mahadev"!
I will put up many other picture posts probably later as I have simply too many pictures!
This post is a description of the entire event, for people who haven't visited Kashi, and would like to do so. I have experienced the Aarti at Haridwar (that was my first post!), and the Aarti at Rishikesh. Each is unique, but for me personally, the Aarti at Kashi is a giant leap ahead. The very feel in the air is electric, like there's some unexplained energy surrounding you!
PM on any visit?)
I leave you with one more picture (if you're still reading that is!) of that beautiful evening: