Timings : 8th November 2019 - 12th November 2019
Time Required : November
The Ganga Mahotsav is celebrated every year to display the cultural heritage of the Gangetic plains, especially that of the ancient city of Kashi, which is now known as Varanasi. The festival is celebrated for five days and is organised by the Mahotsav Samiti of the Department of Tourism of the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The five-day festival, with all its rituals and customs, traditional music and dance shows, provides for a soulful experience the likeness of which is difficult to find. Taking place in different months – beginning on Prabodhini Ekadashi of Kartik month – and at various ghats of the river every year, the Ganga Mahotsav brings forth the cultural heritage of the land, which people from across the nation and abroad come together to witness and experience.
According to some Hindu traditions, Varanasi is considered to be the oldest urban centre in the world, possibly the first city of Human civilisation. Historians put the city of Varanasi, earlier known as Benares and Kashi, with Athens, Jerusalem, and Damascus in its antiquity. Varanasi is holiest of the Hindu sites in the world, the Ganga River being at the centre of spiritual significance.
Priests, Sadhus, and Sanyasis can be seen all across the ghats of the Ganga River in Varanasi, and devotees from far off places visit the city to dip themselves in the holy river to cleanse them of sins and vices. A belief about the Manikarnika ghat of Varanasi states that souls find salvation when cremated here. Conforming to this belief, many devotees from far off distances come to Varanasi to in old age to spend their last days of life here.
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