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Dates of Ganga Mahotsav : 18th November 2023

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Ganga Mahotsav, Varanasi Overview

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.

Ganga Mahotsav Highlights

1. Rituals and Ceremonies

Rituals and Ceremonies
The festival typically commences with the traditional Deep Dan ceremony, where thousands of earthen lamps are set afloat on the Ganges. This breathtaking spectacle transforms the river into a river of (Read More) light, creating a mesmerizing ambiance. The ghats of Varanasi witness elaborate Ganga aartis, and pilgrims and tourists alike participate in the religious rituals that pay homage to the sacred river.

2. Cultural Extravaganza

Cultural Extravaganza
Ganga Mahotsav is not just about religious fervor; it's also a celebration of India's rich cultural heritage. The festival features classical music and dance performances by renowned artists, showcasi (Read More)ng the diverse traditions of the country. Handicraft exhibitions, traditional crafts, and local cuisines add a colorful and lively touch to the event.

3. Spiritual Journey

Spiritual Journey
For visitors, Ganga Mahotsav offers a unique opportunity to witness the spiritual vibrancy of Varanasi. The ghats come alive with the resonating sounds of classical music, the aroma of incense, and th (Read More)e sight of beautifully adorned temples. The festival is a celebration of the Ganges as not just a physical entity but a spiritual force that binds the city in a sacred embrace.

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Ganga Mahotsav 2023

The date of the next Prabodhini Ekadashi is expected to fall on the 18th of November, 2023.

Ganga Mahotsav is celebrated in the month of Kartik of the traditional Hindu calendar. The festival begins on the eleventh lunar day of the month of Kartik, known as the Prabodhini Ekadashi. The celebration continues for five consecutive days.

The festival concludes on the day of Dev Deepawali, which is another significant day in itself. Dev Deepali falls on the day fifteen days from the celebration of Deepawali. On this day, thousands of earthen diyas are lit on the banks of the holy river, amid chanting of Vedic mantras by the Hindu priests.

The night of Dev Deepawali
The night of Dev Deepawali

Ganga Mahotsav in Varanasi – the Ancient, the Holiest

The Ganga Mahotsav is celebrated in the city of Varanasi, one of the most ancient cities in the whole world, and the holiest for the Hindus, located in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The festival is organised on the bank of the Ganga River, more often than not on the Sant Ravidas Ghat or on Rajendra Prasad ghat in Varanasi. However, in 2018, the venue of the festival, along with its date, was shifted to the Assi Ghat.

An evening at Assi Ghat, Varanasi
An evening at Assi Ghat, Varanasi

Culture & Traditions - Ganga Mahotsav in Varanasi

The lifeline of the country, the Ganges is celebrated during the festival of Ganga Mahotsav. A chance to see the real classical tradition of India, through Music and Dance, is available for tourists. Previous performances have been done by Bismillah Khan, Birju Maharaj, Girija Devi, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and Zakir Hussain.

The fragrance of burning incense, the display of cultural richness of the land of Uttar Pradesh, diyas floating over the serene water of the Ganges, and chanting of the Vedic hymns by the priests on the ghats of the Ganga River make for the cultural extravaganza dedicated to the holy river, the annual Ganga Mahotsav.

The Ganga Mahotsav of Varanasi is a five-day long festival, which is organised by the Department of Tourism of the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The celebration is held to celebrate the cultural richness of the Gangetic plains in general and that of the state of Uttar Pradesh in particular.

A glimpse of Ganga Aarti at Varanasi
A glimpse of Ganga Aarti at Varanasi

Cultural Program

Various cultural programs are organised as part of the Ganga Mahotsav festival. Classical musical concert captivates the audience with its spellbinding aura, whereas a show of traditional dance forms captivates the audience with their experienced and budding performers. Stalls of locally distinct cuisine fill the atmosphere with the aroma of the land, making the event a success for the food lovers as well.

Different contests are also organised as constituent parts of the festival, making the Ganga Mahotsav an event which even the lovers of sportsmanship also look forward to. Boat racing, wrestling, kite flying, and Ganga marathon are some of the sporting events that the Mahotsav Samiti of the Tourism Department organises as parts of the Ganga Mahotsav.

About Varanasi

Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi
Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi

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.

The city lies in the state of Uttar Pradesh of modern-day India and is home to the prestigious Benares Hindu University.

How To Reach Ganga Mahotsav, Varanasi

Varanasi is well connected through railways as well as airways to other parts of the country.

By railways, the nearest station is the Varanasi Junction Railway Station, located within the city itself.

The nearest airport from Varanasi is the Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport, located in Babatpur, at an approximate distance of 26 kilometres from the city in the northwest direction.

Rajendra Prasad Ghat, Varanasi
Rajendra Prasad Ghat, Varanasi

The Ganga Mahotsav, organised by the Tourism Department of the Government of Uttar Pradesh, is a step to celebrate the cultural heritage and its richness of the people of Gangetic plains. The festival successfully captures the beauty of traditional art forms, customs, and practices. The five-day-long celebration enshrines the essence of the traditions so well that people from all over the country as well as abroad are attracted towards the Ganga Mahotsav, and come together to celebrate it with much enthusiasm.

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