Image by Tanuj Handa from Pixabay 

Dive in the Ganges and celebrate the full moon of Ganga Mahotsav.

paritranaya saadhunaam vinashaya chaduskritham|
dharma samsthapanarthaya sambhavani yuge yuge||

"For the protection of the good for the destruction of the evil and for the establishment of dharma (righteousness), I (The Lord) am born from age to age".

Dwelling near the banks of the Holy River Ganges, Varanasi is known as one of the most religious places in India. Located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi consists of several devotional destinies and festivals which are appreciated and celebrated all over the country. The city's religious importance continued to grow around 528 BCE when Lord Buddha gave his first sermon "The setting in motion of the wheel of dharma" at nearby Sarnath. It has exceptionally started growing when Adi Shankara established the worship of Lord Shiva (the creator) as an official sect of Varanasi.

Varanasi has been a cultural center of Northern India for several thousand years and is closely associated with The Ganges. Hindus believe that dying here and getting cremated along the banks of The Holy River Ganges allows one to break the cycle of rebirth and attain salvation. The city is known as worldwide for its ravishing ghats. The Ganga Mahotsav is one of the most prestigious, authentic and devotional festivals celebrated in the city. Held at the Ganga Ghats, the Ganga Mahotsav is celebrated over five days every year. Starting from 'Prabodhani Ekadashi' to 'Kartik Poornima' during the months of October and November, it showcases the rich and cultural heritage of Varanasi.

Image by Jeevan Singla from Pixabay 

Tiny earthen lamps are used to decorate the entire stretch of The Ganga Ghats. Right from Varuna Ghat to Assi Ghat, one would find the area well lit. The Rangolis made of flowers and colored powders adorn the entire stretch of the ghats. During the evening aarti at the Dasaswamedh Ghat, the whole of the river bank lighten up in such a way that every individual visiting the place, could not stop admiring the festival and it's rich and cultural heritage. It looks like the entire bank is lightened up by pure souls and devotions.

With it's message of faith and culture, the festival features popular cultural programs classical music, a country boat race, a daily ship mela, sculpture displays, traditional nrityas and martial arts. On the final day (Poornima), which coincides with the traditional Dev Deepawali, the ghats on the Ganga River glitter with more than a million lit-up earthen lamps. It will not be wrong to say that the entire city brightens up to the festivity during the festival.


During the festival, thousands of pilgrims take a dip in the sacred water and perform the ritual of Kartik Snan. It is believed to be effective in washing all off one's sins and helping one walk towards salvation. The sheer sight of so many people bowing down in humility helps one stay grounded to one's roots and return to their hometown, feeling much rejuvenated.

Today, as the society is moving towards western culture, The Ganga Mahotsav is a beautiful attempt to bring us closer to our roots. The wonderful conclave of tradition and devotion to the Supreme Creator will help all of us find our inner peace.

na jayate mritaye va kadachi nyaya bhutwa bhavita va na bhuya|
ajo niyatya shaasvatoyam purano na hanyate hanyanamanye sharire||

"The soul is neither born, nor does it ever die, nor having once existed, does it ever cease to be. The soul is without birth, eternal, immortal and ageless. It is not destroyed when the body id destroyed".

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