Every tourist guide-book (national or international) worth its sales, as well as articles or blog posts on this Varanasi, online discussion fora, and word-of-mouth recommendations mention the Ganga Aarti at the Dashashwamedh Ghat as THE thing to do in the city. I had read and heard so much about the Ganga Aarti that it was on my list of “must do things in life”. So when my Varanasi plans got finalised, it was quite natural that everything revolved around seeing the Ganga Aarti.
On my very first evening in Varanasi, I saw the Ganga Aarti from my hotel room. Well, technically, I did not exactly see the aarti; rather, I witnessed the people participating in the aarti and saw the whole area lit up with a beautiful golden glow from the lamps.
6.15 am, 6th October 2011. It is Dussera day or Vijaya Dashami. I am standing at the steps of Chausatthi Ghat in Varanasi, outside my hotel, taking in the early morning scene before me. The sun has just risen and the ghats and the Ganga are bathed in a rosy light. Many tourists are already out on an early morning boat ride, while many more are walking towards the nearby Dashashwamedh Ghat to go on one. Still more people are walking purposefully with puja offerings, while others are having a dip in the holy Ganga and saying their morning prayers. Temple bells can be heard in the distance, as do morning aarti prayers at a nearby shrine. Continue reading “Dussera in Varanasi”→
Just a little more, I tell myself as I follow the hotel attendant up steep stairs to my hotel room.
I am in Varanasi after what seems like a long, long day. A day that began with an early morning flight to Delhi getting delayed, leading to my almost missing the connecting flight to Varanasi. And then there was this ride from Varanasi airport through the most crowded roads I have been through in recent times. All this was enough to stress me out on the very first day of a holiday that I had started planning in May this year.
When the hotel attendant opens the door to my room, I can’t believe my eyes. The view is exactly as the hotel website claims it would be: an uninterrupted view of the river Ganga or the Ganges or Ganga ji as the locals call it. All my tiredness and irritation vanishes in an instant as I sit down on the chair in the balcony and let Ganga ji take over.