Having heard so much about the ganga aarti at the dashvamedh ghat, we ventured out for it one evening and couldn’t have asked for a better spend of our time while in Banaras.
The ghat was all prepped up with seven prayer stations set up on raised platforms, each framed by an arch; for the seven Brahmins who would conduct the aarti.
People were seated on the ghat steps and on the boats below. We opted for a boat view and glad that we did. On enquiring, we were told that the crowd consisted of only tourists and that was a surprise for us.
The entire scenario was sane and organised; no pushing and no waiting. And no overt noise or confusion anywhere.
The ceremony started with a traditional shankhnaad (blowing of conch shell) and then mantra chanting. The rising smoke of the incense and camphor seemed to drape each priest in a mystique while they performed the steps fluidly. The crowds, sounds of the aarti, temple bells, conch shell, the chanting and the gentle rocking of the boat – it was surreal.
Feeling calm and quiet, I wondered is this spirituality?
* The aarti starts at 6 pm every evening and finishes by 6.45 pm.
- One can sit in any of the moored boats for a fee of 20/-