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Ganga Mahotsav, Varanasi

(Last Updated 24 Feb, 2023)

  • Dates :

    18/10/2023 - 18/10/2023

  • Location :

    Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh


Whether it is a festival or celebration, anything on the Ganges banks is appraised with spiritual significance. Watch the tradition unbroken for thousands of years in Varanasi. Attain moksha (salvation) before you die in one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. You just need to spare 5 days in the cultural and religious center of India over a thousand years. Attend Ganga Mahotsav in 2023 in Varanasi. It is a confluence of art, culture, music, and spiritual festivities. The festival bills itself as a grand celebration of Hindu traditions, culture, and heritage in the best way! Held annually in Uttar Pradesh Varanasi city after 15 days of flamboyant Diwali celebration, Ganga Mahotsav is celebrated on the Ganges banks and thus, holds spiritual significance more than any other thing. Thousands of diyas are set up on Varanasi Ghats' staircase that makes the sight a behold experience. Organized by the Tourism Department of Uttar Pradesh State Government, the must witness Ganga Mahotsav's highlight is an amalgamation of different cultural programs of distinct states, art and craft display, and sports for kids, including boating, kite flying, and Indian style wrestling.

The backbone of spiritual activities in India, Ganges flows through Varanasi and becomes the topic of discussion annually for 5 days during Ganga Mahotsav. Several devotees on the bank of the Ganges accumulate during Ganga Mahotsav. Devotees solemnize by plunging into the sacred Ganges - the third largest river on earth. The incense scented smoke-filled air, rhythmic nightly chanting, golden plates of floral offerings float down the Ganges during the Ganga Mahotsav celebration. There are around eighty ghats in Varanasi, and all of them brim with divas, chanting of mantras, and rangoli celebration during Ganga Mahotsav. The celebration concludes on Dev Deepawali on Kartik Purnima annually. The last day of Ganga Mahotsav is also referred to as “Deepavali of Gods.”

We bet; the unique celebration will assault your senses as the city of astronomers will amaze you apart from its sacred pools. Learn everything about attending Ganga Mahotsav in 2023.

What are the Celebration Dates and Timings of Ganga Mahotsav in 2023?

Ganga Mahotsav is celebrated annually since the inception of Varanasi town. Since then, the festival is held annually as per the Hindu calendar on the  11th lunar day of the Kartika month (Probodhani Ekadashi) every year. The festival runs for five days, and its last day is marked as “Dev Deepavali.” Dev Deepavali is called full moon night and is often known as Kartika Purnima. In 2023, the date of Ganga Mahotsav is set on 18 November 2023.

Legends of Ganga Mahotsav

The most popular legends of Ganga Mahotsav are from Hindu manuscripts. According to it, Ganga Mahotsav was the same day when Gods descended to earth to bathe in the Varanasi's Ganges. Another folklore is linked with Ganga Mahotsav, which states that on this day, Lord Shiva killed the Tripuasur demon, and hence, the name Dev Deepavali personified.

Significance of Ganga Mahotsav

The significance of Ganga Mahotsav is in its name “Ganga.” This holy river is considered the facilitator and nourishment of Indian Civilization. According to the Hindus textbooks, the sacred Ganges has been nourishing the Varanasi since the inception of this religious site. Thus, the festival celebrated on its Ghats holds a strong spiritual significance and importance. On looking upon a cultural lens, you will find that Ganga Mahotsav is celebrated in Varanasi to personify the tales and legends associated with the Ganges in Varanasi. All the devotees during Ganga Mahotsav accumulate at different Ghats to witness the spiritual and cultural fervor. On looking from a different perspective, earthen lamps are lightened to banish the evil within us. Ganga Mahotsav marks the victory of good over evil in more refined words, light over darkness, and peace over unhappiness.

Culture and Traditions of Ganga Mahotsav

The country’s lifeline, the Ganges, is celebrated with exhilarating enthusiasm during Ganga Mahotsav. Different types of contests, cultural and traditional programs grace the festive gathering. Out of which, Jal Tarang recitals at the banks of the Ganges stand out! Sweet music could be heard when ceramic bowls are tuned with water. The fun does not end here! Ganga Mahotsav has a lot under its belts to keep you occupied. Even shopaholics would be a constant retreat because you can spend hours shopping until you drop at Gandhi Shilp Bazaar. It is the place where artisans display their best handicrafts from different regions of India. Devotees take the plunge into the sacred Ganges and perform Surya Namaskar in the morning, followed by singing hymns in God praise by lighting diyas.  The Mahotsav Samiti of the Tourism Department arranges Indian-style wrestling and traditional boat race performance. Last but not the least, a grand musical evening awaits you in Ganga Mahotsav Festival as many cultural and folk artists grace the festival evening for 5 days. On the last day of Ganga Mahotsav, earthen lamps, flower petals, and rangolis are made, and the evening marks the ending with fireworks and chanting of mantras.

Highlights of Ganga Mahotsav

  • Witness Ganga Aarti worship to destroy your sorrows
  • See oil lamps floating down the river from the comfort of your boat
  • Attend several cultural programs
  • Purchase the different arts and crafts from the stalls
  • Indulge in playful activities like kite flying, rangoli making, and Indian style wrestling
  • Relish authentic cuisine of India at food stalls

How to Reach Ganga Mahotsav

There are three ways to reach Varanasi from Delhi and other cities and towns. The three means of transport are as follows:

By Air: The nearest airport to Varanasi is Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, located 24 kilometers (approx.). It is well-linked with major Indian towns and cities.

By Train: Varanasi has its own railhead, Varanasi railway station. It is well connected with the rest of India.

By Road: If you are coming from Delhi, take Agra-Lucknow ExpressWay, and you will be arriving in Varanasi within 14 hours (approx.). The total stretch of Delhi to Varanasi is 865 kilometers (approx.). Although, Varanasi roads are well connected with Lucknow, Allahabad, and Gorakhpur as well. Regular buses run to and from Varanasi from its surrounding regions. You can also self-drive your car to reach Varanasi.







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