10 Popular Festivals, Fairs & Cultural Events in Varanasi
Varanasi, the land of temples, the home land of Lord Shiva, is the topmost pilgrimage destination of India. Not only this city attracts pilgrims from across the world but also it welcomes huge number of tourists who are interested in exploring the heritage of India. Varanasi has a distinct culture full of traditions and rituals that are worth experiencing. Talking about the experiences, there are top 10 not to be missed festivals fairs and events in Varanasi that lets one get indulged in the beauty of the town. The top 10 not to be missed festivals fairs and events in Varanasi are as follows:
Maha Shivrati: Maha Shivratri is the most delightful festivals celebrated in the Varanasi city. This festival is the most important one for the people here because it is the marriage function of Lord Shiva. The Maha Shivrati experience in Varanasi is totally soulful and blissful. People from all parts of the world want to be a part of this festival in this city. A massive procession is carried out on this day and devotees try their heart and soul to please Lord Shiva.
Buddha Utsav: Sarnath is very close to Varanasi where Lord Buddha got enlightenment. A huge fair called Buddha Mahotsav is organized in Varanasi on this day to mark this occasion. During this fair, lots of items utilized by Lord Buddha himself is displayed for the public for Darshan purpose. Both Varanasi and Sarnath are beautifully decorated during this festival looking so gorgeous.
Makar Sankranti: Makar Sankranti is one of the important Hindu festivals that is lavishly celebrated in Varanasi. Experiencing the Makar Sankranti festival in Varanasi is truly a sight to behold. There is a strong message that this festival puts out in the world and that is about nurturing knowledge, transparency, and awareness. This festival takes place on the 14th January every year. A lot of sweet dishes and delicacies are relished on this day.
Annakut: Annakut is a very fun festival that takes place on the 4th day of Diwali every year. This day is considered as the first day of New Year for the Hindus according to the Vikram Samvat calendar. Most of the rituals of this festival are similar to the rituals of Diwali only. Lord Krishna is prayed during this festival and all Krishna temples are beautifully decorated on this day.
Dev Deepawali: Before Annakut, Deepawali is the festival that is celebrated in the most lavish way. Deepawali in Varanasi is exquisitely beautiful because of the grand celebration near the Ganga river. The ghats on the river Ganga are cleaned before this festival with a belief that Gods and Goddesses descend down on Earth. The ghats of Ganga is beautifully decorated with diyas and garlands on this day and the entire area echoes with the sound of hymns and prayers.
Ganga Mahotsav: The most important festival of Varanasi is the Ganga Mahotsav. There is a strong belief amongst the localities of the town that it is the holy river Ganga that provides nourishment and life to the people of Banaras. Hence, a 5 day festival is organised to celebrate the massiveness of this river. A lot of fun, unique, and lavish dance and music shows are organised on these days and various popular artists come to the town to display their art during this festival.
Panch Koshi Parikrama: This is a festival for the women and for them it is a very important one. There is a mythological belief that Panch Koshi Parikrama will only be completed when the devotees passes the five holy places of Shivpur, Rameshwar, Kapildhara, Kardmeshwar, and Bhimchandi. This Parikrama starts from the Manikarnika ghat and ends up there itself. Women who take part in this wake up early, take a holy dip in Ganga river, and fast for the whole time while doing parikrama.
Bharat Milap: Bharat Milaap is a part of the Ramlila festival that is held during the months of October and November. Bharat Milaap is the time when Bharat ji went to meet Lord Ram during his exile period. Both of them met and that time was said to be Bharat milaap meaning meeting of Lord Ram with Bharat ji. The most important part of Bharat Milaap is the presence of Kashi Naresh and his royal belongings adorned in ceremonial dress.
Chhath Puja: One of the biggest and the most auspicious festivals of the Hindus is the Chhath Puja. Varanasi is one of the cities where this festival is celebrated with extra zeal. The festival worships the setting and the rising sun on two days on the ghats of the holy rivers. Women and their families go near the ghats of the river and perform beautiful pujas. Women or men whoever do this festival have to undergo the fasting process.
Nakkatayya: This is another festival whose part if taken from the epic Ramayan. This festival is about the part when Lakshman chopped off Suparnakha’s nose. It happens during the mid October and its aim is marking victory of good over evil. A lot of parades and scenes are displayed and exhibited all over the narrow streets of the city.
These were some of the top 10 not be missed festivals fairs and events in Varanasi that showcase the beauty and charm of the city in its full glory. Varanasi, the spiritual capital of the city has a cultural authenticity that is unmatchable. Visiting the city during these festivals is the best way to explore Banaras and its olden charm. The rustic vibe of the city is even more pleasant during these times. There are several Varanasi tour packages on offer by Optima Travels.