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Fair & Festival

Varanasi is the most popular pilgrimage place for the Hindus. The rich cultural heritage and tradition of Varanasi makes it the cultural capital of India. For ages, Varanasi has been a center of learning of Indian philosophy, spiritualism, mysticism and other branches of education. Varanasi is essentially a melting pot of Indian culture. In Hindu religion, it is believed that one, who diesFair Festival varanasi and is cremated at Varanasi, gets an instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and re-births. Being associated with Hindu traditions and religion, Varanasi is home to numerous temples, muths and Ashrams. By virtue of its religious and cultural importance, Varanasi is abuzz with fairs and festivals all round the year. Almost every month, some important festival is celebrated in Varanasi. Besides festivals and holidays, many "Melas" or fairs are also held at Varanasi. At Varanasi, fairs and festivals are celebrated with traditional gaiety and fervor and are symbolic of celebration of life at its best. The festive atmosphere never seems to end in Varanasi. It's not important to make itinerary according to the dates and months as one can come and enjoy the festive season of Varanasi anytime of the year!


This festival celebrates the birth of Lord Buddha with trditional religious fervour. A large fair is held at Sarnath and the relice of the Buddha are taken out for public display in a procession on this day.

The unique Ramleela of Ramnager performed in the pageant style, was started about 1830 by Maharaja Udit Narayan Singh of Banaras, and has today become famous the world over. Thousends gather to see the enactments during months of sep.- oct.Fair & Festival Varanasi

A five days music festival of Dhrupad is performed by renowned artistes at Tulsi Ghat. It is very popular among foreign tourists.

Jannotsav of Lord Hanuman is celebrated at Sankat Mochan Temple for five days with cultural & musical programmes by artistes from all over India.

BHARAT MILAP (at Nati Imli)
Celebreting Lord Ram’s return to Ayodhya after 14th years of exile and his reunion with his brother Bharat, this festivel is held the day following Dussehra. Attended by the Kashi Naresh resplendent in regal finery, the festival attracts a large number of devotlees.

Showing a story from Ramayan in which Surpanakha- the sister of Ravan- comes to entice Ram and then Lakshman. But Lakshman cuts her nose and she goes back crying. This act is enacted as a stage- play during mid oct. in the locality of Chetgung. Numerous processions and tableaux are also carried out on the occasion.

In a performance, Lord Krishana jumps into Ganga for Nag Nathan at the local Tulsi Ghat. It is famous as Nag Nathaiya Leela . Many people congregate to see this event, held during the months of Nov.-Dec.

On this day every Shiv Mandir is decorated. In Varanasi a marriage procession of Lord Shiva is taken out starting from Mahamrityunjaya Temple, Daranagar to Kashi Vishwanath Temple via Chowk.

It has a special importance in the ancient Parikrama of India, starting and finishing at ManiKarnika Ghat. Each Parikrama passes through five places: Kardmeshwar, Bhimchandi, Rameshwar, Shivpur & Kapil Dhara.

Ganga Mahotsav, the tourism festival of Varanasi is celebrated every year from Prabodhani Ekadashi to Kartik Purnima in the month of Oct.-Nov. The festival celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Varanasi.
Apart from the excelent cultural programmes and country boat race, displaying of marital arts also takes place. The concluding day coincides with the unique traditional festival of Dev Deepavali (light festivel of Gods), when more than a million erthen lamps (Diyas) are lit on the Ghats of Fair & Festival VaranasiGanga.

Makara Sankranti
falls on a freezing january day, yet all they ghats are crowded with worshippers as it is a particularly auspicious day to bathe in the Ganga. Local People celebrate the festival by eating khhichri (a rice and lentil dish) and a special sesame seed sweet. And the sky is dotted with colorful flying kites by late morning, every available open space is taken over by young men and boys excitedly battling over each others kites. from the muddy river hank near Assi Ghat to the wide steps of the ghats, now almost emptied of the early morning bathers, to the many terraces in the Pukka Mahal. all ring with shrill cries of Bhokatta, as someone's kite is downed.

Basant Panchami
Celebrates the arrival of spring or Basant. Women and children wear yellow clothes and offer yellow flowers, especially the first blossoms of the mango tree, to Saraswati, the goddess of learning and music.

Maha Shivaralri
Is, literally, the Great Night of Shiva. Celebrated on a moonless night in the month of Phalgun (February-March), it is the most important of all Varanasi's festivals, It celebrates the marriage of Shiva to goddess Parvati and a huge wedding procession called shiva baraat winds its way through the city's streets. People fast all day and keep vigil all night.
Every shiva temple, wayside shrine and solitary linga is covered with flowers bilva leaves and sandalwood paste. the crowds are deepest at Vishwanath and Kedareshwar temples and the narrow lanes leading to these temples are a solid mass of people from dawn to midnigh.

Rangbhari Ekadashi
Is lord Vishwanath's day for shringara or dressing . the linga is decorated with a four-faced silver covering, decorated with flowers, leaves, sandalwood paste, and vermilion powder.

Is the day when the city is caught up in a bacchanalia of colour, intoxicants, music and dance. This is the day to drink Thandai and eat sweets and savories laced with bluing, a derivative of cannabis. it is safer for visitors not to venture out on holi as the revelry often gets out of hand On this day, there is also a fair at Chausatti Ghat to honour the 64 yogini or female divinities particular to Varanasi.

Shitala Ashtami
As the dusty hear of summer begins. festivities subside. this is the time to worship the cooll goddesses, Ganga the river goddess and Shitala, the goddess of fevers.

Ganga Dashahara
The river is worshipped on Ganga Saptami when she descended to earth from heven and on c. when she entered the plains. the people show their love tor her by stringing garlands of flowers and trailing them across her waters.

In April falls the first Navaratra, the nine nights that honour the goddess Durga- Gauri This is also the season when pilgrims perform the Panchkroshi Yatra.

The city of tulsi Das celebrates tlie birth of Lord Rama on Ramnavami with 24- hour readings from his epic, Ramcharitmanas.

Id-ul-Fitr marks the end of Ramzan, a month of fasting for the devout Muslim. People celebrate with new clothes and special food. Fair & Festival Varanasi

Later, on Muharram, Muslims commemorate the martyrdom of Imam Hussain by parading tazias or paper-and-tinsel replicas of the holy tomb at Karbala. The rainy months are a period of spiritual retreat, especially significant for Buddhists. Traditionallv, the itinerant monks come to Sarnath during the monsoons to stay in the temples and monasteries there. This is also the time Hindus perform Prayaschita. the rites of atonement for the sins of the past year at the Ghats, followed by a cleansing dip in the river. Then come festivals of two of the most loved gods of the Hindu pantheon. On Ganesh Chaturthi the benign elephant-headed god of prosperity is worshipped, while Janamashtami is the birthday of Lord Krishna. On this day, temples resound to chants and people decorate their homes with tableaux depicting scenes from Krishna's life.
Bakr Id, the feast of sacrifice, is celebrated by Muslims with great fervour usually in this season. After prayers at the mosques people go to each others homes and celebrate the occasion with joyous feasting.

The fortnight of the Pitripaksha, dedicated to the worship of ancestors, has great religious significance for Hindus at Varanasi Pilgrims perform shraddha, the funeral rites at the ghats for those family members who have died during the past year.

Durga Puja
At the end of pitripaksha, starts the five-day Durga Puja celebrated mainly by bengalis. Clay images of goddess Durga are worshipped to the chant of prayers and the beating of drums. The first Durga Puja outside Bengal was celebrated in Varanasi in 1773.

On Deepavali or Diwali, the city is transformed into a fairyland of golden lights. the day commemorates the return of lord Rama to Ayodhay with his wife Sita and brother Laxman after fourteen years in exile. on a moonless night of kartik balconies, temples and ghats glow with lamps. on this day Lakshmi the goddess of wealth is welcomed into newly-cleaned homes and businessmen begin new account books.

Kartik Purnima
Through the month ot Kartik, akash deep(literally sky Lanps) are lit on Panchagana Ghat. These are earthenware lamps on bamboo poles raised skyward by widows to show their husbands the way to heaven. On c, the full moon night, a tall pillar, the Deephajara Sthambha holding a thousand lamps, is lit on top of the ghat. Kartik Purnima is also celebrated as Dev Diwali, literally Diwali for the gods. when the ghats of Varanasi are decorated with thousand of oil lamps.

Nag Nathaiya
Nag Nathaiya at Tulsi Chat is part of the 20-day long Krishna Leela, celebrating the exploits of Lord Krishna.

Ram Leela
During the nine nights of Navaratra, in October, people watch the folk theatre of the Ram Leela that tells the story of the Ramayana. Varanasi's oldest is the Adi Ramleela performed at Lat Bhairav. This performance has no dialogue, just a series of pageants called jhankis. The most famous Ram Leela is the month-long one held at Ramnagar. It is based on Tulsi Das' version, Romcharitmanas. This elaborate folk theatre has. over the years, acquired the saiutity of a religious ritual. traditionally patronis, the Raja of Kashi, the state government has of late stepped in with financial support.

Anant Chaturdashi
The performance begins on Anant Chaturdashi and the scenes are enacted in a series of sets constructed across the town and the audience moves with the play. Thus maior episodes from the Ramayana, like Ram Janamotsav (the birth of Lord Rama) and Dhanush Bhang (Rama's stringing of the Shiva's bow to win princess Sita), are performed at different sites. over 30 days the ram leela moves over 24 kms. the actors in their dazzling costumes, elaborate make up and papier mache masks recreate a story the audience known by heart and forever enjoys.

On Dussehra even as images of goddess Durga are immersed in the river giant effigies of the demon king Ravana his brother Kumbhakarna and son Meghanath are blown up in a sparking shower of fire works.

Navaratari Mela
Ramnavami Mela
Gazi Miyan Mela -Saptami Mela
Ganga Dashara Mela
Nirjala Ekadashi Mela
Asnan Jatara Mela
Rath-Jatra Mela
Sankuldhara Mela
Briddhkal Mela
Durga Mela
Nag-Panchami Mela
Kajari Mela
Lolarik Chhath Mela
Ram Lila Mela
Dhan Teras Mela
Diwali Mela
Kartika Purnima Mela
Panchkroshi Mela
Lota-Bhanta Mela
Ganesh Chauth Mela
Shiv-Ratarti Mela
Bhurawa-Mangal Mela

Fairs and Festivals of Varanasi Varanasi is a city of about four hundred Fairs and festivals. It is being said that in seven days of a weeks Varanasi observe nine festivals. Each day that drawn in Varanasi observes a fair or Festival, many off which are either exclusive to it or celebrated in a distinctive local style of its own.

Held at Durga Kund during the first nine days of the month of Chaitra. Hindus visit the Temple of Durga Kund from about 3'0 clock in the morning. On the 7th and 8th days of the crowd of votaries increase to upwards of ten thousands. At this Festival thousands of sheep's and Goats are offered in sacrifice. The worshippers visit not only the Shrine but also the Temple's of Annapurna, Sankata and Bageshwari

Held at the Ram Ghat, on the 9th day of Chaitra in the early morning people of Hindu religion take bath together at the Ghat, and Worships Ram in the neighboring Temple Fair & Festival

Held at the Gazi Miyan Dargah, Bakaria Kund, on the First Sunday in Month of Jyestha. This is the Muslim community Festival Celebrated in Honor of the Nephew of the celebrated Mahmood of Gazni

Held on the Banks of the Ganges; on the 7th day of Jyestha .this day is regarded, by Hindus, as the Birthday of the Goddess of Ganges, who is said to have sprang out of the thigh of Jahnu Rishi. Formally, the idol representing the Goddess was simply worshipped; but, of the late years, a mela has held, accompanied with the nach or dancing. At night thousands of people assemble to take in the festivities.

Held on the banks of the Ganges, on the 10th day of Jyestha, light fortnight; on which day the birth of the River Ganga or Ganges is believed to have occurred. Hindus both male and female, bath in the River, and gives alms to the Brahmans. a curious prevails amongst the young Girls of the Middle classes , who, on this day, float their Gudiyas or Dolls on the River, and for the next four months , refrain , not only from amusing themselves with them selves with , them but also from the use of all playthings

Held at the Assi Ghat, at the Temple of Jaganath on the 15th day of Jyestha. The image of Jaganath is bathed on this day, and toward evening is exhibited to his votaries, on the terrace of the Temple. This mela is less frequented than in former times

Held in the garden of Pandit Beni Ram, on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th days of Asarh. the idol of Jaganath is Brought out of the Temple at Assi Ghat and placed or car , - a particular Vehicle with a large number of wheels ,-for three successive days , in imitation of the grand festival that take palace at the Temple of Jaganath , in Orissa. Throngs of people of all classes attend this mela; and on the third day as many as thirty Thousands persons are Supported to be present

Held at the sankuldhara Tank, which is also called the Dwaraka- tirth or place of pilgrimage. According to the Kashi Khanda, it is esteemed a sacred act to bathe in this tank on this day. Formerly the native Aristocracy used to assemble here in the garden of Champat Rai Amin, in order to witness the dancing; but this custom seems to have been discontinued. Indeed the Mela it self is now in a state of Decline

Held in the Briddhakal Mohhala or Ward, near the Temple of the same name, every Sunday in the Month of Sawan. It is said that Dhanwantary, a Great Hindu Physician of antiquity, threw his medicine beg into the spring, hence the healing Virtues which is believed to have acquired. The water is used by the natives both for bathing and drinking, as remedy for disease of all kinds, but especially for those affecting the Skin. Near the well is a reservoir a few feet deep of Dirty a refuse water called Amrit kund or well of immorality. This also held to be of Great Virtue in removing continuous disease of contagious character and like wise Leprosy. Sick persons, first of all bathe in the filthy water of this reservoir and after wards washes their bodies with the water of well

Held at Durga Kund or tank, every Tuesday in Sawan. Durga Kund and the Temple being in the Suburbs of the city, with many Spacious gardens in their vicinity, the people avail themselves of this Fair, which occurs at the commenencment of the rainy Season, to visit the gardens and enjoy themselves. Upwards of Thirty Thousand persons are present on the last Tuesday of the Month

Held at Nag kuan or serpent's as well, on the Fifth days of the sawan, this well is Spoken of, in Hindus writings, as karkotak Nag Tirtha or place of pilgrimage Hindus of all ranks, and of both sexes, attend the mela and bathe in the Well, returning quickly to their homes; and only persons of loose character prolong their stay. It is common to purchase idols representing this deity, and to carry them home for worship. In the evening of the day, cowherds, or people of the Aheer (yadava) caste, assemble together in various places, for Wrestling's and other Sports

At this mela women fast, and bathe groups, in places of reputed Sanctity. Ganges of guanahris, female singers of a very and abandoned character, visit Sankuldhara and Ishwar Gangi, singing kajari songs to the bathers men of the same vicious tastes also resort to the same places, and listen to the songs , and pay the Guanahris money.

Held at the Lolark Well, near Assi Sangam, on the 6th day of the month of August. Hindu of both Sexes bathe in the Well on this day, in Honor of the Sun. the Guanahris visit this place , as at the Kajari Mela ; and hence this Festival is rather a concourse of Dissolute persons.

Held at Lakshmi Kund or Tank, from the 8th day August month, sudi •to the 8th day of the Waning Moon of Kuar, and kept up, therefore the sixteen days. Hindus especially Females, bathes in the Kund, and visit the Temple of Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth. On the last day of the mela thousands throng the Temple from morning to night

 Places to Visit

  Being the oldest city of the world and an important   Hindu pilgrimage center, Varanasi attracts a large   number of people from all over the world. For   centuries, Varanasi is famous for spiritualism, .