Known as the spiritual capital of India, Varanasi is an ancient city that sits along the banks of the sacred Ganges River. The daily Ganga Aarti ceremony, performed at dusk, is a sight to behold with chanting, the ringing of bells, flames dancing and offerings made to the Goddess Ganga. To view the ceremony while gently floating down the river on a small boat as the sun sets is a magical and quintessentially Indian experience. This is a celebration of ancient traditions and an opportunity to immerse oneself in the mystical aura of Varanasi.
Varanasi Ganga Aarti Boat Booking Details
|Ganga Aarti Varanasi Place
|Dashaswamedh Ghat Assi Ghat
|Boat Pickup Ghat (Your Nearest Ghat)
|NAMO Ghat Dashaswamedh Ghat Assi Ghat
|Evening Ganga Aarti Time ?
|06:30 PM-07:00 PM
|Boat Ride Timing?
|04:30 PM-07:00 PM
|Private Motor Boat (1-6 Per)
|₹ 2,999/-*(Assi- Manikarnika Ghat) 50 Ghats
₹ 3,499/-*(Assi- NAMO Ghat) 84 Ghats
|Private Bajra Boat (1-30 Per)
|₹ 10,000/-*(Assi- NAMO Ghat) All 84 Ghats
Planning Your Boat Ride
Timing is everything when it comes to witnessing the Ganga Aarti from the vantage point of a boat on the river. The ceremony takes place every evening just around sunset, usually between 6pm-7pm depending on the season. For the best experience, you’ll want to coordinate your boat ride to float past the main ghat just as the ceremony is getting started. A sunset ride will be awash in golden light as the diyas are lit and the smoke rises into the dusk sky.
There are multiple ghats along the Ganges where you can embark on a boat ride, each with their own charms. Dashashwamedh Ghat is the main one directly in front of the main aarti ceremony. Raja Ghat is popular with locals and has a festive atmosphere. Manmandir Ghat further north offers spectacular views of the cremation ghats. Speak with your boat operator ahead of time to coordinate the optimal ghat to depart from.
When it comes to types of boats, you can choose between joining a shared boat with other travelers or booking a private boat for your party. Shared boats are more affordable but won’t guarantee space up front. The traditional row boats give a more authentic experience, but motorized boats allow you to cover more distance on the river. Discuss your preferences with the boatman to secure the right vessel.
Rates for boat rides fluctuate but you can expect to pay around 500-600 rupees per person for a 1-hour shared boat ride. A private boat seating up to 4 people will run 1500-2000 rupees total. Be prepared to bargain, as starting prices may be higher. Agree on the rate beforehand to avoid hassles later. You can also book online through tour companies prior to arrival.
As far as what to wear and bring, modest clothing is recommended out of respect for local culture. This means no shorts or tank tops. Bring a scarf or cap to wear as the temperatures can rapidly cool after sunset. Don’t forget bug spray and a camera to capture photos, but avoid using flash during the ceremony. Light jackets and snacks are also recommended for comfort during your ride.
Ganga Aarti Varanasi From Boat with Pricing
“Subah-e-Banaras” and “Evening Ganga Aarti”
|No. of Person
|Rowing Boat per ride
Morning / Evening Boat Ride (Dashaswemedh to Harischandra to Manikarnika)
|No. of Person
|2000 (01-04 pax)
|3000 (05-09 pax)
|4000 (10-15 pax)
Kashi Darshan on Boat (Assi to Rajghat)
|No. of Person
|15000 (01-10 pax)
Ram Nagar Fort via Boat Ride
|No. of Person
|15000 (01-10 pax)
|20000 (11-35 pax)
Dev Deepawali Special Rate (For entire Ghats of Varanasi for 1-2 Hrs)
|No. of Person
The Boat Ride Experience
Arriving at the agreed upon ghat 30 minutes before dusk, crowds of locals and pilgrims animate the steps leading down to the water. Our boatman signals us to carefully descend and take a seat on the mats spread across the wooden plank flooring. At first we float slowly, almost motionless, taking in the incredible sights surrounding us. Ancient palaces and monuments dating back thousands of years line the shore, juxtaposed against bathing pilgrims and modern buildings.
Our boat picks up speed as we approach the main ghat where the Ganga Aarti ceremony will take place. The reach is packed with boats jostling for position, their boatmen yelling to each other as they try to secure the best viewpoint. The sun hovers just above the horizon, painting the brown waters golden. Bells ring out and a mesmerizing chant emanates from shore. Our boatman uses his oar to gently position our boat into place.
On the ghat, a huge crowd has gathered, their eyes fixed on the elevated platform where seven priests begin their carefully choreographed movements. The lead priest circles a giant lamp in motions representing the five elements. Bells chime, conch shells are blown, and the air fills with smoke from the ceremonial fires. We can almost make out the words of the Vedic hymns being chanted over the loudspeakers. Dozens of diyas float lit down the river around us. The scale of the experience from our tiny boat compared to the mass of humanity on shore makes me feel at one with something bigger than myself.
Beyond the Aarti
After basking in the aura of the Aarti ceremony, our boatman paddles us further downriver. We pass scenes of everyday life – women washing clothes and praying, pilgrims taking a ritual dip, funeral pyres smoking in the distance. A pack of stray dogs rests lazily on the steps leading down to the river. The setting sun bathes the crumbling palaces and stone shrines in a warm golden glow. Cows wander along the water’s edge, adding to the timeless atmosphere. The boat ride allows us to take in the sights and sounds in a peaceful, measured way that a walking tour could never replicate.
The boatman expertly navigates shallow areas and other boats with swift motions of his long oar. As we approach a busy cremation ghat, he gives us a knowing look and paddles to the opposite bank to avoid offending mourners. Before returning upriver, we pass lingams submerged in the water, remnants of ancient flooded temples. The changing perspectives of Varanasi during the 1-hour boat ride have given me insight into the city’s rich history and spiritual significance to millions of Hindus.
Tips & Recommendations
From booking your perfect boat ride to respectfully enjoying the splendid views, here are some top tips for making the most of your Ganga Aarti experience:
– Arrive at least an hour before sunset to negotiate your boat ride and secure a prime spot. Be prepared to wait.
– Don’t be afraid to bargain, but keep negotiations friendly and pay the agreed upon rate.
– During the ceremony, keep noise to a minimum and avoid using flash photography to respect the sanctity of the Aarti.
– Dress conservatively by covering legs and shoulders. Take care not to touch or offend mourners at cremation ghats.
– Consider hiring a guide to enrich your understanding of the cultural significance surrounding you.
– Make time to explore the alleyways of Varanasi or visit Sarnath to gain a fuller appreciation of this holy city beyond the boat ride.
Taking an early morning boat ride to witness locals bathing or fishing can also add perspective before the city bustles to life. However you choose to experience it, Varanasi has an energy and spiritual presence that envelops you slowly like its hazy sunsets.
A sunset boat ride down the Ganges culminating in the Ganga Aarti ceremony offers a profoundly stirring perspective on one of India’s holiest cities. As an immersive cultural experience, it’s hard to match floating in near silence past ancient palaces and monuments before witnessing the choreographed ritual unfold onshore. The chanting, ringing bells, floating diyas and vertiginous views of the crowded ghats will stay with you long after your boat ride is over. This is India at its exotic, mesmerizing best. Whether you’re seeking spiritual transcendence or just want a unique way to admire Varanasi’s endlessly fascinating sights along the Ganges, add a sunset Ganga Aarti boat ride to the itinerary of your dreams. The sights and sounds will live long in your memory.
FAQs Related To Ganga Aarti Boat ride in Varanasi
Here are the answers to the FAQs about Ganga Aarti boat rides in Varanasi:
How much does a boat ride cost in Varanasi?
The cost of a boat ride in Varanasi to see the Ganga Aarti ceremony ranges from Rs. 500 per person for a shared boat to Rs. 1500-2000 for a private boat ride. Prices can be higher during peak seasons.
Which one is best cruise in Varanasi?
For experiencing the Ganga Aarti ceremony, a sunset cruise from Dashashwamedh Ghat is considered the best. Other top boat rides depart from Manmandir Ghat or Raja Ghat.
Which Ghat is best for boat ride in Varanasi?
Dashashwamedh Ghat is the most popular for Ganga Aarti boat rides in Varanasi as it offers prime views of the ceremony and festive atmosphere. Departing from here allows you to float right by as the rituals commence.
What is the cost of Banaras luxury cruise?
Luxury cruises with dining and on-board entertainment in Varanasi start at around Rs. 2000 per person and go up to Rs. 5000 or more for premium evening cruises including the Ganga Aarti experience.
What is the cost of Ganga cruise per person?
Basic 1-hour Ganga river cruises cost around Rs. 300-500 per person for shared boats in Varanasi. Private cruises are Rs. 1200-1800 for up to 4 people. Luxury cruises are Rs. 2000 per person and up.
What is the cost of Ganga Vilas cruise ticket?
Tickets for the luxury Ganga Vilas dinner cruise in Varanasi cost around Rs. 5000-6000 per person. This includes on-board entertainment and meals while sailing past the Ganga Aarti.
What is the best time for boat ride in Banaras?
The best time is the evening at sunset to witness the Ganga Aarti ceremony from a boat in Varanasi. Sunrise is also pleasant for early morning boat rides.
What is the best time to go on boat ride in Varanasi?
The optimal time for a boat ride to see the Ganga Aarti is just before sunset around 6pm. This allows you to float by as the ceremony begins while benefiting from golden sunset lighting.
Where to start boat ride in Varanasi?
Most boat rides for the Ganga Aarti depart from Dashashwamedh Ghat. Manmandir Ghat and Raja Ghat are also popular starting points to sail past the ceremony.
Which is the most beautiful ghat in Varanasi?
Dashashwamedh Ghat is considered the most beautiful and significant ghat in Varanasi. It offers the best views of the Ganga Aarti ceremony from boats and has a stunning expansive stairway entrance.
What is the cost of Kashi boat ride?
A basic 1-hour Kashi boat ride along the Ganges in Varanasi costs around Rs. 300-500 per person in a shared boat. Private boats are around Rs. 1500-1800.