Photographing the sunrise Aarti

Many people here refer to Varanasi as the city of ‘learning and burning’, with education and self-consiounesses being held in high esteem. As such aarti is performed in the evenings, as mentioned in a previous post, and at sunrise. The aarti is a Hindu worship or puja (ritual), involving the circulation of burning lamps before the river, representing an offering and also a purification – as aarti descends from the Sanskrit meaning of removing darkness.

During the ceremony each element of life; fire from the lamps, earth from the flowers, water as liquidity, a peacock fan as movement and air and a yak-tail fan as space are offered to Shiva. Hindu rituals are quite extravagant, and involve singing and chanting, as well as meditation and breathing – which are also central components of the faith.

Below are some pictures of the sunrise aarti at Assi Ghat in Varanasi, performed from around 5:30 to 7am – today was cloudy and there has been some stormy weather lately, so hopefully some better sunrise pictures to come.

It is interesting to witness the centrality that religion and spirituality have in everyday life here – and waters central role within it.

The priests at the end of the ritual
The congregation joining in the end of the celebration 
Performing morning rituals 
Finding some peace in the city

One thought on “Photographing the sunrise Aarti

  1. Hi Eleanor – I was out with Rob last night and he directed me to your blog. Reading it has brought back so many memories of my times in India. As you are finding India is a complex country and certainly makes you think differently about all aspects of life and what we take for granted. It’s never easy in India, but it can be so rewarding in many different ways. Also appreciate the heat this time of year (pre-monsoon) – have been in Chennai with temperatures in the high 40’s. Hope you continue to enjoy your time in India, look forward to reading more of your posts. Keep safe and well. My very best regards – Terry


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