Varanasi has more festivals than you can imagine that reflect and celebrate the culture and religion of the area. Join Varanasi Old City Tours for a guided tour on special festival days to participate and really understand the true meaning of these festivals and ceremonies first hand!
There is possibly not a single month, when Varanasi is not preparing or in the midst of a festival. The city celebrates its festivals with such zealous fervour, that it is difficult not to get drawn into the carnivalesque atmosphere. Pick any month and you will find some festival to plan your trip around. Some of the most celebrated festivals which are not to be missed are listed below. Apart from these major festivals people also visit Varanasi for other festivals including Chhat Puja, Buddh Purnima, Navratris, Ganesh Chaturthi, Kumbh Mela, Ganga Dussehera, Durga Puja and many more. There is never a dull moment in the city.
One of the most sacred month long festivals celebrated in the city each year at the end of September, the Ram Lila of Varanasi is an overwhelming experience. The month long festival which basically involves storytelling sessions and enactments from the epic Ramayana, takes place in the satellite town of Ramnagar, just across the river from Assi Ghat. A large field, a school stage, a lake and the fort become part of the moving stages. Children, who play the part of the lead roles in the story move from one stage to another with the whole town in tow. The festival is almost holy for the locals here and these children are treated like the Gods for the entire month.
If heading towards the holy city of Kashi, let one of our Varanasi Old City Tours guides take you on a tour to Ramnagar to see the performances and secret spots first hand. Please contact us in advance to set up a custom tour, just for you!
If you want to celebrate Deepavali with the Gods, Varanasi is where you should be headed. The fifteenth day after Diwali is when, devotees believe, the Gods descend from the heavens to celebrate the festival on the ghats. The ghats are washed, cleaned and hundres of people come to make Rangolis (beautiful colorful mandalas applied on the ground with colored pigment) before lighting thousands of clay lamps (diyas) on the steps along the entire length of the riverfront – visually, the scene is absolutely spectacular. The Ganga Mahotsav precedes the festival, and the ghats come alive as a platform to present Varanasi’s performing arts and crafts for four days. Kushti competitions, traditional games, different cuisines, music and dance performances are held for the duration of the festival which ends with Dev Deepavali.
A boat tour is a must on this night! There is no better way to watch the thousands of glowing and flickering candles lining the Ganga steps. Boats fill us fast…meaning months in advance, so don’t wait to make your arrangements. It is a vision of majestic beauty that you will never forget. Please contact us in advance to set up a custom boat tour just for you or reserve on our set Dev Deepavali Boat Tour.
Festival Date: November 25, 2015
Five days of musical extravaganza unfolds on the Tulsi Ghat in Varanasi every year. Dhrupad is one of the oldest type of Hindustani classical music, which was made popular by Swami Haridas, the Guru of Tansen. The festival takes place to commemorate his contribution to music, bringing many famous musicians of India on one platform. The festival has become a major tourist attraction over the years—book your stay well in advance.
Varanasi Old City Tours can help to make any arrangements you need for this event. Our knowledgeable guides can give you some history and local insight to the event as well. Please contact us in advance to set up a custom tour, just for you!
Festival Dates: February 18, 2020
Join in the marriage procession (baraat) of none other than Lord Shiva on this day. The city is thrown into a frenzy as hundreds of small troupes carry bedecked Shiva idols in processions to the Shiva temples. According to mythology, this day celebrates Shiva’s marriage to Goddess Parvati. In true Varanasi style, the day cannot be bereft from bhaang and sweets, which are offered on roadsides to anyone passing by. The processions usually start in the evenings and the celebrations go on until the wee hours of the morning. An entry into the ever important Kashi Vishwanath temple on this day is almost impossible due to the masses of pilgrims, is also worth a visit just for the experience of it.
Take a custom walking tour with one of our expert guides at Varanasi Old City Tours to see where the devotees are going, what they are doing and why. Please contact us in advance to set up a custom tour, just for you!
Festival Date: February 21, 2020.
The dusty streets of Varanasi are doused in color and bhaang during the Hindu festival of Holi. Varanasi Old City Tours will show you the safest and best places to join in the colorful and joyous festivities. This is one festival which is best experienced with a knowledgeable and trusted local. Though caution during the festival is recommended, one cannot but help love the carefree vibe and the zealous celebrations in the city of Shiva.
Varanasi Old City Tours will show you the safest and best places to join in the colorful and joyous festivities. Please contact us in advance to set up a custom tour, just for you!
Festival Date: March 9, 2020