Varanasi is known as the cultural capital of India. This historical city is in fact of the major pilgrim destination for the whole world! The Holy River Ganges flows through the city rendering it character and mystic quality which is its heritage since many decades.
The best thing about Varanasi or Banaras is that any time is the best time to visit this Indian city! It means that the city conducts year round festivals that guarantee everyone a gala time and a chance to get involved in a cultural festival almost every month!
The season of festivals kick start in Varanasi and throughout India in the month of spring i.e. form Mid February to late April. If you are planning to visit Varanasi soon then you might have a look at the following festivals celebrated in their corresponding months
Shivratari or Mahashivratari a festival related with the Hindu God Lord Shiva is celebrated in late February or early march period quite lavishly in Varanasi.
The city can be seen decked up in the festival colors of Shivratari with devotees from all over the country coming for a holy swim in River Ganga for the occasion. It is national festival celebrated through India with much aplomb. One another interesting fact about this festival is the consumption of much talked about cannabis based drink called ‘Bhang’ prepared especially for the festival of Mahashivratari.
In May comes the festival of Buddha Purnima which marks the arrival of Lord Buddha. Sarnath a town just 13km or 18 miles to the north east of Varanasi host this annual festival on the day rumored to be Lord Buddha’s birth day on earth.
The month of October and November marks the arrival of national festival of Diwali which is celebrated with fervor and joy throughout the country. It’s a national holiday and also known as the festival of lights. On this day, the whole nation is bathed in the lights of millions of lamps on every street and corner. Colorful decorations can be seen everywhere.
People showcase their job by exchanging gifts and sweets with their loved ones and bursting firecrackers. Diwali of Varanasi is quite famous as it is preceded by the annual Ram Lila [dramatization of the events leading to Diwali]. It follows the life of Lord Rama his wife Sita and the defeat of demon Ravana on the hands of Lord Rama on stage!
Based over 30 nights before Diwali, this traditional Ram Lila fascinates people from all over the world who to come take part in this colorful costume, musical drama.
Another major festival that falls in the month of October or November is Ganga Festival [Ganga Mahotsav] which is spread over a period of 5 whole days including loads of traditional rituals and worshipping offered to Holy River Ganga.
Besides this one can also have fine time visiting the cultural spots of Varanasi ranging from its famous Ghats [ Dasawamdh, Manikarnika, Asi Ghats] temples [ Kasi Vishwanath, Sankat Mochan, Bharat Mata Mandir], Sarnath, Ramgarh fort, China fort and many more.
While you are in Banaras, it would be quite fun to dress up in the traditional attire of the city famous throughout the world. Varanasi besides being a cultural city is also the centre of manufacturing and trading of Banarasi saris famous throughout the world.
A pride of every Indian woman, these exquisite Banarasi sarees which are crafted in various styles and designs are available at established Banarasi sari stores in Banaras.
In case you don’t know from where to get your very own Banarasi sari, visit Rajan Silk Stores in Banaras. It is famous for its rare Banarasi saris, Banarasi silk scarves and bridal Banarasi saris available for all budgets!
Have a gala time in Varanasi this year with its many festivals and traditional Banarasi saris!