Dashashwamedh is Varanasi’s largest and most spectacular ghat. Each evening at sunset, crowds gather on it to watch a spectacular ritual in which a row of bare-chested Hindu ‘pandits’ or priests, dressed in saffron robes, swing large, smoking oil lamps and sacred fires in tightly choreographed routines. ‘Ganga Aarti’, as the ceremony is known, has taken place on the banks of the Ganges for many centuries, but only in recent decades has it taken this larger-than-life form.

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