How photograph Ganga Aarti in Varanasi

Photograph Ganga Aarti

At sunset, the Dasaswamedh Ghat in Varanasi fills up to attend the Ganga Aarti ceremony. In fact, every day here we celebrate a majestic ritual of thanksgiving to the river goddess, Ganga. The rite is one of the most sacred and emotional takes place in India.

The Ganga Aarty Ceremony

The ceremony start at the rhythm of the bahjan, a Hindu chant rhythmed by the jingle of small bells, the ceremony start. It is officiated by pandits, Sanskrit scholars belonging to the Brahmin caste, on a wooden stage in front of the banks of the Ganges. Usually it is attended by the whole community: the citizens, the pilgrims who have come from all over and the sadhus. After blowing inside a shell, to eliminate all the negativities, the priests begin their dance: waving incense sticks, rotate candelabra and raise lanterns of fire. The Ganga Aarti lasts about 45 minutes, during which the air is saturated with the scent of sandalwood and the sound of bells becomes more and more deafening.

When the ceremony draws to a close, the priests leave the stage. The Hindus believe that, during the rite, the lantern fire turns into the body of the goddess Ganga. For this reason, the flame is brought to the faithful and they place their hands on it to collect its heat.

Pre Ganga Aarti photograph preparations

Once you’ve got your gear together, you need to prepare like a highly organized person to have a successful photography event or ceremony. After knowing when and where it is the ceremony, try to get there in advance, at least half an hour. Also figure out what kind of subject you want to shooting, and what story you want to tell. Indeed more information you have and more easy will be to have an idea that place. Indeed is better doing some research. So do you job and search for works made in the past by greater photographer in India, like Raghu Rai . From them you will be learning a lot of things.

photograph Ganga Aarti

How photograph Ganga Aarti

Get there in advance, know some local and be familiar with the place. For example, usually I come to camel fair Festival in Pushkar every time one week in advance and is really worth. I get confident and even i participated for many years i’d like to start to feeling the place, make some new friend and interacting with the locals. So when the action come i fell really integrated. This will give a better opportunity to find a good vantage point. In crowd events get a higher vantage point. In fact usually the local photographers brought small ladders and stools that allowed them to shoot the action without thousands of heads in their frame. This is a smart and extremely practical idea.

photograph Ganga Aarti

Shooting Methods and techniques

Like to capture some photography festivals, the people are the stars of the show and how their connected is where has to be the focus. So photography the Ganga Aarti is about seeking out poignant moments, powerful expressions, and often just waiting to appear.

I made a list with some practical advice

  • Look around and watch people interact, wait for the right moment. Then pay attention to the looks in people’s eyes.
  • Check the light and right exposure of the different spot
  • Don’t try often to shoot a wonderful to create complex images capturing the people, the background, or multiple things happening at once.
  • When a powerful moment happens, get in there and frame what’s most important.
  • Learn to have a good feel for what is going on so they can anticipate what is going to happen. 
  • Have fun
  • Capture the best candid moments of the event 

Take time to Master

Photograph Ganga Aarti is a process, which makes it different from a pure art form. When you’re just taking pictures for fun, you can concentrate more on the artsy side of things. During an event, though, various factors pressure you to run a tight ship. There’s the length of the event, the difficult indoor lighting, the etiquette, the attitudes of the guests. Don’t worry about it and have fun.

photograph Ganga Aarti

Respect the religion

When you photograph Ganga Aarti remember to respect their culture, religion and law. The locals are really friendly but they are really strictly about certain issues and religion. This event is Like any other strictly places, temple and the sacred site, where there are some unwritten code. For having more information on responsible travel photography check my other post.

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