8. Varanasi: Maharaja Boat Ride and Dinner
At around 5:00PM, your chauffeur will pick you up from your hotel and drive you to the Dashashwamedh Ghat, for a Maharaja boat ride with music and Ganga Aarti. Once you have reached the ghat, you will board the Maharaja boat, welcomed by a seller who is dressed up in a uniform complete with a garland and bouquet. The royal boat will be decorated with flowers, furnished with carpet, and you will be served some snacks and drinks like tea, coffee, cashew nuts, cookies and chocolates.
Once you go upstairs on the boat, you will see that the floor has been covered with white mattresses, one side of which renowned musicians will be sitting with a tabla and sitar. You can sit here on a chair or on the floor to enjoy the mesmerizing Indian classical music. After admiring the soothing Indian music and praising the art of the musicians, it will be time to watch the magical Ganga Aarti. You will be able to easily catch a glance of this one hour Ganga Aarti from the boat. This awe-inspiring Aarti will start a chant of mantra followed by harmonious hymns dedicated to Lord Shiva, Mata Ganga (Ganga River), Surya (the sun), and Agni (lord of fire). The prayer will be given by a group of priests dressed up in similar clothes (dhoti and kurta), who will be holding a multi-tiered heavy brass lamp and a conch shell.
This Aarti is splendid, with the ghats being overcrowded with people to witness this glorious Aarti. Every evening it seems to be the occasion at Dashashwamedh Ghat. After sightseeing this lavish Ganga Aarti, you will be taken to one of the famous restaurants in Varanasi for a tempting dinner, after which you will be dropped back at your hotel.