Religious festivals in Varanasi
On Mahashivaratri (February) – which is dedicated to Shiva – a procession of Shiva proceeds from the Mahamrityunjaya Temple to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
Dhrupad Mela is a five-day musical festival devoted to dhrupad style held at Tulsi Ghat in February–March.
The Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple celebrates Hanuman Jayanti (March–April), the birthday of Hanuman with great fervour. A special puja, aarti, and a public procession is organized. Starting in 1923, the temple organizes a five-day classical music and dance concert festival titled Sankat Mochan Sangeet Samaroh in this period, when iconic artists from all parts of India are invited to perform.
The Ramlila of Ramnagar is a dramatic enactment of Rama's legend, as told in Ramacharitamanasa.The plays, sponsored by Kashi Naresh, are performed in Ramnagar every evening for 31 days. On the last day, the festivities reach a crescendo as Rama vanquishes the demon king Ravana. Kashi Naresh Udit Narayan Singh started this tradition around 1830.
Bharat Milap celebrates the meeting of Rama and his younger brother Bharata after the return of the former after 14 years of exile. It is celebrated during October–November, a day after the festival of Vijayadashami. Kashi Naresh attends this festival in his regal attire resplendent in regal finery. The festival attracts a large number of devotees.
Krishna standing on serpent Kaliya during Nag Nathaiya festival in Varanasi
Nag Nathaiya, celebrated on the fourth lunar day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu month of Kartik (October–November), that commemorates the victory of the God Krishna over the serpent Kaliya. On this occasion, a large Kadamba tree (Neolamarckia cadamba) branch is planted on the banks of the Ganges so that a boy acting the role of Krishna can jump into the river on to the effigy representing Kaliya. He stands over the effigy in a dancing pose playing the flute; the effigy and the boy standing on it is given a swirl in front of the audience. People watch the display standing on the banks of the river or from boats.
Ganga Mahotsav is a five-day music festival organized by the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department, held in November–December culminating a day before Kartik Poornima (Dev Deepawali). On Kartik Poornima also called the Ganges festival, the Ganges is venerated by arti offered by thousands of pilgrims who release lighted lamps to float in the river from the ghats.
Annually Jashne-Eid Miladunnabi is celebrated on the day of Barawafat in huge numbers by Muslims in a huge rally coming from all the parts of the city and meeting up at Beniya Bagh.