As per Hindu Mythology, the creator Brahma himself created Dashashwamedh Ghat to welcome Lord Shiva and sacrificed 10 horses in a Yagna, hence the name Dashashwamedh Ghat ( Dasha= 10, Ashwa: Horses, Medh: Sacrifice, hence= अश्वमेध aśvamedhá; “horse sacrifice“).
This aarti was performed when Lord Shiva visited the city, it was repeated when various Maharajas visited these ghats to take a holy dip in the then pristine waters of “Ganga Maiya” as the Ganges is known to a nation of a billion plus people. But most of all it is repeated every single day for the average pilgrim coming to Varanasi from every part of India.
Every evening thousands of visitors assemble at Dashashwamedh Ghat, to view the spectacle of evening Aarti in Varanasi. Though this tradition itself may be thousands of years old, in the modern days the Aarti is a choreographed show with priests in traditional Indian clothes using huge deepams and mashals or Cressets, moving to the tune of melodious Aarti and Bhajans.
Hundreds of pilgrims, photographers, and tourists rent boats to watch the show, as it unfolds every evening. Spectators occupy every inch of the Ghats, boats, and even nearby rooftops on hotels and ashrams and akharas.
As the momentum picks up, the lamps are lit, fragrant smoke from incense sticks rises with the chants of mantras and engulfs the surroundings. With bright colorful lights and popping flash bulbs from cameras, the smoke forms a cloak of mystery as soul-stirring songs transform you to another time and dimension.
Ticket: There is no ticket for the same, but you need to pay for boats if you rent the same to watch the Aarti, the price will depend on your negotiation skills, and if you want boat exclusively for you or are willing to share it with others. If you want a higher vantage point you can pay 50-100 Rs to watch it from a nearby rooftop, but remember the performers face the Ganges so you will have to wait for them to turn towards you to click pictures during the choreography.