A Hindu priest holds up an offering of fire to Mother Ganga, goddess of the holy Ganges, as part of a ritual known as Aarti. In Varanasi, Aarti is performed every night, rain or shine. As sunset approaches, pilgrims and toursits gather along the river bank in large numbers. Many send their own offerings in the form of diyas, small cups containing a flower and candle. floating down the river.