Bharat Milap in Varanasi- A Centuries Old Tradition of Kashi

Bharat Milap in Varanasi- A Centuries Old Tradition of Kashi
Photo Source: Amar Ujala

Bharat Milap is one of the most awaited festivals in Varanasi that began almost five centuries ago. Now, the festival is celebrated with great zeal by the residents. Even the Maharaja of Varanasi always attends the fest along with locals.

The festival is an important part of Varanasi’s culture and religious heritage. It is a day when all people come together to rejoice and celebrate with one another.


The History of Bharat Milap and where it all began

The Bharat Milap play itself started nearly five centuries ago, but the story behind the dramatic interpretation dates back to the Ramayana. In the Ramayana, when the long fight that came after Lord Ram’s exile ended, Lord Rama returned. Lord Ram and Laxman finally reunited with their brothers Lord Bharat and Shatrughan.

Tulsidas had a disciple named Megha Bhagat, who wrote this play and saw its first production. Legend says that he saw Tulsidas in his dreams, who urged him to work on this and display it to everyone. However, he could only attend the first play that took place. When the play was reaching its climax, he collapsed and passed away.

Bharat Milap is considered one of his greatest works, and the tradition is still kept alive by the people of Varanasi. The short play depicts an important moment in history when there was a victory of good over evil. The reunion of the brothers is an emotional moment that is captured well through the theatre artists that present it.


Proceedings of Bharat Milap

Bharat Milap is short in running time since it is a small part of the Ramayana play in Varanasi. The Ramayana play is much longer as it includes depicting the entire story from beginning to end.

The play begins at 4:40 pm, a day after Dussehra. Dussehra is the festival where Lord Ram puts an end to the evil acts of Raavan. On Dussehra, dummies of Raavan are ignited to signify the victory of good over evil. After defeating Raavan, Lord Ram and Lord Laxman return to meet with their brothers.

The specific timings are also due to a belief that Lord Bharat wanted to meet his brothers before sundown, hence the event takes place at 4:40. In the play, the scene depicts Lord Ram and Laxman meeting lord Bharat and Shatrughan. The four brothers embrace and rejoice after the end of the long exile and fight, finally at peace in each other’s presence.


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Bharat Milap in Varanasi

The event takes place in many different cities of the country, but Bharat Milap in Varanasi is truly a spectacular event. It is a part of the full-length Ramleela that takes place in Varanasi. As part of it, Bharat Milap is concise but full of devotion and a cultural flair. Hundreds of people gather in the Bharat Milap Maidan in Nati Imli just to get a glimpse of the event.

A huge crowd gathers well before the time of commencement of the play. People fill the huge ground and hundreds of other people stand on their rooftops to witness the event. In Varanasi, Bharat Milap is considered one of the top fests, as it is one of the oldest fests in the world, and the long chain of tradition continues to take place even today.


To the people of Varanasi, the fest is not just spectating the play, having good food and buying items; it is more about coming together as a community to rejoice over something. These interactions through cultural events make the people of Varanasi so affectionate towards each other. The close-knit society of Varanasi and their devotion is what has kept the tradition alive to date.

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The Cultural Significance of Bharat Milap

Bharat Milap is a traditional festival of Varanasi that has been taking place for centuries and is still celebrated with joy. The experience of watching the short play with the huge crowd, one that depicts such an emotional moment of reunion is truly delightful. Kashi Naresh, also known as the Maharaja of Varanasi, always visit Nati Imli to witness the event with the locals.


Foreigners love this activity as it is perfect to watch a short play listen to locals sing and experience the culture of Varanasi. Similarly, almost every kid who was brought up in Varanasi has a fond memory of visiting the Bharat Milap with their parent or guardian.

Many children still visit and sit on their parents’ shoulders or in their arms to spectate art at its finest. It is a positive childhood memory and a rich experience. Including theatre, art, music and history, Bharat Milap is an ideal experience for anyone who wants to experience Varanasi at its best.



Bharat Milap in Varanasi is an event full of art, joy and devotion to century-old traditions. The festival is not only an important cultural event, but it depicts the rich historical and religious preaching in its duration.

Though it is a short event that takes place only once a year, it is a fest that you must not miss if you ever visit Varanasi. Witnessing the play, having local cuisine and buying handicrafts from the fest are all the perfect way to experience the rich culture of Varanasi.


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I watch Bharat Milap?
If you are a tourist and want to witness the event, it would be preferable to reach the venue well ahead of time since it can get quite crowded.

Where and when does it take place?
Bharat Milap takes place in Nati Imli, at the Bharat Milap Maidan, every year on the day after Dussehra. The play begins at 4:40 but it is advised to reach early to be able to watch the play from a good spot.


What should I wear to the fest?
Although there are no restrictions on clothing, it is a religious fest so it will be better if you wear modest traditional clothes.

Team Varanasi Mirror

Team Varanasi Mirror

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