Ram Leela (also spelled as “Ramlila,” or “Ramleela”) is a special festival of Varanasi during which cultural and social activities take the centre stage. The whole atmosphere in the city becomes electrifying as the festival is flagged off by the Kashi Naresh through a grand procession. Every show or the play that is the enactment of the great epic Ramayana, are fabulously dramatized and people enjoy them to their hearts’ content. One happy, but a tear-jerking moment of the great epic of Ramayana is the meeting of Lord Ram with his brother, Bharat. This particular moment is celebrated as the Bharat Milap (Milap means meeting) festival.
While every single episode is interesting for the audience, emotion roars high during the Bharat Milap at Varanasi. It is one of those happy moments when Lord Ram returns to Ayodhaya after serving 14 years in exile. During all these years, Bharat pays respect to Ram’s slipper and treat it like as his brother. Bharat, who loves Ram more than anything, washes the feet of his brother with his own hands and makes him sit on the throne. This kind of love from one brother to another is impossible to be seen in this period of kalyug. The reunion of two brothers after 14 years evokes a sea of emotion in people watching the show. Even the most callous heart can melt seeing this episode. The meeting between the two brothers is so touching to the heart, that many in the audience shed tears of happiness.
The Bharat Milap festival in Varanasi is held at Nati Imli. Before the play, the actors are readied for the procession. As the procession moves ahead through the streets of the city, people come and pay their respect to the artists believing them the real mythological characters. They apply tilak on the foreheads of the artists and garland them. The Kashi Naresh along with all his family too watches this overwhelming, emotional, joyous, and heart-touching episode.