Ghats of Varanasi
Breath comes to a standstill, eyes keep on wondering and spirit becomes enlightened in this fantastically photogenic place. This place is filled with 80 ghats which are virtually filled with people almost 24 hours of the day. Long stretches of steps can be seen from any point. However, out of all the ghats only 25 ghats are of main importance.
The ghats begin from Southern stretch with Assi Ghat which is also the biggest one. People come here to worship lord Shiva beneath a papal tree. In the evenings, people often go for boat rides. Nearby is Tulsi Ghat named after renowned Hindu Poet – Tulsidas. In the month of October/November Krishna festival is celebrated. Then there is the Harishchandra Ghat or cremation ghat which is also one of the oldest ghats of benaras. Just above it is Kedar ghat which is very popular amongst Bengalis and south Indians. Another important ghat is Dashashwamedh Ghat just near the Godaulia crossing. It is the most revered ghats of the city. It is said that Lord Brahma sacrificed 10 horses here and that’s the reason why it is so much revered. It is only at this Ghat that every evening at 07:00 p.m. Ganga Aarti ceremony is held which is watched by thousands each day.
Then comes the Someshwar or Lord of the Moon ghat which is supposed to heal all diseases. Manikarnika ghat is the main ceremonial ghat. It is here that dead bodies are brought even from other cities to be converted into ashes. Nearby is the Schindia Ghat which is most photogenic out of all the ghats. It is well known for the submerged Shiva Temple at the edge of water. Bhosle ghat is a huge stone building built by ruling family of Nagpur. A good architecture of Nagpur can be seen in its windows.
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Out of all the ghats most appealing is Darbhanga ghat which is very impressive with its imposing palace built by royal family of Bihar in early 1900’s.
It is a good idea to take early morning or evening walks in any of the ghats. One can see the evening aarti by sitting in any of the several boats which offer chairs and some even cushions at a small price! Of be beware of touts which are all around the place.
This southernmost ghat of Varanasi finds its place in Indian matsya purana, padma purana, kashi khanda, kurma purana and agni purana . But this is not the only reason why Assi ghat has got so much of importance. Located on the confluence of river ganges and assi river it is also called “Saimbeda Tirtha” or a place where one gets all “Punya” after taking just one dip in its water. People when really come here is in the month of March – April and Jan – Feb. Other important dates include Ganga dusshera, probodhoni ekadashi and makar sankranti.
It is the most important and well known ghat of Benaras. It’s the ghat where every evening, Ganges Aarti is watched by thousands of tourists and dip in the river water is taken beginning from 03: 00 early morning. Filled with foreigners, tourists, kids, old age men and women it is one of the crowdest ghats after Assi Ghat. It’s one of the ghats of the city which never sleeps.
Just walk around two kilometers towards left of Dasaswamedh ghat and you shall reach Manikarnika ghat or cremation ghat. Converting into ashes in this ghat is considered not only lucky but also blessed as Hindus believe that whosoever gets consigned to flames here achieves immortalness – once and for all. One can easily see flames coming out here during the daytime…
It’s the ghat which has got historical importance as it is said that great Hindu poet Tulsidas’ manuscript Ramcharitmanas or Ramayana fell here in this ghat, it did not sink but kept on floating. After his death his things of importance have been preserved near house in this ghat including wooden clogs, pillow, idol of hanuman and other such items.
ON Tulsi ghat every year in the month of Oct/Nov Krishna Leela is organized watched by hundreds.
It is said to be one of the oldest ghats of Varanasi. Named after King Harishchandra who is thought to have worked in this ghat, hundreds take a dip every-day. It is believed Gods happy with Kings preservence for charity and truthfulness blessed him by restoring his Kingdom and bringing alive his dead son on this ghat only. Its believed if someone is creamated here, he/she is bound to achieve salvation or moksha.