Ghats of Varanasi
Known for being the centre for achieving salvation or “moksha” the Indian City of Varanasi is the most religious place in India. People from all across the globe come to Varanasi to take a holy dip in the blessed river Ganga and get purification of the body and soul. India has always been regarded as a spiritual country with several layers to it. A tour to the city of Varanasi will acquaint you with one of the many layers India has.
Ghats are the most blessed place in Varanasi. The spiritual life of Varanasi spins around the Ghats. The visitors of the Ghats take bath in the holy river to wash away all their evils or sins. Most of the Ghats are used for bathing purpose, however, some Ghats are also utilized for burning down the dead bodies.
Given below are some Ghats which are visited by every single tourist:
Assi Ghat is found where the Ganges meets Assi, the river. It’s situated at the extreme southern end of the main ghats, and therefore is not as chaotic and crowded like some of the other ghats. Though, it is an essential ghat for Hindus, tourists bathe here prior to worshiping Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of huge lingam under a neighboring peepal tree. There are some fascinating shops and sophisticated cafes (one can go to Vaatika Cafe for pasta and pizza with excellent view) in the region. The ghat is a famous place for long staying travellers. Dasaswamedh Ghat is 30min walking distance away along the ghats.
Chet Singh Ghat
Chet Singh Ghat has a lot of historical significance since it was the spot of the 18th century combat between the British and Maharaja Chet Singh. There’s a fascinating old fort that symbolizes the spot of his downfall.
Darbhanga Ghat is among the favourites of the visitors! It’s highly appealing visually, and architecturally very striking. It features a grand palace constructed in the early 1900s by the regal family of Bihar. Adjacent to it is Munshi Ghat, that was built in 1912 by Sridhara Narayana Munshi, the finance minister of the State of Darbhanga.
Dasaswamedh Ghat is a major attraction in Varanasi. One of the holiest and oldest Varanasi ghats, is the place where the well-known Ganga Aarti takes place every sunset. A continual flow of tourists, Hindu pastors, beggars and flower sellers from dawn till the dusk is seen here.
Man Mandir Ghat
One more ancient Varanasi ghat, namely, Man Mandir Ghat is worth taking a glance owing to its attractive Rajput architecture. Maharajah Man Singh of Jaipur constructed this palace in 1600. Observatory, an extraordinary was added in 1730s by Sawai Jai Singh II. The cosmic tools are still in good state which can be easily seen. Heading towards the terrace will give you fabulous views of the Ganges River banks.
Scindhia Ghat is a scenic and serene place, with none of the bleakness of nearby Manikarnika Ghat (the burning Ghat). Moderately submerged Shiva Temple at the water’s edge is also worth watching. It sunk while the construction of the ghat in 1830. Above the ghat, the narrow muddle of lanes hides several Varanasi’s important temples. The region is called Sidha Kshetra and it entices ample of visitors.
The unique looking Bhosale Ghat was constructed by the Maratha reigning family of Nagpur, who was from Bhosale family. It’s an extensive stone building with small windows at the top.
Among all the ghats, the most challenging one, Manikarnika (also called as the burning ghat) is the place where the bulk of dead bodies are burned. Hindus believe it will release them from the death and birth cycle. One openly comes face to face with death at the Manikarnika Ghat. Heaps of firewood mark the shore and the fires constantly burn with dead bodies, where every single dead body is wrapped in cloth and are carried through the tracks on provisional stretchers. If you’re feeling bold and curious, you can enter the and watch the burnings by just paying remuneration. There are various guides or priests around who may take you to the upper floors of the adjacent building for a visit.
Featured Photo by Arian Zwegers