Ghats in Varanasi
Dandi Ghat - Varanasi
It is referred by Sherring (1968). It was made pucca by Lalooji Agrawal. This ghat is predominated by the Dandi ascetics carrying stick in their hand. This ghat is quit clean and worth taking bath.
Narada Ghat - Varanasi
honouring the divine musician and sage, lies Chaumsathi Ghat, where impressive stone steps lead up to the small temple of the Chaumsathi (64) Yoginis. Images of Kali and Durga in its inner sanctum represent a stage in the emergence of the great goddess as a single representation of a number of female divinities.
Panchganga Ghat - Varanasi
Panchganga Ghat is where five rivers are supposed to meet. Dominating the ghat is Auangazeb's small mosque, also known as the Alamgir Mosque, which he built on the site of a large Vishnu temple erected by the Maratha chieftain Beni Madhav Rao Scindia.
Raj Ghat - Varanasi
The simple square platform of black marble on the banks of the river Yamuna marks the place where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. His last words ' Hey Ram ' are inscribed on this platform which is surrounded by a serene garden
Shivala Ghat - Varanasi
It has been important ghat in early times. In mid nineteenth cent. It was separated into some small Ghat. At present one witnesses a colossal building constructed by Nepal King Sanjay Vikram Shah (19th cent ,A Shiva Temple and one Brahmendra Math established by Kashiraj. There is no significant cultural activities here. Only some of pilgrims and local inhabitants take bath.
Gularia Ghat - Varanasi
This Ghat was named after a huge Gular tree which is not here at present. It was constructed Pucca by Laloo Ji Agrawal. This Ghat has a very little significance Debries of old houses are scattered On top of stairs.
Vaccharaja Ghat - Varanasi
It is made pucca by a ‘merchant named Vaccharaja during later half of 18th cent. It is believed that seventh Jain Firthankar of Suparshvanatha was born nearby. At present most of Jain families live here. Upgoing stairs from Ganga river bank to street have three niches consist of Siva, Ganesh and beautiful ganga image riding on her vehicle crocodile. Occasional cultural programmes, bhajan and kirtans are organised here. It is a comfortable ghat for local people to take bath and do exercise.
Cheta Singh Ghat - Varanasi
It is a historical fortified ghat. The place has witnessed a fierce battle between the troops of Warren Hastings and Chet Singh in 1781. A.d/ The fort and ghat has been taken from British by Maharaja Prabhu Narayan Singh in the later half of 19th cent. Originally this Ghat was know at ‘Khirki Ghat; Now it has four parts known as Cheta Singh, Niranjani, Nirrvani and Shivala.
Ghat has three Shiva Temple belonging to 18th cent. Till first half 20th cent. It was culturally quit important. The famous Budhwa Mangal festival which was celebrated for seven days had been organised here. Due to sharp current of Ganga people avoid bathing here. This Ghat has been rejuvenated by state govt. in 1958.
Manikarnika Ghat - Varanasi
Manikarnika Ghat one of the oldest and most sacred in Varanasi, Manikarnika is the main burning ghat and one of most auspicious places that a Hindu can be cremated. Bodies are handled by outcasts known as doms, and they are carried through alleyways of the old city to the holy Ganges on a bamboo stretcher swathed in cloth. The corpse is doused in the Ganges prior to cremation. You will see huge piles of firewood stacked along the top of the ghat, each log carefully weighed on giant scales so that the price of cremation can be calculated.
Note: Visitors are welcome to watch the cremations, since at Manikarnika death is simply business as usual, but don't take photos and keep your camera well hidden.
Assi Ghat - Varanasi
This is one of the five special ghats which pilgrims are supposed to bathe at in sequence during the ritual route called Panchatirthi Yatra. There is a lingam under a peepal tree and a marble temple of Asisangameshwara (lord of the confluence of Asi). An ancient tank dedicated to sun worship, the Lolarka Kund (pool) lies 15 metres below the ground and is approached by a steep flight of steps worth seeing.
Tulsi Ghat - Varanasi
Tulsi Ghat is named after the famous 16th century poet Tulsidas, who spent many years of his life in Varanasi composing the Ramcharitmanas. Legend has it that when his manuscript fell into the Ganga waters it floated instead of sinking and disintegrating. The very first performance of the Ramlila (story of Lord Rama's life) was held here. A temple of Ram stands still stands on the Tulsi Ghat. The house in which Tulsidas died has been preserved and his samadhi, his wooden clogs, pillow and the idol of Hanuman which he worshipped as well as a piece of wood from the boat used by him to cross the Ganga are all still intact here.
Harishchandra Ghat - Varanasi
Dead bodies are brought here for cremation. Bodies are brought from thousands of kilometres away to be burned here. This ghat is named after King Harishchandra, who is said to have had to work as a Dom (caretaker of the crematorium) in order to keep his word.
Kings Harishchandra was famous for never refusing a guest and never telling a lie. He was a worshiper of Brahma. Indra told Brahma that he believed that Harishchandra’s devotion was not as strong as he made it appear to be. So in order to prove that it was, Brahma disguised himself as a Brahmin priest and asked the king for his entire kingdom. Harishchandra gave it. In order to give the priest payment (daksin) for performing some rituals the king became a worker at the crematorium at this ghat.
His wife was sold to a seller of flowers. When his son died of a snakebite his wife brought him to the burning ghat where her husband was working. Because she had no money to pay the cremation fee, she ripped her sari in half to pay the fee.
Brahma then restored the son back to life and gave the king back his kingdom. He also told Harishchandra that this ghat would be especially sacred and that it would be named after him.
Chauki Ghat to Chaumsathi Ghat - Varanasi
Northwards along the river, Chauki Ghat is distinguished by an enormous tree that shelters small stones shrines to the nagas, water-snake deities, while at the unmistakable Dhobi (Laundrymen’s) Ghat clothes are still rhythmically pulverized in the pursuit of purity. Past smaller ghats such as Mansarovar Ghat, named after the holy lake in Tibet, and Narada Ghat, honoring the divine musician and sage, lies Chaumsathi Ghat, where impressive stone steps lead up to the small temple of the Chaumsathi (64) Yoginis. Images of Kali and Durga in its inner sanctum represent a stage in the emergence of the great goddess as a single representation of a number of female divinities. Overlooking the ghats here is Peshwa Amrit Rao’s majestic sandstone haveli (mansion), built in 1807 and currently used for religious ceremonies and occasionally, as an auditorium for concerts.
Hanuman Ghat - Varanasi
It is believed that grat saint Tulsidas has established a Hanuman Temple here during 18th cent. A.D. which made is famous as Hanuman ghat. The ancient name of this ghata was Ramesvaram ghat which was established by lord Ram himself. At present it is inside boundary of Juna Akhara. Many vairagi ascetics live in the temples. The neighborhood is dominated by south indian residents.
Mahanirvani Ghat - Varansi
It is situated on north end of Nirvani Ghat. It is named after Mahanirvani sect of Naga Saints . the famous Akhara is situated here. It has four small Shiva Temple made by Nepal’s Maharaja. It is legendary that Acharya Kapil Muni of Sankhya philosophy fame lived here during 7th cent.A.D. Near Mahanirvani Akhara Mother Teresa’s Home is situated.
Scindia Ghat - Varanasi
Bordering Manikarnika to the north is the picturesque Scindia Ghat, with its titled Shiva temple lying partially submerged in the river, having fallen in as a result of the sheer weight of the ghat’s construction around 150 years ago. Above the ghat, several of Kashi’s most influential shrines are hidden within the tight maze of alleyways of the area known as Siddha Kshetra (the field of Fulfillment). Vireshvara, the Lord of all Heroes, is especially propitiated in prayer for a son; the Lord of Fire, Agni, was supposed to have been born here.
Man Mandir Ghat to Lalita Ghat - Varanasi
Man Mandir Ghat is known primarily for its magnificent eighteenth-century observatory, equipped with ornate window casings, and built for the Maharajah of Jaipur. Pilgrims pay homage to the important lingam of Someshvara, the lord of the moon, alongside, before crossing Tripurabhairavi Ghat to Mir Ghat and the New Vishwanatha Temple, built by conservative Brahmins who claimed that the main Vishwanatha lingam was rendered impure when Harijans (untouchables) entered the sanctum in 1956. Mir Ghat also has a shrine to Vaishalakshi, the Wide-eyed Goddess, on an important pitha – a site marking the place where various parts of the disintegrating body of Shakti fell as it was carried by the grief-stricken Shiva. Also here is the Dharma Kupa, the Well of Dharma, surrounded by subsidiary shrines and the lingam over all the dead of the world – except here in Varanasi.
Immediately to the north is Lalita Ghat, renowned for its ganga Keshava shrine to Vishnu and the Nepali Temple, a typical Kathmandu-style wooden temple which houses an image of Pashupateshvara – Shiva’s manifestation at Pashupatinath, in the Mathmandu Valley – and sports a small selection of erotic carvings.
Dashashwamedha Ghat - Varanasi
Dashashwamedha Ghat, the second and business of the five tirthas on the Panchatirthi Yatra, lies past the plain, flat-roofed building that houses the shrine of Shitala. Extremely popular, even in the rainy season when devotees have to wade to the temple or take a boat, Shitala represents both both benign and malevolent aspects – ease and succor as well as disease, particularly smallpox.
Dashashwamedha is Varanasi’s most popular and accessible bathing ghat, with rows of pandas sitting on wooden platforms under bamboo umbrellas, masseurs plying their trade and boatmen jostling for custom. Its name, "ten horse sacrifices", derives from a complex series of sacrifices performed by Brahma to test King Divodasa: Shiva and Parvati were sure the king’s resolve would fail, and he would be compelled to leave Kashi, thereby allowing them to return to their city. However, the sacrifices were so perfect that Brahma established the Brahmeshvara lingam here. Since that time, Dashashwamedha has become one of the most celebrated tirthas on earth, where pilgrims can reap the benefits of the huge sacrifice merely by bathing.
Munsi Ghat - Varanasi
The ghat was built by Sridhara Narayana Munsi a finance minister in the State of Darabhanga, in 1912 as an extended pare of Darabhanga Ghat. After his death in 1924 this portion ghat named in his honour.
Manasarovara Ghat - Varanasi
At the top of this ghat there is a secred pond, in replicated from representing the famous sacred lake of the same name lying in Tibet. This ghat was built by Raja Mana Singh of Jaipur in c. 1585, and was rebuilt in c. 1805. The shrines of Rama, Laksamana, and Dattatreya are in the vicinity.
Bhadaini Ghat - Varanasi
The earliest reference of this Ghat is given by Greves(1909). It has a huge pumping set of waterworks which supply water to whole city. This ghat has standing wall constructed by brick and stone. Bathing or religious activities are not performed here.
Janaki Ghat - Varanasi
In 1870 A.D. Maharani Kunwar of Sursand(Bihar) made this Ghat. Earlier it was know as "Nagamber ghat". After picca Constructions it is know as Janaki ghat. It has a little Religious important but people bath since it is safe and Clean.
Mira Ghat - Varanasi
This ghat represents two old sites of Jarasandhesvara and Vrdhaditya, which were converted by Mira Rustam Ali in 1735. Presently, in the name of these two shrines pilgrims throw flowers and raw-rice in the Ganga and remember them. The shrines and images in the vicinity are Vrdhaditya, Asa Vinayaka, Yajna Varahaand Visalaksi("The Wide-Eyed ", one of the 52 Sakti-pithas of goddesses.) another important site is Dharmakupa consisting of a sacred well surrounded by five temple, and also Divodasesvara lingam. The temple of Dharmesa is associated to the myth of Yama's (Lord of Death) power over the fate of the dead everywhere on the earth, except in Kashi.
With the notion that due to entrance of low castes ("untouchables") the temple of Visvesvara/ Visvanatha became impure, Svami Karapatri-Ji, a very conservative Brahmin and a cult-chief, has established a " New Visva’natha Temple" in 1956 at top of the ghat. On the steps, under a pipala tree, the water- pouring ritual in honour of ancestors in performed.
Adi Keshava Ghat - Varanasi
In Ghadavala inscription (c. C.E. 1100) this ghat was referred as Vedesvara Ghat. This is assumed to be the oldest and the original (Adi) site of Lord Visnu ( Kesava). The temple complex of Adi Kesava has a pleasant pastoral setting on he bank above the confluence of the Varana and the Ganga rivers. Among the oldest puranic listings of sacred sites in the city, this is one of them. This sacred spot is fully eulogized in the MP (185-68), the VP (3.34-50), the KKh (84.109; see also 51.44-82). This was the most favourite holy site of the Gahadavala kings, as evident from the Gahadavala inscription that" a great number of regal ritual occasions in Varanasi included the worship of Adi Kesava or a dip in the Ganga at the Varana confluence: (Niyogi 1959: app. B as in Eck 1982:233). The ghat was made pucca in 1790 by a Divan of Scindhia State.
According to a flok legend the five most sacred water-fron holy spots represent the bodily parts of the Lord:" Asi is the head; Dasasvamedha is the chest; Manikarnika is the naval; Pancaganga is the thighs; and Adi Kesava is the feet" (Eck 1982:233). This reminds that Vianu first placed his holy feet here in Varanasi. His foot prints (Carana Paduka) in the Adi Kesava temple symbolize that occasion; another foot prints are at Manikarnika Ghat.
Bathing at confluence of the Varana and the Ganga and paying visit to Sangamesvara ("Lord of Confluence") give a special religious merit, as referred in the Linga Purana (92.87-89):
"An excellent lingam has been installed by Brahama at this confluence. It is know in the world as Sangamesvara. If a man shall become pure taking his bath at the confluence of the divine river and then worship Sangamesa, whence need he fear rebirth".
The Sangamesvara lingam is located in temple attached to Adi Kesava; and from the pavilion of Adi Kesava, one can look down into the courtyard of the Sangamesvara. Closeby to it is the Brahmesvara lingam (a four- faced lingam) and believed to be established by Brahma ("The Creator").
Between Prahalada and Adi Kesava Ghat (from south to north) there are ten water-tirthas lying along the bank: Sankha Madhava, Sasa, Laksminrsimha, Gopigivinda, Vindara Nrsimha, Yajna Varaha, Mara- Narayana, Vamana, Pranava and Dattatreyesvara. And between Adi Kesava Ghat and confluence of the Varana there are twelve water-tirthas: Aditya Kesava, Ambarisa, Narada, Garuda, Mahalaksmi, Padma, Gada, Cakra, Sankha, Ksirabdhi, Svetadvipa and padodaka.
In the vicinity of Adi Kesava temple are located two Vinayakas: Cinatamani ("relieving worry") and Kharva ("the dwarf"), and jnana Kesava ("wisdom"), P/rayaga lingam and Kesavaditta ("Kesava-Sun").
The barth day of Vamana ("the Dwarf"; 5th incarnation of Visnu among the ten) is celebrated on massive scale in the Adi Kesava temple on 12th light- half of Bhadrapada (Aug. Sept.).
At the time of sunrise and sun set both, one can see the natural beauty of reflecting colourful light in the Ganga, in the morning the reflection of sunlight on the palatial buildings and in the evening the shadows of those building in Ganga make the scene unique which is more an aspect of experience than reading about it.