The stone-steps of Chausatthi Ghat lead to Chaunsath Yogini Temple. The idols of Goddess Kali and Goddess Durga are established in the sanctum
sanctorum of the temple. The present Chausatthi Devi Temple was built after the earlier Chaunsath Yogini Temple in Rana Mahal got severely damaged.
The Chaunsath Yogini Temple of Varanasi was similar to the temples of Chaunsath Yogini in Khajuraho, Jabalpur & Morena. The main idol of the
Chausatthi Devi was placed in Rana Mahal till 18th century. Rana Mahal was a place near this ghat. But, later on, the statue was shifted to
the present site. At the top of Chausatthi Ghat is located Chausatthi Devi Temple, adorned with ancient statues of Kali, Shiva, folk goddesses, Kartikeya and Ganesha. As per Hindu mythology, there are altogether 64 Yoginis. The Yoginis are considered as the ancient-most group of demigoddesses. Out of 64 idols, only 16 Yogini statues are remaining there in Varanasi. The Yoginis are the most ancient group of goddesses. Furthermore, out of these 16 idols, two are placed in the vicinity of the Chausatthi Devi Temple. These two idols are of elephant-headed Gajanan and peacock-headed Mayuri. These can be seen on the steps of the ghat.
The word Chausatthi is derived from the word Chaunsath which means number 64 in English. Chaunsatth is attributed to directional symbolism. It is suggestive of an association between the Mother Goddesses (8) and their assistant Goddesses (8). It is also interpreted as the division of space or the eight directions on Earth and their celestial realm. Hence, the archetype becomes 64. During the month of March / April or during the 12th dark half of Chaitra (a month in Hindu calendar), a large number of devotees visit Chausatthi Devi Temple to do worship. Taking holy dip into River Ganga on Chausatthi Ghat is a religious ritual and commonly seen. Another occasion when a large cache of pilgrims & devotees gather here is on the eve of Holi and pay homage rituals. Though the architecture of Chausatthi Devi Temple is normal but its religious significance is immense. The presiding deity of the temple is ‘Mahishasurmardini’. According to Kashi Khand, worship during Ashwin Navratri results in blessings of the goddess to satisfy the wishes of the devotees. The residents of Varanasi start celebrating Holi festival only after offering ‘abir-gulal’ to the goddess on Shukla Ekadashi (Rangbhari Ekadashi) of Phalgun month in Hindu calendar. There is a monument dedicated to King Pratapaditya near a Peepal tree at the top of the Chausatthi Ghat. This monument holds immense reverence among the Bengali populace. People of Bengali community come here frequently to perform several rituals, especially ‘Mundan Samskar’ of their sons.
The Chausatthi Ghat is located right next to Peshwa’s Raj Ghat. Entry into Chausatthi Ghat is free and one can visit and explore the ghat freely. Local people, public groups and the temple trusts take care of the maintenance of the ghat. The ownership of the Chousatthi Devi Temple lies with the Chousatthi Temple Trust. The municipal corporation of Varanasi is the body that has the ownership of the ghat.