One of the most popular ghats of the city is the Durga Ghat which is very well known in the area. Durga Ghat finds mention in Giravana-Padamanjari, a 17th century text. This ghat is predominantly used by the devotees for religious bath. It was built in 1772 AD by a saintly figure Narayan Dikshit Patankar, a ‘guru’ of the Peshwas. Brahma Ghat, an adjacent ghat to Durga Ghat, was also built by Narayan Dikshit. He was ‘guru’ of famous freedom fighter Nana Saheb Peshwa (original name Dhondu Pant) who led the rebellion against the British in 1857 AD in Kanpur. He had purchased the land from the resident fishermen to build these ghats. Two temples, dedicated to Goddess Brahmacharini Durga and God Kharv Narsimha, are located near Durga Ghat. At the northern side of the upper part of this ghat is located Brahmacharini Durga Temple and on her name is given the name of the ghat. In 1830 AD, Durga Ghat was rebuilt by Nana Phadanavis who was a finance secretary or Diwan of the Gwalior Estate. The building at the top of this ghat is named after him and known as the Phadanawis Wada. Again, in 1958, Durga Ghat was renovated by the government of Uttar Pradesh.
There are two sacred waterfront spots at Durga Ghat called as Markandeya Jal Tirtha and Kharva Narsimha Jal Tirtha. At the top, there is a temple of Kharva Narsimha. The steps of the ghat, leading to the top, have been built in an archetypal framework wherein a platform lies after every nine steps. The nine steps are symbolic of Nav Durga, i.e., nine forms of Goddess Durga. It is a typical example of Hindu way of designing a structure which, in turn, most likely happens to be an amalgam of religious symbolism and day-to-day utility from architectural perspective.
Durga Ghat is famous for the religious activities. A large number of devotees visit the ghat for offering religious ‘aarti’ and ‘puja’. Priests and ‘sadhus’ (Hindu ascetics) can be frequently & regularly spotted here. In addition to religious rituals and holy bath, Durga Ghat is famous for being venue of several cultural activities too. As per Hindu calendar, in the month of Kartik, i.e. October and November, annual competitions of fighting, wrestling and mettle bout are organized. On Kartik Purnima, the full moon day of Kartik month, a lot of young men assemble there for showcasing their fighting skills. The full moon day is considered as one of the most auspicious days in Hindu religion.
Entry into Durga Ghat of Varanasi, located in the Ghasi Tola, free for all. It can be visited any time. Thus, there is no hindrance for anybody to explore the ghat. The ghat, the temples, and the properties of the temples are owned by a trust. The houses and other properties at the top of the ghat are owned by the inhabitants. The area of ghat is owned by the Municipal Corporation. The trust takes care of the maintenance of the ghat.