Ghats are basically the steps beside the river that helps people to come up and down to the river. There are more than hundred ghats in the city and all of them are very famous. At the ghats, various pujas and ceremonies (religious worship & rituals) are performed. The ghats of Varanasi always remain filled with priests, pilgrims, and the tourists. One can see a lot of photographers flocking over the ghats to capture beauty of the place. Among more than hundred ghats, 25 ghats are most visited & popular due to easy accessibility, historical importance and religious significance. The two ghats, namely Manikarnika ghat and
Harishchandra Ghat are solely used for the cremation purposes. Manikarnika Ghat is the place where Lord Vishnu dug a pit using a ‘chakra’ and filled it with perspiration while performing various penances. Lord Shiva was watching Lord Vishnu doing all these things and, at this time, Lord Vishnu’s earring or ‘manikarnika’ fell into that pit. That is why, the name of it is given to the ghat. Most of the ghats were built when the city was rebuilt under the Maratha Empire in eighteen century. Most of the ghats have special significance in Hindu mythology. Assi Ghat is
one of the most important ghats of Varanasi where pilgrims take bath before worshipping Lord Shiva. Dashashwamedh Ghat is the oldest ghat where every evening Ganga Aarti is carried out. It is believed that Lord Brahma created this ghat to welcome Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma had also performed special horse sacrifice here in front of the sacred fire. The most photogenic ghat of the city is Darbhanga Ghat. It is an architecturally appealing
ghat. Scindia Ghat is the next famous ghat where god of Fire, Lord Agni, was born.
Even at one of the ghats a frog ceremony is carried out. This is something unusual and a very uncanny custom that is practised by the priests of the place. At Dashashwamedh Ghat during the rainy season, the priests perform the rituals of wedding for the frogs and the wedded frogs are left into the river. Walking alongside the ghats is an experience for lifetime. Also, one can take a morning boat ride from Dashashwamedh Ghat to Harishchandra Ghat to view the spectacular scenes all over. The early morning sight of the ghats is spectacular with lots of aartis, diyas, and lights going on. The sights of the hippies, foreigners, priests, ‘aghoris’, ‘sadhus’ and pilgrims make for the best sight to the eyes. Even during the evening, a boat ride at the time of sunset is a pleasant activity to do and view the lit ghats.
Mark Twain has described the Benaras city in the best way possible where he says ‘Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together’.
Ghats of Varanasi, along the western bank of the Ganges, are special as these epitomize various aspects of Hindu way of life. Watch out people having early morning bath followed by ablutions, puja by Brahmin priests, people practicing meditation & yoga, cremation process on Manikarnika Ghat and Harishchandra Ghat, people consulting the astrologers under their palm leaf parasols, buy offerings for rituals, trades selling silk apparels and brassware etc.
List of Ganga Ghats in Varanasi : Varanasi, the city of Lord Shiva and one of the holiest pilgrimages of the Hindus, is located on the western bank of the sacred river Ganga. The ghats are constellation of stone / brick-built steps that lead to the river. Various daily activities and religious rituals are performed there on more than hundred ghats. Famous ghats of Varanasi are as under……
- 46. Ram Ghat
- 47. Rewa Ghat
- 48. Sankata Ghat
- 49. Vachchharaja Ghat
- 50. Prayag Ghat
- 51. Mira Ghat
- 52. Sarveshwara Ghat
- 53. Venimadhav Ghat
- 54. Nandeshwar (Nandu) Ghat