Harishchandra Ghat

Vital Information for Visitors

Harishchandra Ghat, Bangali Tola, Varanasi, U.P.

Open & Close:

Open on all days

Entry Fees:



Approx 30 Miutes

Famous For:

Monastery of Dandi Swis (ascetics), Saint Vallabhacharya, Shiva Temple & Gymnasium.

Built By :

Lallu Ji Agarwal

Tourism in Varanasi, to a greater extent revolves around the holy River Ganga and the ghats (step stones) on its banks. All of the ghats in Varanasi are pleasant but select few have great importance in the mythology. Harishchandra Ghat, located between Mysore Ghat & Ganga Ghat, is among those venerated and sacred historical ghats of Varanasi. Harichandra Ghat is a historical ghat and draws significant number of Hindu faithful and curious travelers. Thus, it is a tourist attraction in Varanasi. People in Varanasi believe the Harishchandra Ghat cremation ground is older than Manikarnika Ghat. That’s why many a times it is referred as Adi Manikarnika, the “Original Manikarnika”. The importance of its sanctity can easily be understood from the fact that the Brahmins of Tulsi Ghat and the ‘pandits’ of Assi will definitely choose to be cremated here.

There are two prominent cremation ghats in Varanasi where funeral of the dead is performed – Manikarnika Ghat & Raja Harishchandra Ghat. The last rites of cremation are performed on Harishchandra Ghat every evening. Since King Harishchandra sold himself to Kalu Dome of this burning ghat to acquire money to serve his subjects and saint Vishwamitra during famine, this place was thus named after such a benevolent king. The king of Benares, called Kashi Naresh, had donated a grand house to Dome Raja, supposedly the descendent of Kalu Dome of mythological time. There are two very old temples on the ghat. One is dedicated to Raja Harishchandra, Mata Chandramati & Rohtashwa and another one to Lord Shiva.

The legend of Raja Harishchandra is very interesting. It must be noted that Lord Ram also belonged to the same clan. The ghat draws importance due to its association with King Harishchandra. Since the time immemorial, the benevolence, honour, and fidelity of King Harishchandra have been in the memory of Hindu psyche. Harischandra was a king who treated his subjects with the utmost consideration. As the legend goes, he spent all his wealth in providing for his subjects starving due to grave famine. At that time a celebrated sage Rishi Vishwamitra reached into his kingdom, in great need of money. Harischandra did his best to satisfy his requirements, selling off everything he possessed, but still the needs of the saint were not met. Sooner than send away Vishwamitra with his wishes unfulfilled, Harischandra, as a last resort, sold himself, for a year, as a slave, to a "chandal", one of the lowest castes, or rather outcastes, whose duty was to attend to the burning ghat. The ‘chandal’ handed over the needed money, and the king became his slave to do whatever degrading work may be given to him. Harishchandra appointed as guard at the ghat to exact the fees from the relatives of the dead, in addition to other duties. The ironies of time were testing the patience and perseverance of Harishchandra. All of a sudden, his only son died and his wife Chandramati reached the ghat with corpse of their son Rohitashwa. Harishchandra, though in deep grief, demanded fee pleading that faithfulness to his master necessitates his exaction of the fee. The wife pleaded that her single garment was the only article she possessed in the world. There was no help for it that must be given. She had already seized it to tear it off and pay it as the cremation fee, when the three worlds quake, God descends from heaven, and appears to his faithful ones, the son is restored to life, chariots come down from heaven and bear the three away. It was at Harishchandra Ghat that this incident occurred.

Ash of burnt pyres of Harishchandra Ghat is utilized on the occasion of Holi. Lord Vishveshwar or Lord Shiva or, as locally called Baba Vishwanath (Vishwanath Temple), plays Holi with the ash, called ‘Bhasm’ in Sanskrit, collected from Raja Harishchandra Ghat. There is a plinth on the top of the ‘Shmashan’ (cremation ground) where an image of Lord Shiva, called Mahadev, is placed. Nearby is a hut-like abode of n ‘Aghori’. The Aghoris, divotees of Lord Shiva, are a special sect and are supposed to be so released from any possibility of earthly defilement that nothing is unclean to them. They may eat anything, even corpses.

Feel free to contact us for any additional information regarding Raja Harishchandra Ghat. Varanasi tour packages can be tailor-made to comprise sightseeing of Harishchandra Ghat in Varanasi itinerary.

Varanasi Tour Packages

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Golden Triangle with Mathura Varanasi Haridwar Rishikesh Tour

10 Nights / 11 Days
Destination : Delhi- Jaipur-Abhaneri- Fatehpur Sikri- Agra- Varanasi-Haridwar-Rishikesh

Incredible India with Diwali Tour

Incredible India with Diwali Tour

15 Nights / 16 Days
Destination : Delhi-Udaipur-Jaipur-Abhaneri-Fatehpur-Sikri-Agra-Orchha-Khajuraho-Varanasi-Mumbai-Goa

North India Heritage Tour

North India Heritage Tour

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Destination : Delhi – Jaipur – Abhaneri – Fatehpur Sikri- Agra- Gwalior- Orchha-Khajuraho - Varanasi

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Golden Triangle with Varanasi Tour

7 Nights / 8 Days
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