The Ghat of Varanasi occupy a special place in this holy city. The Ghats are intricately linked with the very culture and ethos of Varanasi. The Ghats are sturdy masonry platforms with riverfront steps that lead one to river Ganges. The city is dotted with nearly 87 Ghats and these Ghats are mostly used for purposes like Puja ceremonies, bathing and cremations. Most of the Ghats of Varanasi were constructed beyond 1700 AD, the time when the Marathas were ruling over Varanasi. A visit to Varanasi remains incomplete if you haven’t visited the Ghats of Varanasi. Some of the top Ghats of Varanasi are listed below-
01. Dashashwamedh Ghat
Dashashwamedh Ghat Dashashwamedh Ghat is one of the most significant of Varanasi Ghats and is the oldest among all other Ghats in Varanasi. According to myths lord Brahma had sacrificed ten horses at this Ghat to facilitate Lord Shiva’s return from banishment. Every evening the Ghat presents a heavenly beauty as the Ganga Aarti at the Ghat illuminates the Ganges with thousands of floating earthen lamps.
02. Manikarnika Ghat
Manikarnika Ghat is one of the most prominent cremation Ghats of Varanasi. Popular belief holds that bodies cremated at this Ghat will definitely attain salvation. The Ghat is known for the Manikarnika Kund as well as the Chakra-Pushkarini Kund; the two wells that are said to have been dug by Lord Vishnu. Myths hold that lord Vishnu had meditated at this spot for many years. A circular slab of marble present on the Ghat bears Lord Vishnu’s footprints. It is referred to as Charan paduka and is looked upon with great reverence by the pilgrims.
03. Assi Ghat
At the meeting point of River Ganges and River Assi stands Assi Ghat; Varanasi’s southernmost Ghat. Assi Ghat has great spiritual importance and Assi Ghat Darshan is part of the sacred Panchtirth Yatra of Hindus. According to common belief sage poet Tulsidas had composed his famous Ramcharitmanas on this spot. Assi Ghat has a marble shrine belonging to Asi Sangameshwara who is said to be the lord of the sacred confluence. In the Hindu months of Chaith and Magh the Ghat is heavily thronged by pilgrims.
04. Chet Singh Ghat
Chet Singh Ghat was set up around 18th century by the Maharaja Chet Singh. Chet Singh Ghat is unique in being a fortified Ghat. This Ghat has a historical background as the famous battle between Warren Hastings and Raja Chet Singh was fought in vicinity to the Ghat. Bathing is restricted at this Ghat as the Ganges has quite sharp torrents here
05. Man Mandir Ghat
Man Mandir Ghat was built around 16th century under the initiative of Raja Sawai Man Singh. The earlier name of man Mandir Ghat was Someshwara Ghat. Later it was renamed as Man mandir Ghat to pay honor to its builder. The chief highlights of the Man Mandir Ghat are the fascinating balcony adorning the ghat’s northern end and temples like Someshwara temple, Rameshwar temple and Sthuladanta Vinayaka temple built all around it.
06. Bhonsale Ghat
The Bhonsale Ghat was constructed by Bhosale family of Nagpur; a Maratha ruling dynasty. The Ghat features a quite distinctive pattern with a mammoth stone building decked with small ornate windows towards the top.
07. Scindia Ghat
Scindia Ghat is located in Varanasi’s Siddha Kshetra and is heavily thronged by pilgrims. The Ghat has a very calm and serene ambiance and is well known for its unique partially submerged lord Shiva temple.
08. Darbhanga Ghat
Darbhanga Ghat lies in vicinity to Dashashwamedh Ghat. This Ghat is mostly made use of to perform the last rites post the demise of loved ones. The Ghat has a significantly steep gradient. The Ghat bears a holy temple enshrining a massive Shivling.
09. Munshi Ghat
Munshi Ghat features a part of the royal Darbhanga palace which is indeed a thing of beauty. The Ghat got its name from Sridhara Narayana Munshi, the finance minister during that time who had taken the initiative to extend the Ghat and the palace.
10. Lalita Ghat
Lalita Ghat was constructed by king Rana Bahadur Shah; a Nepal king, during his exile period at Varanasi. The Ghat bears a temple belonging to Lalita who is believed to be Ma Shakti’s incarnation plus a Nepali temple too.
11. Tulsi Ghat
Tulsi Ghat of Varanasi has been constructed to pay tribute to the renowned sage poet Tulsi Das. It is believed that the beautiful ambiance of the Ghat had inspired Tulsi das to compose epic Ramcharitmanas. Also, it is said that when the manuscript of this epic fell into the river at this spot, it miraculously did not sink but came afloat. Tulsi Ghat exhibits many relics of the past such as lord Hanuman idol, Samadhi site, pillows and wooden clogs. The two most pompous shows held at Tulsi Ghat are Ram Lila and Krishna Lila. Huge crowds gather at the Ghat during these performances.
12. Harishchandra Ghat
Harishchandra Ghat of Varanasi comes with cremation grounds as well as burning provisions. The Ghat got its name from Raja Harishchandra who got blessings of the Gods for serving dedicatedly as a crematorium keeper. It is believed that bodies cremated here are sure to get salvation. The Ghat bears a temple enshrining the idols of deities such as Adi Manikanteshwra, Vriddha Kedara and Harishchandra.
13. Kedar Ghat
Kedar Ghat located in southern Varanasi has got its name from Lord Shiva who is also known as Kedarnath. The Ghat bears a temple belonging to lord Shiva and also has pellucid pond known by the name of Parvati Kund. The waters of this pond are said to have high medicinal value. South Indian and Bengali pilgrims flock heavily at the Kedar Ghat.
14. Shivala Ghat
Shivala Ghat was built under the initiative of King Balwant Singh who ruled during the medieval period. The Ghat was named after Lord Shiva, the city’s presiding deity. The chief highlights of the Ghat are the presence of a Math called Brahmendra math and a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
15. Panchganga Ghat
Panchganga Ghat stands at the point of confluence of 5 sacred rivers; i.e. Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Kirna and Dhupapapa. The fact that this Ghat falls in the vicinity to Alamgir mosque makes it all the more renowned. 8 scenic riverfront locations beset the Ghat. According to common beliefs, sage poet Tulsi Das ji had composed the famed Vinay Patrika at this place.