Banaras — the name itself is enough to cast a magic spell on you. No matter whether you’re religious or an atheist, this city, which is renowned to be older than humanity itself, is sure to calm down all your senses with its intricate history, its temples, its culinary delicacies and, of course, with its archaic and chronicle “ghats” along the pious Ganges! The ghats, some of which date back to even million years ago, tell innumerable stories of their own.
7. Scindia Ghat — The Abode of Agni Dev, the Hindu Lord of Fire
Also referred to as the Shinde Ghat, the present Scindia ghat was re-built about 150 years ago; however, the date of its actual erection is known to predate even mankind! The ghat is famous for the submerged Shiva temple which can be accessed only during the low tides. A little above the ghat, you’ll find the intricate alleys of Siddha Kshetra (The Area of Fulfilment) where all the wishes are known to be granted by the blessings of Agni Dev who was born here. The religious Hindu devotees, since time immemorial, come to this place to have their wish for a son being granted!
6.Darbhanga Ghat — The Ghat with Imposing Minarets and Towers
Located next to the famous Rana Mahal Ghat, Darbhanga Ghat is also renowned for the beautiful archaic mansions and towers that adorn the ghat! In fact, it is one such building erected by the royal family of Bihar in the 1900s that gave the ghat its contemporary identity and nomenclature. Although there’s a quaint Shiv temple tucked in at the ghat, the place remains quite empty compared to the other ghats and is a welcome retreat to the photographers who want to capture the real essence of Banaras.
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5. Lalita Ghat— “Mini” Nepal
Built by the Rana of Nepal, this famous ghat is located at the northern fringe of the Ganges and is the site of the famous “Nepali temple” too. This “Nepali temple”, built in the style of Pashupatinath Temple of Kathmandu, houses the deity Pashupateshwar—an incarnation of Lord Shiva, and attracts tourists in plenty all around the year!
4. The “Jantar Mantar” Maan Mandir Ghat
Okay, don’t freak out on the name; this instant neologism resulted from the situation of the famous Jantar Mantar at this ghat built by Raja Sawai Maan Singh. The beautiful stone balcony of the historical monument that opens up to the Ganges provides a breath-taking spectacular view of the same, and transports you to the ages bygone! The pilgrims to the city also visit this ghat to pay their homage to Lord Someshwar, the God of the Moon!
3. Assi Ghat — You Haven’t Visited Banaras Until You’ve Been to Assi
One of the important ghats in the city for various reasons, Assi Ghat is located in the southern most fringe of the Ganges and is renowned as one of the busiest ghats too. Vibrating with artists and cavaliers who don’t give a shred of damn to worldly affairs, the alluring ambiance of Assi ghat is phenomenal. To glean insight of the place, you can read Kashi Ka Assi, a satirical and brilliantly hilarious masterpiece of Dr. Kashinath Singh, a distinguished name in the arena of Hindi literature. If you’re in Banaras during Shiv Ratri, do visit Assi for it accommodates over 25,000 people on this day — a number much more than the population of numerous small villages in India!
2. Manikarnika Ghat — The Place of Ever-Alighted Pyre!
Although different legends are associated with the ghat, it is still renowned as the place where death is celebrated. It is a place, where innumerable Hindus from different corners of the world are brought in at their death bed for cremation—according to the sacred texts, if one is cremated there, he or she will attain moksha and all their worldly sins will be blessed! You might term these as rubbish, but the fact that most people still believe this to be a true thing is showcased through the pyres which never cease to burn in here. After all, it is renowned as the place where the light of the pyre has been burning since the beginning of the world!
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1. Dashawamedh Ghat — The place where Lord Brahma performed Dashawemedh Yagna
The most important ghat of this pious city, Dashavamedh’s Ghat’s existence can be traced in all the ancient texts of Hinduism. According to the Puranas, it is the place where Lord Brahma built with his own hands to welcome Lord Shiva and post that even performed Dashavamedha Yagna herein! Among all the other reasons behind the fame of this ghat, one of the chief is the Ganga Arati that is performed daily by the purohits of the Vishwanath Temple on a grand scale (irrespective of the weather and season) which attracts millions of people every day of all caste, creed and ethnicity.