In this ancient city of pilgrimage, the bathing ghats are
main attraction. People flock here in large numbers every day to take bath
and worship in the temples built beside the river bank. The centuries old
tradition to offer 'puja' to the rising Sun is still maintained. There are
over 100 ghats in Varanasi that line the
western bank of the River Ganges.
Dasaswamedh Ghat in Varanasi
One of the main ghats of Varanasi is the 'Dasashvamedh Ghat' or the 'ghat of ten sacrificed horses'. It is said that the sacrifices were made by Lord Brahma to pave path for the return of Shiva after the period of banishment.
The beauty of this ghat has remained unchanged, even after ages of harsh treatment it has undergone. The Ghat has remained unspoiled and provides the same view of the river front, which it has been showing for ages now.
Asi Ghat in Varanasi
The southernmost ghat in the sacred city, the Asi Ghat is situated at the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Asi. Pilgrims consider it particularly holy to bathe here prior to worshipping at a huge lingam, under a peepal tree.
Asisangameshwar, the lord of confluence of the Asi, is the name of another lingam, which is worshipped by the people, in a small marble temple, just off the ghat.
Man Mandir Ghat in Varanasi
Known primarily for its magnificent 18th century observatory equipped with ornate window casings, Man Mandir Ghat was built by the Maharaja of Jaipur . The northern part of the ghat has a fine stone balcony. The pilgrims pay homage to the important lingam of Someshwar, the Lord of the Moon.
Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi
One of the most sacred and the oldest ghats of Varanasi, Manikarnika Ghat is the main burning ghat. Lying at the centre of the five tirthas, Manikarnika Ghat symbolises both creation and destruction, epitomised by the juxtaposition of the sacred well of Manikarnika Kund and the hot, sandy ash-infused soil of cremation grounds where time comes to an end. The kund is said to have been dug by Lord Vishnu at the time of creation.
Lalita Ghat in Varanasi
To the north of the Manikarnika Ghat is Lalita Ghat, well known for its Ganga Keshava Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and the wooden Nepali temple built in the typical Kathmandu style. The temple houses an image of Pashupateshwar, which is a manifestation of Lord Shiva at Pashupatinath, in the Kathmandu valley.
Some the other famous ghats are Barnasangam, Panchganga, Dattatreya, Kedar, Scindia and Harishchandra Ghats. As the first rays of Sun sparkle on the water of Ganga River, devotees take their dip before performing any other religious activity.
You can go for a boat ride from the Ghats. It is advisable that take a boost before the sunrise and watch the ravishing beauty of Varanasi unfold itself with the rays of dawn.