Kashi is the only city where the main ghats are situated such that the Ganga appears to be flowing east to west. The mesmerizing beauty of these ghats is captivating and trance like. These ghats have been built over a period of time by various kingdoms throughout the subcontinent. The sunrise is beautiful and directly across the ghats. The calm of the morning accompanied by chanting of various mantras along with various groups of yoga enthusiasts is a common sight. You can also see a lot of pilgrims taking a holy dip in the river which is believed to wash off all their sins. Contrary to the evening hustle, the wee hours are calm and serene. It is an entirely different experience within a span of twelve hours and therefore we suggest our guests to definitely visit the ghats early morning.
Some of the important ghats that we cover in our tour are listed below:
The earliest reference of this Ghat is given by Greves (1909). It has a huge pumping set of waterworks which supply water to whole city. This ghat has standing wall constructed by brick and stone. Bathing or religious activities are not performed here.
Before 1931 Jain ghat was the part of Vaccharaja ghat. Later Jain community made a pucca ghat and named it as Jain ghat. On the southern end Jain communities take bath and perform their regular activities, but on the northern end Mallaha (boatman) families are living giving it a different look.
Panch Ganga Ghat
Beyond Lakshmanbala Ghat, with its commanding views of the river. Lies one of the most dramatic and controversial ghats, Panchganga Ghat, dominated by VARANASI‘s largest riverside building, the great mosque of Alamgir, known locally as Beni Madhav-ka-Darera.
Kashi Karbat Ghat
Also known as the Golden Temple, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva, the presiding deity of the city. Varanasi is said to be the point at which the first jyotirlinga, the fiery pillar of light by which Shiva manifested his supremacy over other gods, broke through the earth’s crust and flared towards the heavens.
This is the site of Haramapapa Tirtha. At the top is the temple of Kedaresvara, the patron deity of the southern sacred segment. The attached shrines and sacred sites are: Tarakesvara, Gauri Kunda and Vitanka Nrsimha. In the late Sixteenth century Kumara -svami, a devotee of Dattatreya made a monastery attached to the Kedaresvara, temple.
Together with the magnificent building along the ghat and a grand Siva temple in Nilakantha area were constructed the king of Darabhanga (Bihar) in 1915. The building along the ghat shows a massive Greek pillars style. The shrine of Kukutesvara lies at the top.
At the place of an old site of Kevelyagiri Ghat, in c. 1778 queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore made this a pucca ghat. For the first time name of a person was added after the ghat. She was also responsible for re-building the Visvesvara temple, as exists at present, in 1777.
Mankarnika Ghat ( Burning Ghat)
Two ancient sacred waterfront sites make this ghat, viz Sidha Vinayaka and Swargadvaresvara. This is popularly called as “the great cremation ground” (Mahasmasana). A myth mentions that Lord Siva gives Taraka mantra (“Prayer of the crossing”) in the ear of the dead, therefore the form of Siva as Tarakesvara, (the temple is at the ghat), is propitiated whenever a Hindu dies.
This is the busiest and the most ancient ghat. The ghat derives its name from a sacrificing ceremony. The Sanskrit name literally translates into Ten Horses (Dasha – Ten; Aswamedh – Horses). The ghat has both mythological and historical references. According to the myth related to Divodasa, Lord Brahma (” the creator” in the Hind trinity gods) performed a ceremony by sacrificing ten-horses (dasa-asvamedha) at this site. The historical sources infer that at this site the revivalist Hindu dynasty of the second century, the Bharasiva Nagas had performed the ceremony by sacrificing ten-horses.
Rajendra Prasad Ghat
In memory and honour of the first president of India (1950-1962) Dr. Rajendra Prasad (1884-1963) this ghat was renamed and renovated by the Municipal Corporation of VARANASI, in 1979. In fact, this ghat was northern extension of Dasaswamedh Ghat.
This ghat represents two old sites of Jarasandhesvara and Vrdhaditya, which were converted by Mira Rustam Ali in 1735. Presently, in the name of these two shrines pilgrims throw flowers and raw-rice in the Ganga and remember them. The shrines and images in the vicinity are Vrdhaditya, Asa Vinayaka, Yajna Varahaand Visalaksi (“The Wide-Eyed “, one of the 52 Sakti-pithas of god desses.)
One of the recent most ghats to be planned and renovated, the ghat sports a beautiful amphitheatre for the local community to come together, showcase talent and socialize. The ghat hosts an early morning event of “Subah-e-Banaras” and a mix of events every evening ranging from classical dance and music to stand-up comedy and poetry. You can also see a lot of painters attempting to capture a part of the river and beautiful ghats on canvas from this southern ghat.
Sunrise Tour with hand boat: 300 per person Time: 5:30 AM to 7:00 AM (summer)
Add: Hotel Transfer and breakfast at 200 per person 6:00 AM to 7:30 AM (winter)
* All rates are inclusive of service charges
* Boats, houseboats and hand boats are not available during Dev Diwali
* Rates vary on festivals and important religious events
* Rates may change without prior notice