Assi ghat is one of the
most important ghats of Varanasi,this ghat constitutes the southern
end of the city Varanasi. Many Puranas like Matsya Purna, Kurm Puran,
Padma Puran, Agni Puran and Kashi Khanda have lot of references
about this ghat. According to Hindu Mythology Devi Durga after
killing demons Shumbha-Nishumbha threw her sword, the place where it
fell resulted in the formation of a big stream known as Asi river.
The place of confluence of Assi river and river Ganga is known as
Assi Ghat. According Kashi Khand this ghat is referred as "Saimbeda
Tirtha" a place where one can achieve Punya of all the Tirthas by
taking a dip into it. Hindu people take a sacred dip here on several
occasions like Surya / Chandra Grahan (Solar/Lunar Eclipse),
Prabodhni Ekadashi, Makar Sankranti etc.
GANGA MAHAL GHAT
Ganga Mahal Ghat is
named after a building of ex. Maharaja of Banaras towards the
northern end of Asi Ghat. In fact Ghat has a little cultural
significance except the Beautiful carvings depiction the Rajput and
local architectural grandeur of 16th cent. A.D. However the palace
was built in the first half of 20th cent. A.D.
This ghat is of not
much social and cultural signifiacne.It is an extended part of Assi
Ghat,it was constructed by Lala Mishir the purohit of Maharaja(King)
Ranjit Singh of Punjaab.It was earlier known as Mishir Ghat, but in
1879 it was purchased by Maharaja Rewan and from then it is known as
Rewan Ghat.This building was donated to Banaras Hindu University in
the later half of 2oth century.
It is named after the
great poet Tulsidas(1547-1622 A.D.) who wrote Ramcharitmanas.
Earlier it was know as Lolark Ghat as evident in Gaharwal Danpatra
and Girvanapadamanjari (17cent.A.D.). Later in 1941 Baldeo Das
Birala made this Ghat pucca. This Ghat is associated With a number
of important activities such as bath of Lolark kunda (to get sons
and their long life), bath to get rid of leprosy.During Hindu lunar
month of Kartika(Oct./Nov.) Krishna lila is also performed here with
great conventional rites, music concerts, wrestling, and spiritual
discourses are regular features here.
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.
In 1870 A.D. Maharani
Kunwar of Sursand(Bihar) made this Ghat. Earlier it was know as "Nagamber
Ghat". After pucca constructions it is know as Janaki Ghat. It has a
little Religious important but people take bath here since it is
safe and Clean.
MATA ANANDAMI GHAT
Earlier it was know as
‘Imalia Ghat’ in 1944 Mata Anandamai purchased this area from
British. She made this ghat pucca in addition to run a Ashrama. This
Ashrama is involved in performing a number of religious activities
It is made pucca by a
‘merchant named Vaccharaja during later half of 18th cent. It is
believed that seventh Jain Tirthankar of Suparshvanatha was born
nearby. At present most of Jain families live here. Upgoing stairs
from Ganga river bank to street have three niches consist of Shiva,
Ganesha and beautiful Ganga image riding on her vehicle crocodile.
Occasional cultural programs, bhajan and kirtans are organized here.
It is a comfortable Ghat for local people to take bath and do
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
Earlier it was a part
of Prabhu Ghat till first half 20th cent. Now a large number of
boatmen with their small boat & nets can be seen here. Ghat has one
Nishad raj Temple which in fact was constructed by boatmen families
only a few years back.
This Ghat was made in
the early part of 20th cent by Nirmal Kumar of Bangal. Most of
boatmen families are living here. Normally washermen wash clothes
here. Ghat has very little social and cultural significance.
On the northern end of
Prabhu Ghat a palatial building and a Ghat was constructed by King
of Panchakola (Bengal) in the later half of 19th cent. A.D. A series
of thin stairs from Ghat lead to palatial building where two temples
are situated. Ghat is pucca but the place is of lesser importance.
CHETA SINGH GHAT
It is a historical
fortified Ghat. The place has witnessed a fierce battle between the
troops of Warren Hastings and Chet Singh in 1781. A.d. The fort and
Ghat were taken from British by Maharaja Prabhu Narayan Singh in the
later half of 19th cent. Originally this Ghat was know at ‘Khirki
Ghat; Now it has four parts known as Cheta Singh, Niranjani, Nirvani
Ghat has three Shiva Temple belonging to 18th cent. Till first half
20th cent it was culturally quite important. The famous Budhwa
Mangal festival which is celebrated for seven days is organised
here. Due to sharp current of Ganga people avoid bathing here. This
Ghat has been rejuvenated by state govt. in 1958.
This Ghat belongs Naga
Saints who established ‘Niranjani Akhara’ in 1897. Originally it was
a part of Cheta Singh Ghat. Now there are four temples consisting of
paduka (footprints) of Niranjani Maharaj Durga Gauri Shankar and
Ganga images. The people do not take bath here owing to lesser
religious importance. The Ghatabhere rejoined in 1948 by state Govt.
It is situated on north
end of Nirvani Ghat. It is named after Mahanirvani sect of Naga
Saints. the famous Akhara is situated here. It has four small Shiva
Temple made by Nepal’s Maharaja. It is legendary that Acharya Kapil
Muni of Sankhya philosophy fame lived here during 7th cent. Near
Mahanirvani Akhara Mother Teresa’s Home is also situated.
It has been important
Ghat in early times. In mid nineteenth cent. It was separated into
some small Ghats. At present one witnesses a colossal building
constructed by Nepal King Sanjay Vikram Shah (19th cent ,A Shiva
Temple and one Brahmendra Math established by Kashiraj). There is no
significant cultural activities here. Only some of pilgrims and
local inhabitants take bath.
This Ghat was named
after a huge Gular tree which is not here at present. It was
constructed Pucca by Laloo Ji Agrawal. This Ghat has a very little
significance debris of old houses are scattered On of stairs.
It is referred by
Sherring (1968). It was made pucca by Laloo Ji Agrawal. This Ghat is
predominated by the Dandi ascetics carrying stick in their hand.
This Ghat is quite clean and worth taking bath.
It is believed that
great saint Tulsidas established a Hanuman Temple here during 18th
cent. A.D. which made it famous as Hanuman Ghat. The ancient name of
this Ghat was Rameshvaram Ghat which was established by lord Ram
himself. At present it is inside boundary of Juna Akhara. Many
vairagi ascetics live in the temples. The neighborhood is dominated
by South Indian residents.
PRACHINA (OLD) HANUMAN
Both of the above
(nos.19,20) ghats are made pucca by Mahant Hariharanath in 1825.
This Ghat had affinity with a great bhakti saint Vallabha
(C.E.1479-1531), who laid the philosophical Foundations for a great
resurgence of Krishna bhakti (Eck 1882 223). His birth day is
celebrated Here on 11th dark-half of Baisakha (April-May). The
temple of Rama consists of five Shiva Lingams named after Rama (
Rameshvara), his two brothers (Laksmaneshvara and Bharateshvara),
His wife (Siteshvara) and his monkey- servant (Hanumadishvara).
This Ghat was build by the state of Mysore (now
know as Karnataka) in early twentieth century (c.1910). There also
is a shrine of Ruru (" the Dog") Bhairava, one of the 8th Bhairavas
protecting the city from 8 directions.
HARISH CHANDRA GHAT
This Ghat is name after a mythological King
Harish Chandra, who once worked in the cremation ground here for the
perseverance of truth and charity but at the end the Gods rewarded
him and restored his lost thorn and his dead son. This is one of the
two cremation ghats, and some times referred as Adi Manikarnika ("
the original creation ground", cf.KKm 2.225-26), still there exists
Adi Manikarnika Tirtha. In 1986-87 an electric crematorium was
opened here, however side – by – side funeral of wood – fire is
continuing. This is also the seat of old Harampapa water – tirtha.In
the temples there are images of Harischandreshvara, Rohiteshvara,
Adi Manikarnikeshvara & Vrddha Kedara. In 1740 Narayana Diksit, a
religious guru of Peshvas renovated this Ghat and made this partly
In 1778 this Ghat was built pucca by Raja of
Banaras. At the upper side there are temples of Lambodara Chintamani
and Jyestha Vinaykas, Kirateshvara, Jayanta Shiva Lingam and Maha
Laksmi. The vicinity is dominated by washermen.
This ghat was made pucca in 1890 by the
Vijayanagaram State of South India. At the top of it is Swami
Karapatri Ashrama. Close by to this building are the shrines of
Nilakantha (1) and Nishpapeshvara.
This Ghat is meticulously eulogized in the KKh
( 77.8-10,47-54also KKm). This is the site of Haramapapa Tirtha. At
the top exists the temple of Kedareshvara, the patron deity of the
southern sacred segment. The attached shrines and sacred sites are
Tarakeshvara, Gauri Kunda and Vitanka Narsimha. In late Sixteenth
century Kumaraswami, a devotee of Dattatreya made a monastery
attached to the Kedareshvara, temple. According to a Gahadavala
inscription ( c.C.E.1100). Swapneshvara Ghat was existing close by
this Ghat, but now it has no representation.
This Ghat is famous for the huge pipala (Ficus
religiosa) tree at the top of the Steps which shelters a great array
of stone figures of snakes, nagas. Havell (1905 118-119) described
this Ghat "under a fine old pipala-tree, there is a small shrine and
a great number of old carved stones, some of Snakes, twined together
like Mercuty’s caduceus, with some fine figure sculptures let into
the upright face of the platform which surrounds the tree are
probably relics of the early Buddhist period". Closely to this tree
is the shrine of Rukmangeshvara, and at some distance lies Naga Kupa
("Snake Well"). On the occasion of festival honouring snake, Naga
Pancami, falling on the 5th light half of Shravana (July –August),
these shrines are especially worshipped. This Ghat was built in c.
Its old name was Nala Ghat, and was built in
early eighteenth century. The followers of Kumarasvami made a
monastery in 1962 at the upper – side of the steps. The shrines of
Kesemesvara and Ksemaka Ganga are at the top portion of the steps.
The neighborhood is dominated by Bengali residents.
At the top of this Ghat there is a sacred pond,
in replicated from representing the famous sacred lake of the same
name lying in Tibet. This Ghat was built by Raja Mana Singh of
Jaipur in c. 1585, and was rebuilt in c. 1805. The shrines of Rama,
Lakshamana, and Dattatreya are in the vicinity.
The old name of this Ghat is Kuvai Ghat. This
was constructed by Dattatreya Swami, a monastery chief, in c. 1788.
The four important images in the upper- side are Naradeshvara,
Atrishvara, Vasukishvara and Dattatreyeshvara.
Upto 1887 this was a famous ferry ghat. On 1st
jan. 1887, Lord Duffrin bridge (road-cum-rail) was made and its
importance as ferry points had lost. The bridge is named as Malaviya
Bridge in 1948 after the founder of Banaras Hindu University, Pt.
Madan Mohan Malaiya. In the Gahadavala inscriptions (c. 1100) this
ghat is mentioned many times in terms of its glory and merit. There
are four water-trithas affiliated to this ghat: Sankhya,Uddalaka,
Hayagriva and Nilagriva
Also known as Ganga Mahala Ghat, this was made
pucca in late nineteenth century by Kavindra Narayana Singh. At the
top a compound of five temples presents a magnificent view.
In c. 1805 this Ghat was built in honour of a
famous wrestler who established a wresting site (Akhara) there, his
name was Babua Pande. The shrine of Someshwara exists close by to
it. In its vicinity lies the old site of Prabhasa Tirtha, but
presently it is spatially transposed at Raja Ghat.
Of course, this
site had reference in a very early seventeenth century digest,
however the overall Ghat was erected under the patronage of Mathura
Pandey in late eighteenth century. The Ganga Keshava Tirtha and
Serveshvara image are near the Ghat.
This was erected in c.1830 Raja of Digpatia
(Bengal). The beautiful building along the Ghat now known as "Kashi
This Ghat is
described in the KKh (61.176-177) with respect to Yogini Tirtha and
Agatsya Tirtha. The number 64 (Chausatha) is attributed to
directional symbolism and also association between mother-goddesses
and their assistant- goddesses, of course there are other
interpretations too. This Ghat had privilege to provide shelter to a
great Sanskrit scholar, Madhusudana Sarsvati (c.e.1540-1623). Above
the Ghat there is temple of Chausatthi Devi, but only 60 images of
yogonis are there, the rest four are at different places. In c. 1670
King of Udaipur (Rajasthan) renovated this Ghat, and later it became
pucca On 12th dark-half of chaitra (March-April) many pilgrims pay
visit to the yogini temple and take ritual bath at this Ghat.
Another important occasion of attraction is the
evening on the day of Holi-a colourful festival showing start of
Chaitra-1, when homage ritual is performed at the Ghat.
RANA MAHALA GHAT
In fact, this is a extended part of the
preceding Ghat, and also made by king of Udaipur in c.1670. At the
top there is shrine of Vakratunda Vinayaka, one among the fifty-six.
Together with magnificent building along the
Ghat and a grand Shiva temple in Nilakantha area, the king of
Darabhanga (Bihar) made them in 1915. The building along the Ghat
shows a massive Greek pillars style. The shrine of Kukuteshvara lies
at the top.
The Ghat was built
by Sridhara Narayana Munsi a finance minister in the State of
Darabhanga, in 1912 as an extended part of Darabhanga Ghat. After
his death in 1924 this portion Ghat named in his honour.
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 Vishveshvara temple, as
exists at present, in 1777.
In c. 1740 pt. Narayana Diksit the preceptor of
Bajirao Peshava-1, made this Ghat pucca. In fact, this is the
southern extension of Dasasvamedha Ghat, where exists Dasasvamedha
Tirtha and images of Dasasvamedheshvara and Dasahareshvara. After
the famous sitala temple there, this Ghat is called after. On the
8th light- half of lunar months of Chaitra, Vaisakha Jyestha and
Asadha (March – July ) and Ashvina (Sept –Oct. ) people celebrate
the festival of Sitala Asthami ("8th day" ). The same festivities
also occur at (adi) Sitla Ghat in the north. Another important
occasion at this Ghat is the special worship after the newly
marriage, the couples and close family members come here for the
Ganga worship ritual followed by rituals in the Sitala temple.
This is the most
busiest and the ancient most referred Ghat. According to the myth
related to Divodasa, Lord Brahma (" the creator" in the Hind trinity
gods) performed the ten-horses sacrifice (dasa-ashvamedha) at this
site. The historical sources infer that at this site the revivalist
Hindu dynasty of the second century, the Bhara Shiva Nagas had
performed ten-horses sacrifice. The KKh (52.1-1061.38) records many
verses describing glory of this Ghat. The temple of Sulatankeshvara,
Brahmeshvara, Varaheshvara, Abhaya Vinayaka, the Ganga ("goddess"),
and Bandi Devi are closeby at the top of the Ghat. These shrines are
linked to several important pilgrimage journeys. The southern part
of the Ghat was made pucca in 1740 by Bajirao Pesava-1, and late in
c.1774 by Ahilyabai Holkar of lndore.
The southern part of the Ghat was made pucca in
1740 by Bajirao Pesava-1, and late in c.1774 by Ahilyabai Holkar of
This Ghat (old Prayaga Tirtha) together with
shrine of Prayagagesvara replicates the existence of Prayaga/
Allahabad in Varanasi. Prayaga, known as "Tirtharaja" (king of
Tirthas), lies at the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and the
invisible Sarasvati rivers. It is commonly believed that doing
rituals and taking sacred bath here provide exactly the same
religious merit as those at Prayaga (80 km away in the west). The
merit of this ares is eulogized in the KKh (61.36-38). About the
present condition, Eck (1982.228) remarks that "Today, however, the
name Prayaga Ghat, while it is painted boldly on temple that sits
between the two branches of Dashashvamedha, is not commonly used.
And even the temple there is utterly defunct, used only by boatmen
who store their gear in its sanctum". The temple and the Ghat-area
were reconstructed by queen of Digpatia state (West Bengal). For the
whole month of Magha (Jan-Feb.) devotees, mostly, use to take bath
at this site.
RAJENDRA PRASAD GHAT
In 1979 in memory
and honour of the first president of India (1950-1962). Rajendra
Prasad (1884-1963) this Ghat was renamed, and made pucca by the
Municipal Corporation of Varanasi. In fact, this Ghat was northern
extension of Dashashvamedha Ghat. And until late nineteenth century
a stone statue of horse was at the Ghat witnessing the "ten-horses
sacrifices" performed by Bhara Shiva Nagas in second century, that
is how the old name "Ghoda Ghat" ("Horse Ghat"). It is believed that
same horse image is shifted to Sankatmochana temple. The myth refers
that servants of Bhara Shiva Nagas taken bath here.
MANA MANDIRA GHAT
The old name of
this Ghat was Someshvara, but in c.e. 1585 when Raja Savai Mana
Singh (of Amber) made his palace and Ghat this is named after him.
This Ghat is "known primarily for the magnificent building with
exquisite, ornately carved window carvings" (Eck 1982228). On the
top of the floor is a Hindu Observatory built by Savi Jai Singh-11
(1686-1743 the other places where he established such observatories
are Jaipur, Delhi, Mathura and Ujjain. Under the direction of this
astrologer-minister, Jagannatha, the king built this observatory
during the period of 1710-1737. There are four main astronomical
instruments and renovation were made in 1850s and again in 1912
under the patronage of the King of jaipur. The closeby shrines at
the top of the Ghat are Someshvara, Dalabheshvara, Rameshvara and
Sthuladanta Vinayaka. In the river lies the Prabhasa Tirtha. On the
occasion of Holi the festival of colour, falling on the last day of
Phalguna (Feb-March), people perform celebration at the
The closeby shrines at the top of the Ghat are
Somesvara, Dalabhesvara, Remesvara and Sthuladanta Vinayaka. In the
river lies the Prabhasa Tirtha. On the occasion of Holi the festival
of colour, falling on the last day of Phalguna (Feb.-Narch), people
perform celebration at the Dalabhesvara shrine.
TRIPURA BHAIRAVI GHAT
This Ghat is named after the Tripura Bhairavi
Shrine, a female partner of Tripureshvara whose image also exists
there. Another important shrine is of Varahi, one of the nine
mother-goddesses. In late eighteenth century king of Banaras and pt.
Mayananda Giri had patronize to make this Ghat pucca.
represents two old sites of Jarasandheshvara 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 Vishalakshi("The Wide-Eyed
", one of the 52 Sakti-pithas of goddesses.) another important site
is Dharmakupa consisting of a sacred well surrounded by five temple,
and also Divodaseshvara lingam. The temple of Dharmesha is
associated to the myth of Yama's (Lord of Death) power over the fate
of the dead everywhere on the earth, except in Kashi. With the
notion that due to entrance of low castes ("untouchables") the
temple of Vishveshvara/ Vishvanatha became impure, Svami
Karapatri-Ji, a very conservative Brahmin and a cult-chief, has
established a " New Vishvanatha Temple" in 1956 at top of the Ghat.
On the steps, under a pipala tree, the water- pouring ritual in
honour of ancestors is performed.
PHUTA/ NAYA GHAT
This was and old site of Yajneshvara Ghat and
was made pucca by Swami Maheshvarananda in mid nineteenth century.
In the closeby stream lies the Vishala Gaja Tittha.
Havell (1905130) described this Ghat "where,
recessed in the stone embankment, and completely covered by the
river in the rainy season, is a pretty little shrine of Ganga, the
Ganges, represented as a female figure seated on crocodile. Above it
a stair- case leads to the Nepalese temple, a very picturesque
building, half-hidden by magnificent tamarind and pippal trees. It
is built chiefly of wood and brick; the double-storeyed roof, with
great projecting eaves supported by brackets, is characteristic of
the architecture of Nepal and of other sub-Himalayan districts".
The ghat is patronized by a Nepalese, and was
built pucca in c.1902 by Nanhi Babu. The area is dominated by
Nepalese residents (Nepali Khapra).
This Ghat is named after the famous goddess
Lalita in Kasi and also in Prayaga. The well known lingam of Ganga
Keshava and shrines of Gangatitya, Kasi Devi, Lalita Devi and
Bhagirath Tirtha are affiliated to this site. People believe that a
glimpse of Lalita Devi brings the same reward as circumambulating
the entire world.
At the top of the Ghat, close to the Nepali
Ghat, as described earlier, lies the Nepali Temple built in c. 1841
under the patronage of king of Nepal and assumed that the lingam
there replicates the famous Pasupatishvara at Kathmandu. The temple
has some wooden carving of the erotic scenes, and all the four
gateways and doors are fully decorated with geomagnetic
The old name of this Ghat was Raja Rajeshvari
Ghat and was made in early nineteenth century by a rich merchant,
Babu Keshava Deva. In the nearby stream lies the Bramhanala tirtha.
Somehow in diverted from this Ghat is also
called as Jalasen Ghat. In fact and the followed one both are part
of the cremation Ghat. The name it self indicates "putting dead body
into water" as part of ritual before putting the corpse on the
funeral pyre. In the mid- nineteenth century the nearby building and
the Ghat were built.
The name of the Ghat literally means "the
windows" (Khirki) from where attendants can watch the cremation.
Close to in 1940 Baldeo Dasa Birla has built a pilgrims rest house.
Under a deserted pipal tree there are five Sati shrines.
Presently both of the above Ghats are
defuntional and present a view of nuisance smoke-scape and
Two ancient sacred waterfront sites make this
Ghat, viz Sidha Vinayaka and Swargadvareshvara. Among the is
popularly called as " the great cremation ground" (Mahasmashana). A
myth mentions that Lord Shiva gives Taraka mantra ( "Prayer of the
crossing") in the ear of the dead, therefore the form of Shiva as
Tarakesvara, (the temple is at the Ghat), is propitiated whenever a
Hindu dies. The name Manikarnika derives its origin from the
dropping rings of Shiva during His transcendental dance here. The
historical sources mention this site in the Gupta inscriptions of
C.E.4th century. This is the first Ghat made pucca by the two king
brothers in C.E.1302; and was rebuilt and repaired in 1730 under the
patronage of Bajirao Peshava, and in 1791 Ahilyabai Holkar rebuilt
the entire Ghat. Again in 1872 repairing and renovations were done.
In the vicinity are shrines of
Manikarnikeshvara (a little far in the upper side of the lane),
Maheshvara (open air lingam at the Ghat) and Siddha and Manikarna
Vinayakas. The temple of Manikarnikeshvara is the approachable from
the Ghat by taking a steeply ascending lane south of the Kunda. "The
lingam of this temple-set dramatically underground at the bottom of
a deep shaft – could at one time be reached by a tunnel originating
on the Ghat".
There also exists
a sacred pond, Chakra- Puskarini Kunda ("Discus Lotus- Pool") and
Visnu’s feet impression Charana Paduka. According to puranic myth
long before the Ganga arrived at the heels of Bhagiratha, the
Chakra-Puskarini Kunda was present. Says the KKh(60.137-138). For
the benefit of the three world king Bhagiratha brought the Ganga to
the place where Manikarnika is –to Shiva’s Forest of Bliss
("Annandavana"), to Visnu’s Lotus Pool (Chakra-Puskarni Kunda).
Presently the Kunda surrounded by a cast-iron railing , is some (60
ft) at the top, narrowing to about (20ft) it) at the water’s edge
(Eck 1982 239). Vishnu and Laksmi images are located in the small
shrine inside the Kunda on the western wall; while a series of dozen
small niches containing Shiva lingams also exist there. Along the
sacred route, on the Ghat itself, are the symbolically footprints of
Vishnu (Charana Paduka),set in a circular marble slab. For 7,000
years Visnu was said to have performed tapasya on this spot, and
through the centuries millions of Hindus have sprinkled it with the
holy Ganga water and adorned it with flowers. A plate from Prinsep’s
which the subtitle calls "The holiest spot in the sacred City".
place to this holy spot has been reserved for the cremation of a few
selected, especially the Maharajas of Kasi (Eck 1982 246 ).
This Ghat area has ancient reputation as a
cremation ground; shaya Lord Shiva Having become Time itself, I
destroy the world here, O Goddess !" (Padma Purana 1.33.14).
However, it is not clear when this site was fully accepted for
cremation. Moreover, the NP(11.48.67), the MP (182.23b-24) and the
KKh (30.84-85) describe its glory in terms of cremation and death
rituals. The raised platform attached to the Ghat is used for death
anniversary rituals. Between Jalashayi and Manikarnika Ghat in the
stream lies fourteen water trithas, among which important are
Vishnu, Bhavani, Skanda, Taraka, Avimukteshvara and Pashupati.
Towering over Manikarnika Ghat, there is a
Shiva –Durga temple of Raja of Amethy (Awadh; now in Uttar Pradesh),
built in c. 1850 which is distinct with its five deep- red spires
and gilded pinnacles. Havell (1905 169) describes "It is built on a
terrace overlooking the river, and is approached by one of those
steep,staircased streets, leading from the Ghats up into the city,
which suggest a town of southern ltaly or Spain. Clambering up a
side staircase, you pass under the Naubata Khana,where musicians are
chanting praises of the goddess with strange but not unpleasing
accompaniments. On the right side of the entrance is a fine bronze
lion of Durga, and on the left Shiva’s bull. The quiet and
cleanliness inside are a relief from the bustle, sloppiness, and
dirt, and the somewhat sordid atmosphere of more popular Benares
Bajiriao Peshava built this Ghat in c. 1735,
that is how it is named after him, and also a palace. Havell (
1905138) has described the condition as " Before the basement had
been raised many feet, the tremendous weight of the massive masonry
caused a landslip, which made the whole fabric topple over, so that
the work had to be abandoned. The unfinished façade and the Ghat
steps still remain…". In fact the entire structure sunk several
metres into the earth since its erection (Sherring 1868 72). Later
in 1830 queen Baijabai of Gwalior get it repaired and rebuilt ; she
had also erected the colonnade around the Jananavapi well. In the up
stream part there is a temple of Dattatreyeshvara, so that this was
referred as Dattatreya Ghat. Presently this is assumed to be a part
of the Scindhia Ghat.
Formerly it was known as Vireshvara Ghat, after
the temple of same name lying at the top. In 1780 Ahilabai Holker of
Indore made the Ghat pucca. In 1829 queen Baijabai had get it
repaired and remodeled; and again in 1937 Daulatarao Scindhia made
the entire Ghat pucca. The shrines of Vashistha and Vamadeva, and
Atmavireshvara are at the top. The Paravata tirtha lies in the close
by Ganga river.
Its old name was Yameshvara Ghat after the name
of the shrine. At the top in the lane lies temples of Yameshvara and
harischandreshvara which might be thought of the old cremation area;
still at present on the ossasion of Yama Dvitiya devotees take
sacred bath. In late 18th cent. king of Baroda made this Ghat, but
1825 Beniram Pandit’s widow, known as "Panditain", and nephews built
this Ghat pucca together with a building structure of the temple of
Sanktha Devi. At the top of the Ghat towards the city there shrines
of Katyayini and Siddheshvari goddesses; three Vinayakas
Harishcandra, Chintamani and Mitra; and Vasukishvara. A new image of
Santosi Mata (" Mother of Satisfaction") has recently also been
built at the top. Between the Manikarnika and Scindhia Ghats there
exist three water-tirthas, Viz, Uma, Sarasvata and Kamblasvetara.
GANGA MAHAL GHAT (2)
This is a another Ghat of the same name. This,
in fact, is an old part of Yameshvara Ghat. King of Gwalior had
built it in early 19th cent, and later on repaired and rebuilt by
Govinda Bali Kiratankara.
In c. 1780 Maratha king ‘Bhonsala’ of Nagpur
made this Ghat, and later in 1795 this was made pucca together with
the establishment of the temple of Lakshmi Narayana and a place. Two
important shrines near by to the palace are of Yameshvara and
In Prinsep’s map of 1822 this was named as
Gularia Ghat and perhaps was made only a few years before. This was
made pucca in c. 1960.
This was formerly known as Agnishvara Ghat
after the Agni Tirtha in the stream. After passage of time after
Peshava’s Ganesa temple this is known by this name. Important
shrines at the top are Bhadreshvara and Nagesha Vinayaka. Another
important water-tirtha in the stream is Iksavaku Tirtha. During
1761-1772 Madhorao Peshava made this Ghat fully pucca and also done
extensive repairing. In puranic description this Ghat is referred as
Vighneshvara Ghat. On 9th dark-half of Bhadrapada (Aug.-Sept.) a
special celebration is held here.
Formally this saw part of the preceding Ghat,
but after the construction of V.S.Mehta hospital (1962)this is known
to the name of later one. The Varanasi Municipal Corporation made
this Ghat pucca in 1960s. there are three water-tirtha as along this
Ghat Maitravaruna, Marutta and Iksavaku.
This Ghat has association with the Rama Tirtha
and the shrine of Vira Rameshvara. Two other closeby water-tirth as
are Kala Ganga and Tamra Varaha. The famous Vedic school of its own
kind, the Sanga Veda School, is situated closeby where on the
occasion of Rama's birth on 9th light-half of Chaitra(March-April)
and Ganesa's birth on 4th dark-half of Bhadrapada(Aug.-sept.)
special celebrations are performed. The temple of Rama and
Badi-Narayana is also a notable shrine at the Ghat.
RAJA GWALIOR GHAT
Both of these Ghats and also Rama Ghat were
erected by the patronage of Madhorao Peshava in c. 1766. In fact,
they are the two ends of the same Ghat.
MANGALA GAURI GHAT
This was built by Balaji Peshava-I in 1735,
after whom this is also known as Bala Ghat. Later in c.1807 Lakmana
Bala of Gwalior repaired and renovated this Ghat. In a
mid-seventeenth century it has a reference. At the top of the Ghat
in temple compound there are images of Gabhastishvara, Mangala Gauri
and Mangala Vinayaka. Mangala ("Auspiciousness") Gauri is one among
the nine motherly white Goddesses (cf.KKh 100.68-72.At the Ghat
there are shrines of typical covered structure of Raghavendreshvara,
and Charchika Devi.
This is the part of the Panchaganga Ghat and
also known as Vindu Madhava Ghat after the name of the famous tenth
century temple. This has been eulogized in the KKh (59.120-121; also
61.243-244). The Vindu Madhava temple which was in ruin since AD
1496 was rebuilt by Maharaja of Amber in 1585 together with a palace
at Mana Mandira Ghat (cf.motichand 1985;226). But in 1669 the temple
was demolished by the order of Aurangazed and concerted into a
mosque (still serves as landmark at this site). The image of Vindu
has been re-established in the upper storey of Lakshmanabala
building and still it attracts a thousand of devotees and pilgrims
for glimpse and worship.
This is one of the five water-front sacred most
sites, and believed To be the meeting point of five drains,viz. The
Ganga, the Yamuna, the Sarsvati the Kirana and the Dhupapapa, among
which only the first one is visible and rest are vanished, or
assumed in the form of manifestation. The merit and glory of this
Ghat are described in an eleventh century text and also in the KKh
(59;116-144). This was the chief resort of a great teacher of
Vedanta, Ramananda (CF 1299-1411) to whom Kabira (1398-1623) a great
reformist bhakti poet, accepted as guru. Ramananda's monastery is
still there. Tulsi (1547-1623) was initially living (c.1580s-1590s)
at this Ghat where he composed the famous writing, the Vindu-patrika
("The petition to Rama"), describing the glory of Vindu Madhava
temple (VP 61-63,see allchin 1966;129-132, compare KKh 60,61).
The Ghat was made of stone steps in 1580 by
Raghunatha Tandan (TodarMal), the finance secretary of the Mughal
King Akbar. In c. 1735 Bajirao Peshava-I together with Sadashiv Naik
rebuilt and repaired it again in 1775 renovations and repairing were
done by Sripatirao Peshava, and Pant Prinidhi of Andhra. There are
eight water-front sacred tirthas at the Ghat Pippalada, Vindu Makha,
Mayukharka, Jnanahrda and Panchanada. There are two monasteries at
the Ghat, viz. Sri and Ramannada.
At the Ghat, close
to the river front, there are "the dozens of three-sided cubicle
shrine rooms that open out into the river. Some contains a lingam or
an image, such as the lanky bara and used primarily for yogic
exercises and meditation". Sherring has vividly described this Ghat.
"The Ghat is broad and deep,and exceedingly
strong. Its stairs and turrets are all of stone, and from their
great number, afford accommodation to a multitude of worshippers and
bathers. The turrets are low and hollow, and are employed as temples
and shrines. Each one contains several deities, which are, mostly,
emblems of Siva. An ordinary observer would be in ignorance of the
fact these are filled with idols, and would scarely imagine that he
was walking upon the top of a long succession of shrines, and over
the heads of hundreds of gods. He would have to descend several
steps, before discovering the sacrilege which he was ignorantly
committing; but having done so, he would at once perceive that the
turrets are open towards the river, and are, therefore, very
convenient for devotional purposes".
The Ganga -arati (offering oil lamps) at the
time of sun rise and sun set is the most attractive site and scene
at this Ghat, which is performed in honour of the Ganga. The shrine
of the goddess Ganga is also here. During the month of Vaisakha
(April-May)& Karttika (oct.-Nov.), devotees, mostly ladies,use to
take sacred bath in the morning at this Ghat special festivity and
sacred bathing are performed here on the birthday of the Ganga,i.e.
Vaisakha (Apr.-May), on the 7th light-half. In the month of
Karttika(Oct.-Nov.) ritual of offering oil lamps to ancestors,
arranged in the sky with the bamboo stands, is performed by the
Ghatiyas (Ghat-priests) on behalf of the devotees who patronize the
cost, or materials and rewards (in cash, or kinds, or both) for the
service. There is a stone pillar with a thousand sockets stone made
structure to hold the lamps lighted on the night of full moon in the
month of Karttika.
The name derived its association with the
Brahmacarini Durga temple. In 1772 Narayana Diksit, a guru of
Pesavas, had purchased land from local resident fishermen and built
two Ghats Durga and the succeeding one, Brahma Ghat. This was
rebuilt and repaired in c. 1830 by Nana Phadanavisa, a Deevan of
Gwalior State, whose building at the top of the Ghat is known as
Phadanavisa Wada. At the Ghat exist Marakandeya and Kharva Narsimha
Tirthas, and at there is a shrine of Kharva Narsimha. On the
full-moon day of the month of Karttika youngmen make show fighting
This is named after the temples of Brahma and
Brahmesvara. The other notable tirtha and shrine are of Bhairava
Tirtha and Vindu Madhava. At the Ghat exists a monastery seat,viz.
Kasi Matha SansthanaSudhindra Tirtha Swami.
BUNDI PARAKOTA GHAT
Formerly it was known as Raja Mandira Ghat. In
c. 1580 king of Bundi, Raja Surajana Hada made this Ghat; and it was
made pucca in mid nineteenth century. In its vicinity at the top
exists the shrines of Shesa Madhava, Karnaditya and Laksmi Narsimha.
This is an extended part of the preceding Ghat,
also made by Hada in c. 1580, but later in 1772 was repaired and
rebuilt by Narayana Diksit. This Ghat is named after the old temple
of Sitala, known as "Badi" (elder) sitala. The other goddess-shrines
in the vicinity are of Nageshvari Devi ("Snake Goddess") and
Narayani. Karanaditya Tirtha at the bank and Shankha Madhava are
other sacred spots. There are three Sati stones of memory in the
vicinity. Like that of the earlier Sitala Ghat, on every 8th
light-half of the months of Chaitra, Vaisakha, Jyestha and Asadha
(March-July) festivities take place in honour of mother goddess.
This Ghat was erected by a rich merchant in c.
1800 after whose name it is now known. As part of this Ghat in 1935
Baldeo Das Birla has built a small Ghat called as Gopi Govinda Ghat
at the top of which exists a pilgrims'rest house made by him.
This was perhaps founded in late nineteenth
century. It represents the famous site of Hanumangardhi in Ayodhya
(the birth palce of Rama). Hanuman is the monkey assistant to Lord
Rama. The Ganga Akhara (wrestling site), and a Sati-stone are along
the Ghat. The other shrines in the vicinity are Gopi Govinda and
This Ghat records a reference in a 17th century
, the Grivana Manjari. In 12th cent. Varanasi this was considered to
be the southern limit of the city; in the vicinity still exists the
symbolic relic of that period, Patana Darvaja. At the Ghat there is
a huge image of a cow (gaya/gai), symbolizing the earth, that is how
the Ghat is known as Gaya Ghat. In early 19th cent. the Ghat was
made pucca by Balabai Sitole of Gwalior. At the top of the Ghat,
closeby there are four images Bageshvari Devi, Nageshvari
Devi("Snake Goddess"), Mukharnirmalika Devi("Pure-Faced Goddess")
and Samhara Bhairava.
BADRI NAYARANA GHAT
This Ghat was earlier known as Mahatha/Matha,
or Balabai Ghat Balabai of Gwalior had patronize to make this Ghat
pucca in early 19th century. Later on the Municipal Corporation of
Varanasi had get it repaired and renovated. The associated sacred
shrines are Nageshavara tirtha, Nageshvara, Nagesha Vinayaka and
Nara-narayana Keshava. The last shrine is originally at Badrinatha,
that it how the name of Ghat derives Badri (the site)and Narayana
(the deity). On the occasion of full-moon day of Pausha(dec.-jan.),
a special festivity in honour of Vishnu in the form of Nara-Narayana
is celebrated. Also, on 3rd light-half of Vaishakha(Apr.-May) there
takes a sacred bath ceremony.
The name derives after famous image of Shiva,
Trilochana ("Three-Eyed"), whose lingam is known as
Trilochanehsavara. The KKh (75.12, 18-10, 72-74) and other
contemporary digests have composed many metres in glory of this Ghat
and its associated water tirtha, Pilapippala Tirtha. In the
Gahadavala rule, c.C.E. 1100, this was a very famous site for sacred
bath and rituals. The renovations and repairings were done by
Narayana Dikshit in c. 1772. Later around 1795 Nathu Bala of Pune
made the Ghat pucca.
Since late 12th cent. this site was used as
ferry point and was also known for a number of grainaries(gola),
from where the name Gola Ghat devired. However, after opening the
bridge at Raja Ghat in 1887 the site had lost its importance. At
this Ghat there is a Puranic reference of Pisegila Tirtha, while at
the top exits the shrine of Burgu Keshava (Vishnu).
NANDESAVARA /NANDU GHAT
This Ghat in early 20th cent. by the local
neighbourhood residents. There appears an Akhara (wrestling site) of
the same name.
It has reference to late 18th cent, and it has
a reference of an old water-front sacred spot, Pranava Tirtha. Close
to the Ghat towards the top is HaridashanSavashrama Trust
(Mukhimgung). Most parts of the Ghat are occupied by washermen.
It has reference to late 18th cent.; and known
for an ancient sacred spot, Hiranyagarbha Tirtha. Legends say that
the area was dominated by the oilpressing caste (Teli) settled along
a small drain (nala) meeting here, that is how the name derived.
In medieval digests a sacred water-front site,
Gopratara Tirtha, and an image of Gopratateshvara are referred at
this Ghat. During 18th century the Ghat – area became deserted
(Phuta), but later on it was renovated. This way the Ghat was
formerly known as phuta, and later as Naya. In 1940 Narsingh Jaipala
Chainput-Bhabhua(Bihar) made this Ghat pucca.
This is the named after Prahalada, a great
mythological devotee of Lord Visnu. In 11th-12th cent. the Ghadavala
inscriptions mentioned this Ghat. This is spread over a longer
distance. In 1937 with the construction of a new Nishada Ghat in the
centre (where exists Satsanga Akhara), now the Ghat is divided into
two parts the southern and northern. In the southern part exists the
shrines of Prahaladeshvara, Prahalada Keshava, Vidara Narsimha, and
Varada and Pichindala Vinayakas. Around the northern site exists
Mahishasura Tirtha, Svaralingeshvara,Yajna Varaha and Shivaduti
On 14th light- half of Vaishakha (April-May), a
grand festive celebration to honour the appearance of Narsimha
("Lion-Man" incarnation of Lord Visnu; i.e. 4th among the ten) is
performed on massive scale in the temple of Prahaladeshvara.
ADI KESHAVA GHAT
inscription (c. C.E. 1100) this Ghat was referred as Vedeshvara Ghat.
This is assumed to be the oldest and the original (Adi) site of Lord
Vishnu ( Keshava). The temple complex of Adi Keshava has a pleasant
pastoral setting on he bank above the confluence of the Varuna and
the Ganga rivers. Among the oldest puranic listings of sacred sites
in the city, this is one of them. This sacred spot is fully
eulogized in the MP (185-68), the VP (3.34-50), the KKh (84.109; see
also 51.44-82). This was the most favorite holy site of the
Gahadavala kings, as evident from the Gahadavala inscription that" a
great number of regal ritual occasions in Varanasi included the
worship of Adi Keshava or a dip in the Ganga at the Varuna
confluence (Niyogi 1959 app. B as in Eck 1982233). The Ghat was made
pucca in 1790 by a Divan of Scindhia State.
According to a folk legend the five most sacred water-front holy
spots represent the bodily parts of the Lord" Asi is the head;
Dashashvamedha is the chest; Manikarnika is the naval; Panchaganga
is the thighs; and Adi Keshava is the feet" (Eck 1982233). This
reminds that Vianu first placed his holy feet here in Varanasi. His
foot prints (Charana Paduka) in the Adi Keshava temple symbolize
that occasion; another foot prints are at Manikarnika Ghat.
confluence of the Varuna and the Ganga and paying visit to
Sangameshvara ("Lord of Confluence") give a special religious merit,
as referred in the Linga Purana (92.87-89)
lingam has been installed by Brahama at this confluence. It is know
in the world as Sangameshvara. If a man shall become pure taking his
bath at the confluence of the divine river and then worship
Sangamesha, whence need he fear rebirth".
lingam is located in temple attached to Adi Keshava; and from the
pavilion of Adi Keshava, one can look down into the courtyard of the
Sangameshvara. Closeby to it is the Brahmeshvara lingam (a four-
faced lingam) and believed to be established by Brahma ("The
and Adi Keshava Ghat (from south to north) there are ten water-tirthas
lying along the bank Shankha Madhava, Sasa, Lakshminarsimha,
Gopigovinda, Vindara Narsimha, Yajna Varaha, Mara- Narayana, Vamana,
Pranava and Dattatreyeshvara. And between Adi Kesava Ghat and
confluence of the Varuna there are twelve water-tirthas Aditya
Kesava, Ambarisa, Narada, Garuda, Mahalaksmi, Padma,Gada, Chakra,
Shankha, Ksirabdhi, Svetadvipa and padodaka.
In the vicinity of
Adi Keshava temple are located two Vinayakas Chinatamani ("relieving
worry") and Kharva ("the dwarf"), and jnana Keshava ("wisdom"),
Prayaga lingam and Keshavaditya ("Keshava-Sun").
The birth day of
Vamana ("the Dwarf"; 5th incarnation of Visnu among the ten) is
celebrated on massive scale in the Adi Keshava temple on 12th light-
half of Bhadrapada (Aug. Sept.).
At the time of
sunrise and sun set both, one can see the natural beauty of
reflecting colourful light in the Ganga, in the morning the
reflection of sunlight on the palatial buildings and in the evening
the shadows of those building in Ganga make the scene unique which
is more an aspect of experience than reading about it.