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Varanasi Ghats - Banaras

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Adrayee Kunkun

Anyone living in India or anyone who calls himself an Indian is bound to have heard about Banaras Hindu University. It is in this land of Banaras Hindu University lies the various Ghats called the Banaras Ghats. There are hundreds of them, sprawling over acres of lands of Banaras.

Banaras, one of the sacred cities of Hindus stretches along the crescent of River Ganges, its waterfront dominated by long flights of stone ghats, where thousands of pilgrims come for their daily ritual ablutions. Also known as the City of Lights, Banaras is supposed to be founded by Lord Shiva – Varanasi or Banaras is one of the oldest living cities of World. It is also one of the oldest pilgrims of India. Each year it attracts thousands of devotees, students, pilgrimers who come here and stay for long periods. It is supposed one who dies in Varanasi attains Moksha.

Varanasi is all about the Ghats, chain of stone steps. Some of the famous Ghats are Asi Ghat, Kedara Ghat, Chauki Ghat, Chaumsathi Ghat, Dashaswamedh ghat, manikarnika Ghat, scindia ghat.

The Asi Ghat is the confluence of Asi and Ganges. Near this Ghat is the Tulsi Ghat, named in the honour of Tuli Das who lived nearby in the sixteenth century. Just a few steps from here are the Shivala Ghat and the Hanuman Ghat. From here if you go towards North, then there is the Kedara Ghat. In this Ghat, you will find Kedareshvara lingam, an outcrop of black rock shot through twith a vein of white. Myhtologically it is realted to Kedarnath in Himalayas.

The Chauki Ghat is distinguished by an enormous tree which shelters small stones shrines to Nagasm water snake deites. Near to it is the Mansarovar Ghat named after the pilgrim in Tibet. Just a few steps from here is the Chamusathi Ghat from where the steps lead to the small temple of Chaumsathi (64) Yoginis ( lady preists).

Dashaswammedh Ghat is the second and the busiest of the five thirthas in the Panchatirthi Yatra. Its one of the most popular one with pilgrimers hoarding even in the rainy season. There is a Brahmeshvara lingam here.

Manikarnika Ghat is the Varanasis Cremation Ground. Though such Ghats are usually at one corner of the but as the entire city of Varanasi is known as Mahashamshana , the Great Cremation Ground for the corpse of the entire Universe, this Ghat has a place in the heart of the city.

Bordering Manikarnika Ghat is the Scindia Ghat, It has a tilting Shiva Temple which is partly submerged in river water as a result of the Ghats weight which was constructed 150 years ago.

Apart from the Ghats are the three famous places of Varanasi – The Durga Temple, Benaras Hindu University and the Ramnagar Fort. These three too can be visited by anyone who visits this holy place callled Benaras – the City of Ghats.

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