Sneak peek into life at the ghats of Banaras

Ganga ghat, Varanasi

Ganga is much more than a river, it’s a symbol of India’s ancient culture and heritage. When the earliest men arrived at the Indian subcontinent, they settled along the banks of this river and since then, the Ganga river is inextricably linked to India’s past, present, and future. Empires flourished and perished on its banks, battles won and lost, cities built and destroyed; the river has seen it all. For some, its a goddess, so pure, so benevolent, that a dip in its holy waters can wash away a lifetime of sins, cleanse one’s soul and bestow liberation. Read more

Witnessing the spectacular Ganga aarti at the Dashaswamedha Ghat, Varanasi

Dashaswamedha Ghat, Varanasi

Banaras me toh Ganga bhi ulti behti hai‘, a colloquial adage meaning here in Banaras, even the mighty Ganges flows in reverse. In Banaras or Varanasi, as it is presently called, river Ganga takes a crescent-shaped turn towards the north, an aberration in the southward flow of the river which originates in the laps of the mighty Himalayas and traverses the Gangetic plain before flowing into Bangladesh and eventually into the Bay of Bengal. Long ago, on the banks of this turn, a legendary city was established; a city that epitomized spirituality and survived long enough to be regarded as the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. Read more

Manikarnika & Harishchandra: My experience of the cremation ghats in Varanasi

Manikarnika Ghat

Manikarnika Ghat is among the oldest and most revered ghats of Varanasi. This is one of the two cremation ghats in Varanasi and is believed to be the most auspicious place for a Hindu to be cremated which leads to attainment moksha. Legends mention that Lord Vishnu meditated at this ghat and also established a kunda where Lord Shiva and Mata Parvati is believed to have taken bath. Daily, over 300 bodies are cremated here round the clock and the fire of Manikarnika has never extinguished in thousands of years. So those who are cremated here are essentially cremated from the same fire that cremated their ancestors through generations. Read more