The city of Varanasi is one of the oldest city in the world and also one of the most sacred places for Hindus around the globe. The ghats of Varanasi are the main attraction for visitors. 32 hours stay in the sacred city situated on the bank of the river Ganga were astonishing.
We arrived the city in the late afternoon and decided to stay in at Bhelupur. The place is situated south of Varanasi and strategically a good place, as most of the main spots of the city are within close reach from Bhelupur. At evening we decided to see the Ganga aarti that took place every day at morning and evening. So we headed to the Dashashwamedh Ghat which is just a 2.5 km from Bhelupur.
NOTE: Try to visit the destinations by walking or by bike in the main city.
Ganga Aarti At Dashashwamedh Ghat
Ghats of Varanasi is famous from ancient time among devotees, but Dashashwamedh Ghat is oldest among all. Ganga aarti held here for generations without interruption. We reached on time as the aarti starts by 6:45 pm. We reached the ghat via the main market and the most famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The crowd was awesome and the feeling of devotion was at its peak during the aarti. The atmosphere was full of energy, the sounds of bells and shankh work as a catalyst to generate more energy. After the aarti, we spend some time at Ghat and then moved to visit the market. As we were tired so went back to the hotel and decided to completely explore the ghats of Varanasi next day.
The Temples In The Scared City of Varanasi
The next morning we decided to explore the city, so we first went to Lanka in BHU (Banaras Hindu University) and decided to start our journey to visit temples from Lanka.
According to a rough estimation, there are around 23000 temples available in Varanasi, but there is no official data available. The evidence available to the Archaeological department from excavations suggests that the city was inhabited from 1800 BCE. Strange…!!!!!
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The original Kashi Vishwanath Temple is situated near Dashashwamedh ghat but the new temple is constructed in BHU (Banaras Hindu University). At the entry, a statue of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya is situated who was the founder of BHU. The construction of the temple is beautiful. Don’t be surprised by seen college students studying in the premises of the temple. Stories of Raja Vikramaditya, Lord Ram, and Lord Krishna are depicted on the walls of the temple. Outside the temple, canteens are available for refreshment. On the other side of the road, a digital library of BHU is situated.
Sankat Mochan Temple
The temple is situated on the bank of Assi Ghat. It is just a few kilometers from Lanka. Electronic gadgets are not allowed on the premises of the temple one of the security measure taken after the Varanasi bomb blasts of 2006. The Sankat Mochan Temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and is established by Goswami Tulsi Das. It is believed that the Tulsi Das Ji had seen Lord Hanuman in his dreams at the same place where the temple is situated currently. The temple is also famous for its Besan k Ladoos which are prepared in pure ghee in the premises of the temple. A lot of greenery is present around the temple. The continuous chanting of the slogan for Lord Ram and Lord Hanuman gives an amazing spiritual thrill and purifies the soul.
Tulsi Manas Mandir
By collecting our gadgets we headed towards Tulsi Manas Mandir. The Mandir is located at a walking distance from the Sankat Mochan Mandir. The two-floor temple is dedicated to Goswami Tulsi Das and his workings. The walls of the temple are completely covered by the Chaupies of Ramcharitra Manas written by Tulsi Das. There is also a museum inside the temple which picturized the working of Tulsi Das. A well-maintained garden is present outside the temple building.
NOTE: If you have time then don’t forget to taste the Lassi of Varanasi. The famous Lassi is available near the Ramnagar Fort. We didn’t have the time to visit Ramnagar Fort but we arranged the Lassi through one of our close friends.
Ghats Of Varanasi
From Tulsi Manas Mandir we walked towards the Assi Ghat one of the important among all the ghats. With the walking of about 20 minutes, we reached the Assi Ghat.
Assi Ghat is the southernmost among all the ghats present in the city. It is named Assi as it comes at 80th position in the counting of ghats. Assi Ghat is most popular among tourists as it has the capacity to host about 25000 people at a time. It is said that Tulsi Das went to heaven through Assi Ghat. It is also a famous destination for movie shouting. Assi Ghat is one of the most important ghats of Varanasi.
When we arrived the Ghat there were arrangements for the stage program. We sit at the ghat enjoyed the sips of tea. Slow and cold wind flow in the month of November and a cup of tea are the perfect combination to enjoy at Assi Ghat. Dasaswamedh Ghat is present at a walking of 20 minutes from Assi Ghat. So we decided to travel along the ghats towards Dasaswmedh ghat.
NOTE: Here some of the important ghats are mentioned between Assi and Dasaswmedh ghats.
The ghat is named after Goswami Tulsi Das. The Tulsi ghat is situated near the Assi Ghat. Today the ghat is under the control of Sankat Mochan Trust. The some of the belongings of Tulsi Das Ji is still present here and is preserved by the Sankat Mochan Trust. In 2011 the original copy of Sri Ramcharitmans was stolen from the Hanuman temple at the ghat but was recovered by joint operation of UP police and CBI. Various cultural programs organized at Tulsi Ghat throughout the year.
Chet Singh Ghat
The ghat is related to the battle against Britishers. In the 18th century, Raja Chet Singh then Kashi Naresh had built a small fortress at the ghat, which is the evidence of the bloodshed between British troops and the army of Kashi. Now the ghat has been split into 4 ghats, beside Chet Singh Ghat others are Niranjani Ghat, Mahanirvani Ghat, Shivala Ghat.
Harish Chandra Ghat
The ghat is named after the most honest and truth full king ever in Indian history Raja Harish Chandra. It is believed that when he lost all his kingdom due to his honesty, he came here to work at the cremation ground. Later on, he received back all his kingdom due to his honesty. There are two ghats in Varanasi used for cremation Harish Chandra Ghat and Manikarnika Ghat. It is one of the important and oldest ghats of Varanasi.
The ghat is named after one of the greatest empires existed in southern India the Vijayanagara. The ghat is adjacent to the Kedar Ghat.
The ghat was constructed by the king of Amber, Raja Man Singh. A pool named Mansarovar was constructed during that time and it is a belief that if someone takes bath in the lake than it will be equal to take bath in the Kalesh Mansarovar situated in Tibet. Later on, many renovations works happened here. In 1950 when Uttar Pradesh government started the renovation work the space for the lake gets reduced and now it is converted into a well and now is known as Mansarovar Kupa.
Narad was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. On him, the ghat is named. The four important idols present at Narad ghat are Naradeshvara, Atrishvara, Vasukishvara, and Dattatreyeshvara. Husband and wife are not allowed to take bath together at Narad Ghat. As it is believed that contention may happen among them in future which may lead to separation.
The ghat was constructed in the 1800s by the king of Digapatiya now in Champaran district of Bihar. The architecture and design of the structure resemble the Bengali style. The bhajans continue here 24 hours a day. The singing of bhajan never stops at Digpatia Ghat.
The Chousatti Ghat is located north of Digpatia Ghat. At the top of the ghat, the temple of Chausath Yogani Devi is situated on which the ghat is named Chousatti Ghat. Chausath in Hindi counting means 64, and the temple has the status of the goddess. These goddesses are the assistant of Goddess Kali. To whom the temple is dedicated. The temple is opened only on Holi and 12th day of Chaitra in Navratri for devotees. Chousatti Ghat is one of the most important ghats of Varanasi.
Rana Mahal Ghat
The ghat was constructed by the Rana of Mewar Jagat Singh during the 17th century. He constructed the ghat when he was on his pilgrimage tour. The ghat is a good example of Rajputana architecture and style of that time.
The ghat was constructed by the royal family of Darbhanga, Bihar. The building is made of sandstone and the structure is inspired by Greek Pillars. The magnificent building is a great example of architecture and art style of different times. The ghat is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. It is situated adjacent to Rana Mahal Ghat in north and south of Dashashwamedh Ghat.
This ghat is one of the oldest and prominent places for pilgrims. It is believed that Lord Brahma performed 10 Ashwamedh sacrifices and take bath here to confers the benefits of ten Ashwamedh. It is also known as Brahma Dwar and its old name is Rudrasarovar. After the arrival of Ganga river, the Rudrasarovar disappeared but the site is continued to be regarded as the prominent of pilgrimage. The present Ghat was built in 1748 by Peshwa Balaji Bajirao. Ganga Aarti is performed here every day at morning and evening without break. Dashashwamedh Ghat is one of the most popular and hub of pilgrims among the ghats of Varanasi.
At Dashashwamedh Ghat we enjoyed Ganga Aarti and moved to the market for some shopping and dinner. We reached the hotel, packed our luggage and reached the railway station with the devotional memories from one of the oldest city in the world, which lighten the greatness of one of the worlds oldest civilization and makes us feel proud to be a part of this great civilization where the legacy continues at the ghats of Varanasi.