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Ghats of Varanasi

Listed under Sacred Places in Varanasi, India.

  • Photo of Ghats of Varanasi
  • Photo of Ghats of Varanasi
  • Photo of Ghats of Varanasi
  • Photo of Ghats of Varanasi
  • Photo of Ghats of Varanasi
  • Photo of Ghats of Varanasi
  • Photo of Ghats of Varanasi
  • Photo of Ghats of Varanasi
Photo of Ghats of Varanasi
Photo by flickr user wieland7
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All along the Varanasi river front are temples and palaces built in the 18th and 19th centuries, and below them are terraces and stairs, there so that everyday people can get close to the Ganges as well as the wealthier echelons who built this strange promenade of buildings. Each individual ghat is marked with a lingam, some still flourish, awash with early morning bathers, people paying tribute to the river and people in yoga poses, some are crumbling.

The most famous ghats include Asi Ghat, Tulsi Ghat and the marigold covered Manikarnika Ghat, which is one of Varanasi's two burning ghats, which is where the cremations take place and around which you can see the bodies in their shrouds waiting to be burned on funeral pyres.

The other must-see ghat is Dasaashwamedh Ghat, which is both the best place to arrange a boat to take you out on a morning boat trip out onto the water to see the ghats from afar, and where one of the main evening events is held, the grand aarti, which is conducted by five priests, who perform an ceremony that's so graceful it's almost a dance, using incense, camphor, flowers and lamps in their tribute to the Mother River. Then thousands of lanterns are released into the water and that scene you must have seen images of, with the water covered in floating lanterns looking like something divine. So that it's no wonder people believe it's the way to heaven.

There are about 4kms of ghats, and the best way to see them is from the water.

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