Varanasi A Day At The Ghats

The ash-laden foreheads of meditating seers remind you of India which speaks of spirituality
Aerial view of a ghat, Photo Credit Shutterstock
Aerial view of a ghat, Photo Credit Shutterstock

A steep flight of stairs merges directly into the Ganges, where boats line up on the river bank to carry tourists. Standing atop the staircase, your eyes dart from one corner to another, leaving you curious about the serenity of the holy water spread across 84 ghats. Despite being nestled in the din of a modern-day century, the ghats take you ages back. The meditating seers and their ash-laden foreheads will remind you of an India which speaks of spirituality. 

Your journey in this spiritual city is incomplete without a tour across ghats. And the best way to experience the ghats is through the boat journey. 

All About Boat Rides At Ghats

Kedar Ghat is the point where the boat business flourishes.From a manual boat to a motorboat, the boatmen will take you through 84 ghats in different packages. Haggling is not at all easy, but kudos if you convince them. Be mindful of the boat package you opt for. In all likelihood, the double-decker motorboat gives the most surreal glimpse of the Ganga aarti. At around 7 pm, when the sun beams in orange marking the closure of the day, the boatman will kickstart the journey.

As your boat journey commences, the boat guide will, one by one, break down the ancientness of the holy ghats, which are named after rulers, writers, and gods who have lived through the ages.

The Folklore

Manikarnika Ghat and Raja Harishchandra Ghat&nbspwill captivate your attention the most. The burning pyres here will remind you of an afterlife, and the air smells of calm and acceptance. Interestingly, Manikarnika Ghat, where cremations occur 24*7, is believed to have been cursed by Lord Shiva after Goddess Parvati lost one of her earrings.

On learning about Shiva's angst, Lord Brahma approached him in distress and asked him to return his words. The mighty said the curse could not be reversed, but those cremated at Manikarnika will attain salvation. Locals say that the deceased's ashes are used for 'Bhasma aarti' before dawn, and the beginning of Holi is also marked with the smearing of grey remains of the dead. "The use of deceased's ashes is considered auspicious," a guide said.

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