The journey till here…

Nirvana, mukti from the never-ending cycle of rebirth is dearly synonymous with the holy city Varanasi. And to witness the inexorable truth of life there stands Harishchandra Ghat and Manikarnika Ghat. Those are basically cremation ghat with a rich legacy of far old history. Harishchandra Ghat is named after the Raja Harishchandra. As per Puranas, mata sati’s ear’s ornaments had fallen here in Manikarnika Ghat. Those ghats are crowded undoubtedly, but I always preferred to seat somewhere near the burnings chitas and watched the flames get dazzled up in the vast sky. Those ghats are the gallery of true human emotions if you observe closely. A dire sadness will engross you, but believe me, that will be okay, after sometimes you’ll feel salvation. Life tests raw there, mere bodies disappear with the evaporated teardrops.

Dashashwamedh Ghat comes before Manikarnika Ghat, and it is the most crowded ghat in Varanasi. I never saw that ghat isolated. ‘Dashashwamedh’, this name has a long history, there are different facts, one legend says that the ghat was made by Lord Brahma to welcome Lord Shiva, and according to another legend, Lord Brahma sacrificed ten horses during aswamedh yajna performed here, maybe that’s why the biggest and most probably the most spectacular ghat is named after ‘Dashashwamedh’. You will find fanatic people, running here and there just to find some salvation, well this is quite ironic I guess. Dashashwamedh is the permanent residence of enormous sadhus and beggers.

Let me tell you something, once I was sitting next to a sadhu, who eventually found me sitting alone and insisted a conversation and after ten minutes long advertisement of his experience of moksha he asked for 500 bucks just for giving me lecture. Just stay away from them. But the evening aarti is really praiseworthy though. The hymns and the process of this act is beautiful and soothing to eyes. Dashashwamedh Ghat has a smell of it’s own, it contains sweat, dhoop, burning oil, marijuana and the age old history, all mixed up to a level that makes this ghat easily recognizable. This ghat showcases the true essence of Varanasi.

Just between Manikarnika and Dashashwamedh Ghat, there stands Man Mahal Ghat carrying the ages old observatory, glorifying the scientific progress in ancient India. Suddenly after crossing Manikarnika Ghat, the rest ghats become more and more silent and isolated. One of those less known ghats is Dhobi Ghat. Walk by the place, and just get lost in the riddle made by the clothes, just get lost. This ghat is dedicated to the wahermen (dhobi). The wall of Dhobi Ghat never forgets to amaze us with colourful graffitis and the colour of the clothes there are mostly white, unknowingly projecting this city’s soul. This city and more precisely the ghats are the place of salvation in the midst of chaos. Be quite and feel the silence. Explore.

Also read Revealing The Ghats – Part I & Revealing The Ghats – Part II.