Varanasi has around 100 ghats, or sites with stairs leading down to the water, along the sacred Ganges River. Around 25 of these make up the major group, which stretches from Assi Ghat north to Raj Ghat. The ghats date from the 14th century, but Maratha kings restored most of them in the 18th century, along with Varanasi. They are generally utilized for bathing and Hindu religious rites and are generally privatized or have a unique significance in Hindu folklore. There are two ghats, though, where crematoriums are the only option. Taking a sunrise ferry ride along the river from Dashashwamedh Ghat is a strongly regarded, albeit touristic, activity (the main ghat). When you are travelling from Gorakhpur to Banaras, a trip down the Varanasi ghats is also an interesting experience, albeit be prepared for grime and vendor harassment. If you’re feeling a little nervous and would want to be escorted by a guide, Varanasi Magic offers a riverside guided tour.
Assi Ghat is located in the farthest southern extremity of the town, in which the Ganges River joins the Assi River. This ghat is less busy than most of the neighbouring ghats because it is wide and easily navigable. It is, nevertheless, a Hindu place of pilgrimage where Hindus bathe while worshipping Lord Shiva in the shape of a massive lingam beneath a pipal tree. The area is known for its fashionable stores and cafes, making it a favourite hangout for long-term visitors. The ghat also hosts a Ganga aarti ritual. A 30-minute trek north along the ghats leads to Dashashwamedh Ghat.
Chet Singh Ghat
Chet Singh Ghat is a historically significant location. This was the location of a fight involving Maharaja Chet Singh (who controlled Varanasi) and the British in the eighteenth century. Chet Singh had built a tiny fort near the ghat, but he was beaten by the British. They took control of the fort and confined him there. He is claimed to have escaped using a turban-made rope!
Darbhanga Ghat is a popular destination for photographers. The premium BrijRama Palace hotel is housed in an artistically attractive and architecturally stunning ghat. Shridhara Narayana Munshi, the administrator for Nagpur’s estate, initially constructed the hotel as a fort. In 1915, Darbhanga’s King Rameshwar Singh Bahadur bought the building and converted it into his mansion. It was restored and converted into a hotel by its actual owner, Indian hospitality company 1589 Hotels, over nearly 18 years.
Dashashwamedh Ghat is the most popular tourist destination in Varanasi. It’s one of Varanasi’s oldest and holiest ghats, and it’s where the famous Ganga aarti is held every evening. Lord Brahma, according to Hindu legend, built the ghat to welcome Lord Shiva. In front of a sacred fire, Lord Brahma is said to have performed a specific horse sacrifice rite. The steady flow of tourists, Hindu gurus, flower merchants, and beggars from dawn to dusk adds to the festive atmosphere. It is easy to observe for hours without becoming bored. From around ghat, there is also a bustling market.
Ghat Man Mandir
Man Mandir Ghat, another historic Varanasi ghat, is known for its exquisite Rajput architecture. In 1600, Jaipur’s Rajput monarch Man Singh built his palace there. Sawai Jai Singh II built an extra attraction, the observatory, in the 1730s. The astronomy instruments are still in fine working order, and they can be examined. Take a stroll up to the big terrace for spectacular views of the Ganges River. On your trip from Gorakhpur to Varanasi, make sure to make a stop at this historic ghat.
These are some of the major ghats in Banaras among the many more. Visit these to know the history of the place better.