STORY HIGHLIGHTS


Holy ghats of Varanasi

CNC
Added On October 12, 2017

Since ancient times, the Indian holy city of 'Varanasi' has been an eye-catcher to visitors around the globe. 
 
The city is particularly known for its many "ghats" - semi-circular steps leading down to the river. But what are they? 
 
Lifestyles went to investigate more.
 
SOUNDBITE(English): ASHWANI UPADHYAY, CNC Correspondent
"If a tourist comes to India and wants to experience the Hinduism, its culture and mystique behind it, they come to Varanasi. And here, what they experience...the most fascinating thing is the Varanasi 'ghats'. So you should also come and enjoy the splendour of these 'ghats'."
 
As the sun starts basking golden rays in the pristine water of the river 'Ganga', people in the temple-town of Varanasi in north India head towards one of the city's many 'Ghats'.
 
Varanasi has 88 in all. Most of the ghats are bathing and puja ceremony ghats, while a few are used exclusively as cremation sites.  
 
From ancient times when Hindu culture was predominant in the region to the recent history, these 'ghats' were built by the erstwhile royal families, various cast-based communities, and even by the state. 
 
Many ghats are associated with legends or mythologies while many ghats are privately owned. 
 
Morning boat ride on the Ganges across the ghats is a popular visitors attraction.
 
Today, many are still used for religious purposes. A sight for blessings, prayers, rituals and a quest for inner peace. 
 
For some, it is the last place they will be. Cremation will be performed alongside the river Ganga here. 
 
Hindus perform the last rites of the departed on the ghats alongside the holy river, as they believe that it frees them from the cycle of birth and re-birth.