Harishchandra Ghat, Varanasi
Harishchandra Ghat is one of the most famous and oldest ghats in Varanasi. It is located on the banks of the holy river Ganges and is known for its cremation ceremonies. The ghat is named after the legendary King Harishchandra, who is said to have worked as a cremator here as part of a vow to the sage Vishwamitra.
History of Harishchandra Ghat:
According to Hindu mythology, King Harishchandra was a noble ruler who was tested by the sage Vishwamitra to prove his loyalty and integrity. The sage ordered the king to give away all his possessions and work as a cremator at this ghat, and Harishchandra agreed to the task.
It is believed that Harishchandra worked as a cremator at this ghat for many years and endured many hardships and trials during his tenure. His story is considered to be a testament to the Hindu belief in karma and dharma and the importance of upholding one’s principles and values.
Importance of Harishchandra Ghat:
Harishchandra Ghat in Varanasi is considered to be one of the most sacred places for cremation in Hinduism. It is believed that those who are cremated here attain moksha (salvation) and are freed from the cycle of birth and death. The ghat is also known for its religious and spiritual significance, and devotees from all over the world come here to offer prayers and seek blessings.
Cremation Ceremonies at Harishchandra Ghat:
Harishchandra Ghat is known for its cremation ceremonies, and it is estimated that over 50 bodies are cremated here every day. The cremation ceremonies are conducted by the Dom Raja, a traditional priestly caste who have been performing cremation ceremonies at the ghat for centuries.
The cremation ceremonies at Harishchandra Ghat are a unique and fascinating sight to behold. The bodies are brought to the ghat on bamboo stretchers, and the family members perform the last rites before the body is placed on the pyre. The pyre is then lit, and the body is cremated. The ashes are then immersed in the holy river Ganges, which is believed to lead to salvation.
Other attractions near Harishchandra Ghat:
Apart from the cremation ceremonies, there are several other attractions near Harishchandra Ghat that one must explore when in Varanasi. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple, one of the most revered temples of Lord Shiva, is located just a few hundred meters from the ghat. The temple is known for its intricate architecture and is visited by thousands of devotees every day.
The Nepali Temple, a unique temple built in the Nepali style of architecture, is also located near the ghat. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is known for its ornate wood carvings and intricate design.
Harishchandra Ghat is a place of immense religious and cultural significance. It is a symbol of the rich history and heritage of Varanasi and is a must-visit for anyone who wants to experience the spirituality and divinity of this ancient city. The cremation ceremonies at Harishchandra Ghat are a unique and fascinating sight to behold and offer a glimpse into the traditional Hindu customs and rituals. The ghat is a place of great reverence for Hindus and is a testimony to the belief in the cycle of birth and death and the attainment of moksha (salvation).