Mark Twain had famously quoted “Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together”. Often referred to as Benares, Varanasi is the oldest living city in the world.
The city of Varanasi is famous for an array of things – from being the museum of temples to its elegant saris to its culinary delights. But the one thing that particularly stands out about this city is its ghats, especially Manikarnika Ghat. Here’s what makes this destination stand out:
Manikarnika Ghat is a place you must visit, but it is not for the faint-hearted. It is probably the most ancient ‘chitta’ – fire to burn dead bodies and it has been going on non-stop at this Ghat for years & year to come. Varanasi is a sacred and holy place to cremate your dead. Hindus from all over the country and maybe even from the world are bringing their dead near and dear ones to Kashi, Manikarnika Ghat, to burn them here. Thousands of bodies are cremated on the banks of the river Ganaga every year, many being released into the river with hopes that their souls may have a direct path to heaven.
At the Manikarnika Ghat, death is celebrated. Remorseful chants are sung every hour of the day and smoke engulfs the area day and night as dead bodies are cremated for eternal peace. Welcome to the gateway to heaven, at Manikarnika Ghat.
Harish Chandra Ghat is one of the two cremation Ghats (the other being Manikarnika Ghat) and is sometimes referred as Adi Manikarnika (the original creation ground). Hindus from distant places bring the dead bodies of their near and dear ones to the Harish Chandra Ghat for cremation. In Hindu mythology it is believed that if a person is cremated at the Harish Chandra Ghat, that person gets salvation or "Moksha". The Harish Chandra Ghat was somewhat modernized in late 1980's, when an electric crematorium was opened here.
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