Manikarnika Ghat is one of Varanasi’s oldest ghats, and according to Hinduism’s holy scriptures, it has the highest status among all ghats. It is thought that if a person is cremated here, he will achieve moksha right away (salvation). The Scindia Ghat and the Dashashwamedh Ghat encircle it on both sides. The Manikarnika Ghat, like all the other ghats in Varanasi, is surrounded by a fascinating mythical story that also explains how it got its name.

History & Significance

Sadashiv Naik, with the support of Maharashtra’s Peshwa Bajirao, paved the Ghat in 1730. Ghat is thought to have been called before the Manikarnika Kund, which is located at this Ghat. According to Kashi Khand, this kund was once known as Chakrapushkarani Kund, and it was created by Lord Vishnu’s Chakra while he was performing Tapasya for Lord Shiva. Another legend claims that while Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati were looking over Chakrapushkund, a valuable stone from Maa Parvati’s earing fell into the Kund, giving it the name Manikarnika. According to the Matsya Puran, this is one of Kashi’s top five Ghats. Lord Shiva is reported to repeat the Taarak Mantra in the ears of everybody who dies here. Indreshwar, Avimukteshwar, Chakrapushkarani, Uma, Taarak, Pitamah, Skandh, and Vishnu Pilgrimage are located in front of Manikarnika’s Ghat. After taking a bath at this Ghat, the well-known Panchkroshi Yatra begins here and ends here after Snan-Daan. The majority of the temples on Ghat are devoted to Lord Shiva, including Tarkeshwar Shiv, Manikarnika Shiv, Rani Bhavani ShivRatneshwar Shiv, Amethi Shiv (Shiv and Mahishmardini), Manokameshwar Shiv, and Manikarnika Vinayak (Ganesh), Rudreshwar Shiv, Siddhivinayak Shiv (Ganesh). Different Emperors of Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar built these temples at different times. Mahashamshan is the name of this ghat. People come from all across the country to be cremated here. The cremation flame never goes out. Kashmiri Lal is supposed to have founded the Shamshan Bhoomi in the first part of the 18th century, and he is credited with the first Shavdaah (Cremation). According to legend, at Harishchandra Ghat, Chandal and Kashmiri lal had a minor spat over the Daah Sanskar (cremation) of his (Kashmirilal) mother’s body. After the argument, he bought the property for Manikarnika Ghat and performed the Daah Sanskaar rite there, as well as having the ghat built.  Initially, this Ghat was primarily known for Teerth, but later on, the Shav Daah (Cremation) rite began. Currently, this Ghat is known for both teerth and Daah Sanskar. This Ghat is significant from both a religious and cultural standpoint. People can be seen bathing here at any time. People come here to give prayers and rituals on special occasions such as Kartik Month, Surya-Chandra Grahan (Solar-Lunar Eclipse), Ekadashi, Sankranti, Ganga Dusshera Bhaiya Duj, and so on. Aside from Shav Daah, several Hindu Dharm rituals are performed here. Ramleela is also held at this Ghat during the month of Kartik. This Ghat was also believed to have been revitalized in 1988 with the support of the State Government. The northern half of the Ghat is clean and paved, where most people bathe, and the southern part of the Ghat hosts Shav Daah. The Ghat Vishnu Charan Paduka Chabutra is a place where Lord Vishnu’s footprints can be seen.

How To Reach?

Between Scindia Ghat and Dashashwamedh Ghat is Manikarnika Ghat. Ghastiola road is where the ghat is located.

– 6.9 kilometers divide Manikarnika Ghat and Varanasi Cantt Railway Station (35 minutes)

– Manikarnika Ghat is 24.9 kilometres from Varanasi airport (59 minutes)

– Manikarnika Ghat and Sarnath are 8 kilometres apart (31 minutes)

– Manikarnika Ghat is 4.9 kilometres away from BHU (25 minutes)

You can hire auto-rickshaws, cabs, or cycle rickshaws to get to Godolia Chowk from the airport, railway station, or bus stop. You should stroll towards Manikarnika Ghat from the Chowk. On the other hand, you can take a boat and sail along the Manikarnika Ghat from Dashashwamedh Ghat or Scindia Ghat. Beyond the Godolia Chowk, no cars are permitted.

Manikarnika Ghat Tourist Attractions

The majority of people do not think of Manikarnika as a tourist attraction. Explorers and adventurers, on the other hand, go to the Manikarnika Ghat to take in the land’s magical beauty.

You can always locate a few bodies that have been set ablaze. Every day, it is estimated that around 300 bodies are burned. Tourists can hire boats from Dashashwamedh Ghat to see the rites at Manikarnika Ghat. Although there is no rule against it, common sense recommends that photographs be avoided and Manikarnika be turned into an interesting tourist destination. It is, after all, a family’s final farewell to a loved one.

Best Time To Visit

The optimum time to visit is between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. if you want to see cremations. More than 300 bodies are burnt in this ghat every day. As a result, catching a cremation ceremony is simple. However, due to high demand, finding boats early in the morning and by sunset is difficult.

Winter is the best time to visit Manikarnika Ghat because of the weather. The winter season commences in October and remains till March. The worst time to visit is during the peak monsoon season, which runs from July to August.

Being at this place always makes you question life and its mortality. It sends your mind far away from you in search of the answers to the questions we never desired to confront. Approximately 28,000 dead bodies are cremated at this ghat every year. At every corner, you’ll either see a priest sermonizing a bunch of people, or a family involved in the last rites of their dearly departed. The air is filled with smoke as hundreds of bodies burn into flames, possibly reminding onlookers of death’s certainty and how fleeting everything is.