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Manikarnika Ghat is considered one of the most sacred cremation grounds among the holy, located on the banks of the holy River Ganga in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. In Hinduism, death is considered a gateway to the next life that one attains through their karma. It is believed that whenever a soul attains enlightenment or moksha, it becomes free from the cycle of birth and death. This ghat is named after Goddess Sati’s earrings, which fell in this very spot. The very word ‘Manikarnika’ means earrings. Manikarnika Ghat is known to be the oldest ghat in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Its mentions can also be found in the inscriptions from the Gupta Dynasty era in the 5th century.

Manikarnika Ghat History

A view of cremation at Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi

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In the ancient text of Matsya Purana, around the 6th or 7th century, Manikarnika ghat is mentioned as one of the five sacred sites along a water body. When Goddess Sati (Adi Shakti) set her body on fire after Raja Daksh Prajapati, her father, tried to humiliate Shiva. Shiva immediately took her burning body towards the Himalayas. On seeing the deep sorrow of Shiva, Lord Vishnu, with his divine chakra, cut the goddess’s body into 51 parts, and they fell on earth, which we today call ‘Shaktipeeth’. Manikarna in Sanskrit literally means earrings, which is where the goddess’s earrings had fallen. The ghat lies near the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. There are 51 Shakti Peeth all over India and abroad as well. Each temple has been made into a shrine or temple for Goddess Shakti. In contemporary times, the main ghat is used for crematory purposes. Dead bodies are managed by outcasts, and it is considered a blessing for a dead person to have been cremated here.

Must Read: Places To Visit In Varanasi

Manikarnika Ghat Activities

Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat near Manikarnika ghat

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Ganga Arti near Manikarnika Ghat is one of the main attractions for tourists here in Varanasi because of the power and grandiosity with which the worship is done. You will be struck by the intensity of the prayers and the beauty of how they do it. Although Manikarnika Ghat is utilised as a cremation site, it’s not the only one along River Ganga. Another ghat you should visit is Dasaswamedh Ghat, where the aarti takes place in the evening—an experience that all visitors should experience at least once. There are many other monuments and temples all around the city that have been heritage properties with abundant historical significance. Tourists can also go around the city and check out the local street food of Varanasi.

Places To Visit Near Manikarnika Ghat

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

River Ganga, Varanasi

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The Temple is one of India’s richest and holiest temples. It is named Kashi as it was its ancient name. The beautiful temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. Hundreds of devotees and tourists travel far away to explore the peaceful, spiritual air this place provides and seek blessings from their beloved god. The sun shines on the tall spires and domes made of pure gold. You can hear the soft rustling sounds of the waves of the River Ganga.

Dasaswamedh Ghat

Ganga Aarti is performed at Dashashwamedh Ghat near Manikarnika Ghat

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Dashashwamedh Ghat is best known for organising the most beautiful aartis by the holy river of Ganga and pushing the devotees into divine bliss. A prominent tourist attraction in Varanasi, the Dashashwamedh Ghat, got its name from the lore of Lord Brahma and how he sacrificed 10 horses to perform a yajna. Every day, during sunset, the ghat is decorated with hundreds of diyas. Priests come together and chant in unison, as do the aarti of the deity. A huge crowd gathers to worship alongside the spiritual ceremony. The divine aura that rises during the aarti time has hundreds of tourists being dragged to the ghat area or near the river just to be there and be a part of it. Boating services are also available near the ghat, which is a wonderful experience during sunset.

Ramnagar Fort

A magnificent picture Ramnagar Fort near Manikarnika Ghat

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The magnificent monument of Ramnagar Fort lies near the silent shores of the River Ganga, opposite the Tulsi Ghat. The unique ‘Chunar sandstone’ is the foundation of this cream-hued structure, which was constructed to be the residential house for Raja Balwant Singh. Today, it is the home of the current Maharaja of Varanasi, whose residential quarters are secluded from the rest of the premises. Two temples, one of Lord Hanuman and the other of Veda Vyasa, are inside the complex.

Suggested Read: Things To Do In Varanasi

Manikarnika Ghat Location and Timings

A view of Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi

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It is located in Varanasi’s centre and easily accessible through the galis and streets. It lies at a distance of only 1 km from Dasashwamedh Ghat and around 6 km from Varanasi Junction. Manikarnika Ghat is one of the most sacred ghats in the city of Varanasi along the banks of the holy River Ganga. The most conducive time to visit Manikarnika ghat is from 12 am to 12 pm every day. October – March is considered the best season to visit the city. November – February sees the most tourists and devotees. You can always spot bodies that are being cremated. Every day, around 300 bodies are burned here. The ideal time to visit the ghat is between 7 am and 9 pm.

Manikarnika Ghat Travel Route

A picture of Varanasi Junction in Uttar Pradesh

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By Air: Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Varanasi, is nearest to the ghat. After that, you can take a taxi or a private car to reach Manikarnika Ghat in about 45 minutes.

By Train: The nearest railway station is Varanasi Junction. After that, you can take a rickshaw or a cab to Manikarnika Ghat. It will take roughly 20 minutes.

By Road: It is quite easy to find taxis, rickshaws and rental cars to travel from any spot in the city to the ghat,

Further Read: Places To Visit In Uttar Pradesh

Now that you have all the information about visiting Manikarnika Ghat, the next step is to fulfil your heart’s wishes and plan your next trip. Book your tickets for an amazing trip to Varanasi and have a stunning spiritual vacation with the best memories and new experiences.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Manikarnika Ghat

What is the usual weather in Varanasi?

In Varanasi, the climatic conditions are grouped as moderate and mild. The rainfall in Varanasi is in abundance with sometimes precipitation during summers as well.

What essentials should be carried while travelling to Varanasi?

Carry light and comfortable clothing, sunscreen, water, insect repellant and valid ID proof on your next trip to Varanasi.

What is the popular food in Varanasi?

The food in Varanasi is considered one of the best in the entire country. When you visit the city, don’t forget to try some delectable dishes like Tamatar Chaat, Baati Chokha and Rabri Jalebi.

What is the significance of Ganga river in Varanasi?

The Ganges is considered sacred in Hinduism. It is believed that bathing in Ganga cleanses sins and ensures liberation from cycle of birth and death.

Is there any entry fee to view the Ganga Arti at Manikarnika Ghat?

There is no entry fee to view and enjoy the holy Ganga arti at the ghat but you can donate some amount of money as per your wish. The boat ride that takes you to the ghat is paid.

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