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Dashashwamedh Ghat: The Holiest Ghat in Varanasi

Dashashwamedh Ghat is a famous pilgrimage site that also holds rich historic value.

A holy site, attracting people of all religions, Dashashwamedh Ghat is one of the oldest ghats in India. Located at the bank of the river Ganges in Varanasi, this ghat draws the attention of tourists, pilgrims, history enthusiasts, and others from all across the world. It’s believed that one who takes a dip in the river here comes out as a pure person. It remains extremely lively with lots of people taking baths, offering prayers to the holy Ganges, or performing several rituals throughout the day. However, the real attraction is the Ganga Aarti that takes place at dusk every day. Here, all you need to do is just sit back and watch the ceremonies, and it will ease your worries in no time. Also, the ghat offers a spectacular natural landscape, making it a sought-after destination among photographers. On a separate note, Dashashwamedh Ghat has been featured in numerous films over the years, most notably the Satyajit Ray directorial ‘Jay Baba Felunath’.

History

While there is no recorded history, some believe that the Bharasiva King of the Naga Dynasty sacrificed 10 horses at this ghat after defeating the powerful Kushan Empire, and hence the name ‘Dashashwamedh Ghat’! However, the present ghat was built by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao in the 1740s. Later, around the year 1774, the ghat was reconstructed by Ahilyabahi Holkar – the Queen of Indore. The stairs, which are a major highlight of the ghat, were built by the Indian Government in 1965.

Mythological References

Dashashwamedh Ghat is associated with two mythological stories. One states that Lord Brahma created this ghat to welcome Lord Shiva to earth. Another story states that Brahma performed Dasa-Ashwamedha yajna here, and sacrificed 10 horses to commemorate the auspicious moment. So, to show respect to Brahma, this ghat (originally named Rudrasaras) was renamed Dashashwamedh Ghat.

Ganga Aarti

A spectacular ceremony where thousands of people participate, Ganga Aarti is the most famous thing about Dashashwamedh Ghat. Precisely, this is an ancient tradition where people worship the river for supplying an abundance of water. It starts soon after sunset – around 7 pm in summer and around 6 pm in winter – and lasts for about 45 minutes. Here, many priests, clothed in a Kurta and Dhoti, perform the aarti by chanting mantras and moving their hands in synchronized rhythm. The whole ceremony is very elaborate as it involves lots of oil lamps, ringing bells, the clanging of brass cymbals, and more.

Nearby Attractions

There are numerous attractions near this ghat. The list includes Vishwanath Gali, Vishwanath Temple, Man Mandir Observatory, Rajendra Prasad Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Kashi Raj Kali Temple, etc.

So, if you want to explore the Indian culture, do visit Dashashwamedh Ghat at least once.

Sayan Paul

Sayan is an art lover with a passion for life and food. Films and music are his two biggest companions and he learns and grows with every film he watches and every song he listens to. He is whom we turn to for all things related to entertainment and films.
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