Ghats Of Varanasi India
Incredible Must See Sacred Places
Image courtesy of Deposit Photos
Those of you who have viewed the beautiful 2005 film, “Water”, directed by Deepa Mehta have already seen the Ghats of Varanasi. The film is largely shot there, and the dramatic climax scene takes place on the Ghats, as the tragic Kalyani, played by Lisa Ray, a widow confined to an ashram in Varanasi, makes her statement about life and love.
These Ghats are a series of 88 sets of steps that lead from the land to the shores of the River Ganges, or directly into the river itself. Made of stone, the riverfront stairs are mostly used for bathing, as locals descend into the water safely for a wash (which also occurs during the film), or for a puja ceremony (a Hindu prayer ritual); two Ghats are reserved for cremation services.
As Indian cities go, Varanasi is one of the safest, and is frequented by tourists from all over the world. This amazing sacred place tends to draw the devoted, serene and respectful visitor, and is widely regarded as a hallowed location (even though bathing can erupt into fun!). It is stunning at dawn, even more spectacular at sunset.
Arguably the most famous Ghat is Assi Ghat, where pilgrims are able to connect with the river waters believed to be the “lingam” (phallic symbol) of Lord Shiva. These venerable Ghats date from the 1700s when Varanasi was part of the Maratha Empire, so not only are they unique, they are bathed (pun intended!) in history.