The waterfront at Varansi, from Asi Ghat to Dashashwamedh Ghat constitutes one half of the famous Panchatirthi pilgrimage, the visit to the five sacred fords. This walk is ideal for people watching; understanding the nuances of Hinduism and observing pilgrims participate in the prayers and ritual baths that are a part of the Panchatirthi.
On This Tour:
• Walk downriver from Asi Ghat, Varanasi’s southern end where the Asi river meets the Ganges and watch pilgrims bathe in the ghats to start their Panchatirthi pilgrimage and pray to an open-air linga, the representation of the God Shiva.
• Pass the Tulsi Ghat (named after a great poet-saint), and see the offices of the non-profit Sankat Mochan, who have been working on efforts to clean the Ganges.
• Pass the ashram of Anandamayi Ma and the 17th century palace of Maharaja Chet Singh.
• Visit Hanuman Ghat, home to a substantial South Indian community, where you observe them offering morning prayers.
• Learn the ancient stories of the Hanuman (Monkey God) Temple and the temple of Ruru (The Dog) Bhairava at this Ghat as you visit these temples.
• Visit Harishchandra Ghat, one of Varanasi’s two burning ghats. Believed to be the oldest, surpassing Manikarnika in its sanctity, one can see the performances of rituals for the dead here.
• At the busy Kedara Ghat, view the sacred Kedara Khanda of the city.
• At Chauki Ghat, climb atop the steps to see a huge tree with shrines to Nagas – the serpent deities.
• Pass Bengal Tola, where dhobis (washermen) wash and lay out clothes. There are more ghats here, each named for specific deities, whose legends you can learn.
• Visit the temple of the popular goddess Shitala Devi, who cures ailments and pox.
Duration: 2-3 hours