Todays post is about exploring the Famous ghats of Benares
As the boat goes along the Ghats, (we started at the Dashashwamedh ghat) you get a glimpse of the various ghats, the most famous being Harishchandra ghat..
Now this is the place where they burn the dead (in Hindus again, the dead are burnt not buried)
In age old days, they used to do it the traditional way using logs and fire…Nowadays an incinerator is used and the ashes are strewn into the Ganges..
As I mentioned earlier Hindus consider dying at Benares as a path of attaining salvation, people come here in their last days so they can spend time meditating and breathe their last in this holy place, sometimes people travel here with the dead person’s ashes to be strewn into the Ganges , all to attain moksha/ salvation…
Harish Chandra Ghat is one of the oldest Ghats of Varanasi. Harish Chandra Ghat is name after a mythological King Raja Harishchandra, who once worked at the cremation ground here for the perseverance of truth and charity.
It is believed that the Gods rewarded him for his resolve, charity and truthfulness and restored his lost throne and his dead son to him.
Even today when someone speaks only the truth come wat may we joke saying he is Satyavadi Raja Harishchandra..😆
Harish Chandra Ghat is one of the two cremation Ghats, the other being Manikarnika Ghat..
The story behind the origin of Manikarnika is interesting..
I will retell the story as I have understood it..
There was this king, Raja Daksh Prajapati (one of the sons of Lord Brahma) who had a daughter named SATI,( who was an incarnation of Godess Durga/Parvathi) who was in love with Lord Shiva,which was opposed by her father the king, as according to him Lord Shiva was an ascetic with no Kingdom or home of his own..Who lived on the ice capped Kailash mountains and who had no family, and for whom the crematorium and the ashes were dear…But Mother SATI was deeply in love with Lord Shiva and she refused to listen to her father which angered the king even more, he held a yagna ( sacrificial fire) but did not invite lord Shiva and when the Lord finally did come,the king insulted him..Mother SATI could not bear this and sacrificed her life by jumping into the sacrificial fire and set her body ablaze, Lord Shiva, angered by this took her burning body to the Himalayas..
On seeing the unending sorrow of Lord shiva, Vishnu sent the Divine chakra to cut the body into 51 parts which fell on earth. They are called “Ekannya Shaktipeeth”. Shaktipeeths
Lord Shiva established Shakti Peeths wherever Sati’s body had fallen.
At Manikarnika ghat, Mata Sati’s Ear’s ornament had fallen, hence the name Mani Karnika..Manikarna in Sanskrit means Ear Rings
Another interesting story in the next post..until then have a great week ahead..🤗