Varanasi has since ancient days been famous for its prime location on the great River Ganges and its temples. It is considered to be the prime abode of Lord Shiva. As the common belief goes a holy dip in the Ganges rescues a man from the circle of birth and rebirth. These Ghats are the stepped embankments on the River Ganges built by various Hindu rulers for their private use. Till date these embankments are used for the daily rituals of taking holy bath in the River or worshipping the Sun God and the River in the early morning. Visitors to the city do not miss out an opportunity to visit the Ghats, where one can actually experience the daily rituals of the Hindus of the city. Most of the Ghats were built and patronized by Maratha rulers like the Peshwas, the Holkars, the Scindias, the Gaekwads and the Bhonsles. Till date few of Ghats are owned by the local rulers of Varanasi.
All the Ghats are placed in the periphery of four to five km stretch on the bank of the River Ganges. These Ghats are best visited at dawn, before Sunrise. A boat ride on the River watching the sun rising and at the same time following the traditional rituals of the devotees is a picturesque sight. Sunset is another time to visit the Ghats when hymns are sung in the praise of The Almighty and the Ganges worshipping with lamps. By the time the sun dips down, men and women place small lamps on leaves and sail them in the river as an offering. Hundreds and thousands of lamps sail in the calm waters giving an impression of star lit sky. A beautiful mesmerizing site not to be missed.
The Dasashwamedh Ghat quite unspoilt and beautiful Ghat is the most famous Ghat of Varanasi. It offers a splendid view of the water front and has a mythological legend behind it. It is said that the Ghat is where Lord Brahma sacrificed 10 horses to bring back Lord Shiva after his banishment from the place. So it is considered to be the most pious of all the Ghats in Varanasi. The Manikarnika Ghat was once a pit dug by Lord Vishnu by his charka and filled it with his perspiration while performing various penances. While Lord Shiva watched him, his ear ring made of pearl fell in to the pit giving it the name of Manikarnika. Another Ghat is known as the Chakrapushkarni Ghat where Lord Vishnu lay is footprint. Other famous Ghats are the Manmandir Ghat, the Hanuman Ghat and the Kedar Ghat.