1. Ghats of Varanasi

Varanasi or Kaashi is an ancient town also mentioned in Rig Veda. The etymology of the word Kaashi is from the Sanskrit verbal root Kaash means to shine, meaning Kaashi as the city of light or a luminous city of knowledge and learning.

The town Varanasi is located in between the river Varuna at the Northern side and river Assi on the Southern side. These two rivers, Varuna and Assi meet river Ganga at Raj Ghat and Assi ghat respectively. Hence the name Varanasi meaning the town between Varuna and Assi.

2. Map of Varanasi ghats

Ghats of Varanasi is one of the most popular destination for tourists and pilgrims. Ghats are located on the western bank of river Ganga and has steps to reach from the road. There are more than 80 Ghats in Varanasi and most of them are very old. Ghats were built after 17th century AD by Marathas, Sindhiyas, Holkars, Bhonsles and others.

Ghats are used for mostly bathing, to perform ceremonies, worshiping, boating and also for washing clothes. Some of the ghats have old and popular temples which can be accessed easily through the ghats, rather than roads, as roads are narrow and confusing.

One probably needs more than a day to see all the ghats and temples located in the vicinity of ghats. The ghats starts from the base of Mogul Sarai bridge known as Raj ghat and ends at Assi Ghat.

3. Raj ghat (Fort)

Raja ghat (fort) is below the Mogul Sarai Bridge. River Varuna meets Ganga here. There is one more Raja Ghat between Pande ghat and Narad ghat. To avoid confusion, it is better to suffix fort otherwise one will be directed to Raj ghat, where there are no temples.

This ghat is serene and is not crowded. It has two temples-  Keshav aditya and Nakshatreshwara temples.

4. Keshav

Keshav aditya temple is quite clean, not crowded and serene.

5. Aditya

As per the references from mythology, once Surya Bhagavan saw Lord Vishnu worshiping Shiva linga in Varanasi. He was astonished because, Vishnu himself is worshipped by all in the world and how come he is worshipping Shiva linga. So Surya Bhagavan came down and asked Lord Vishnu about his worshipping Shiva linga. Lord Vishnu explained Surya Bhagavan the greatness of worshipping Shiva Linga at Varanasi. Pleased by Vishnu’s explanation, Surya Bhagavan also started worshipping Shiva linga at this place. Hence the name Keshav aditya.

6. Nakshatreshwara temple

Below Keshav aditya temple, facing the river Ganga, is the Nakshatreshwara temple. It is serene, clean and hass a good view of River Ganga.

As per the legend, long ago, sixty beautiful girls worshipped Lord Shiva here by installing a Linga called Nakshatreshwara. Pleased by their worship, Lord Shiva appeared and fulfilled their wishes and made them to stay in the celestial world.

7. Gai ghat

Between Raj ghat and Gai ghat, there are Ravi Ghat, Prahlad ghat, Naya ghat, Telia ghat and Gola ghat which are used mainly to wash clothes and does not have any important temples.

Gai ghat has one of the Bhairav Temples called Samhar Bhairav.

8. Samhar Bhairav Temple            9. Interior of Samhar Bhairav temple

Samhar Bhairav is also mentioned in Kashi khand.

10. Samhar Bhairav idol

It is also mentioned in that Samhar Bhairav has come from Bhairav Kshetra and is believed to cleanse the sins of the devotees.

11. Durga Ghat

Durga ghat is one of the most popular Ghat and was built in 1772 by a saintly person named Narayan Dixit. Durga ghat is popular for its Brahmacharini Durga Temple, which is one among the Navadurga temples. 

12. Brahmacharini Durga temple                        13. Brahmacharini Durga

Brahmacharini Durga in her previous birth was the daughter of Himalaya. Sage Narada advised her to undergo rigorous penance to get Shiva as her husband. She did a rigorous penance and finally Shiva was pleased and took her as his wife. Hence she is also known as Tapascharani. She blesses her devotees fulfilling all their wishes.