Pointing to a time when horse sacrifice was common, the translation of the name Dasashwamedh says 'the place where ten horses were sacrificed'. Hindu mythology says the creator Brahma did a sacrifice here to let Lord Shiva get back to Varanasi; and thus it is one of the most auspicious sites for Hindus all over the world. This is the site of the stunning Ganga Aarti, which is performed daily on the raised platforms on the ghat with seven priests doing choreographed ritualistic offerings to mother Ganga. Considered as the most important ghat along the banks of Ganga, a large number of guesthouses and restaurants are located around the area. The main burning ghat, Manikarnika is towards the north. One of the most ancient sites in the city, Dasaswamedh Ghat is a legendary sight filled with tourists and pilgrims.
This is the unofficial yet lionized home of long-term backpackers, researchers and students who have chosen to stay on for extended periods of time in Varanasi. The southernmost ghat on the long stretch of ghats, life at Assi is as indulgent as the water buffaloes who wallow around for hours on end in the Ganges. Despite its distance from the main burning ghats, travelers head here for a break from the intrusive touts, guides, fake holy men, beggars, boat men, masseurs and even children who participate with great fervor in the contrived chaos. Assi has a large Jewish community and this is reflected through the hotels and cafes with names such as Haifa and Yafah which serve up typically Middle Eastern dishes like hummus, falafel, baba ghanoush and kawwah (Arabic Coffee). Assi Ghat has been mentioned in the ancient Indian Vedic texts and commands the respect of Indian pilgrims too who arrive here in boats or on foot for a holy dip.
Varanasi, one of the ancient cities in the world, is famous for its rich heritage of art and culture. Naach Ghar, literally meaning house of dance, is a prominent entertainment venue that is located in the Cantonment area. The highlight of the venue is the daily staging of dance performances. The place proves to be a good platform for upcoming talents.
Previously known as Lolark Ghat, Tulsi Ghat is one of the prominent ones which enjoys its association with ancient India's most revered saint and poet - Tulsidas who composed the Ramcharitramanas right here. In fact, the little house where he lived has still been preserved with a few personal belongings as well as a piece of wood from the boat used to cross the river. This ghat comes alive in October and November which are both auspicious months in the Hindu calendar. Spiritual discourses, Indian classical concerts, dance recitals and even wrestling matches bring together foreigners and locals who participate rapturously in the riverfront festivities.
Music Paradise Hall is an entertainment venue where you can learn classical music and instruments. The staff is quite courteous who help you to select any instrument of your choice. They have Flute, Violin, Drums, Sitar and so on. This place is surrounded with melodious music all over and anyone is sure to fall in love with music. Every evening a music concert with vocals and dance is arranged. It is a nice place to indulge in ancient culture of India and teaches a lot about our values and traditions.
International Music Centre Ashram is located in Bangali Tola in Varanasi. It conducts concerts every Saturday and Wednesday. Special Music Festival is conducted at the end of each month. Some of the musical instruments taught here are Sitar, Flute, Tabla and Vocal. It also teaches Yoga and Dance. The Bangali Tola area has a number of shops that sell musical instruments. So no matter which classical instrument you choose, you are sure to find the same nearby.
Paradkar Smrithi Bhawan, established by Varanasi Press Club is a prominent venue in the city. Named after the eminent scholar and journalist B V Paradkar, this facility regularly hosts a range of seminars, lectures and conferences. The simple building clad in white, has an unassuming external appearance. Located in a crowded junction of roads, this place is only meters away from Gandhi Park. Kaal Bhairav Temple is also nearby.
Ghats are a series of steps that lie along the banks of a river. In the city of Varanasi, life revolves around these sacred steps because here is where pilgrims take a dip in the River Ganges to wash away a lifetime of sins. While some ghats are more subdued than the others which are colorful, prominent and backed by magnificent sandstone buildings, all of them have an equally intriguing story to tell. Tourists mostly tend to traverse between Panchganga Ghat in the north and Assi Ghat in the south, however there are many beyond these. A fascinating kaleidoscope of human activity awaits you here - women washing clothes, pilgrims taking a dip, cattle cooling off, dogs scouring the area for food, young boys playing cricket or diving into the river, funeral pyre flames rising into the skies ceaselessly, dread-locked sadhus meditating, boatmen soliciting customers, vendors selling flowers and Western tourists filming this Carnival of Life that plays out day-after day in this City of Shiva.