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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.
According to Hindu tradition, people cremated at the Manikarnika Ghat after death will be freed from the chain of life and death. That explains the chaos, mystery, indifference, noise and everything surrounding this area which is said to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The name Manikarnika goes back to the story where Shiva dropped his earrings at the well here during his transcendental dance and it came to know as Manikarnika Kund. The cremations take place without break and fills the air with the smell of burning flesh which is surprisingly not repulsive. Foreigners from all around the globe watch the activities here with much intrigue and the locals take it with compassion though not without a fragment of disdain. The apparent indifferent face of death is reinforced with the underlying philosophy of material transition and is something that has to be experienced.
Situated between Manikarnika Ghat and Scindhia Ghat, The Sinking Temple is an arresting sight while walking through the ghats. This historic Shiva temple appears to be sinking into the river and has a rusty exterior and a rising dome. The perplexing stature of the temple is the result of a 19th-century renovation of the adjacent ghats; thanks to which it has become an attraction from then on. Manikarnika Kund, Dattatreya Paduka Mandir and Scindhia Guest House are nearby.
The exalted Kashi Vishwanath Temple finds itself mentioned in ancient Hindu scriptures, and was actually built in 490 CE but fell prey to successive demolitions by the Mughal invaders all through the centuries. The present temple was built in 1790 by the warrior queen Ahilyabhai Holkar who was aggrieved by the wanton destruction of age-old sacred structures. Hindus believe that a dip in the river Ganges and a visit to this temple serves to break free from the cycle of rebirth. Also referred to as Golden Temple because of the spire which was made from pure gold donated by Maharaja Ranjith Singh, this temple is a must-visit. The main deity here is a black lingam upon which devotees pour blessed water. Foreigners have to register their passports to enter the premises as security has been beefed up in recent years due to the looming terrorist threat. Mobile phones, cameras and bags of all visitors have to be deposited at any of the shops that line the entrance, while police urge crowds to hurry and keep moving. The experience is most intense, intriguing and divine.
A quaint site of active spirituality, the Scindhia Ghat charms with the orchestrated flight of steps to the holy river Ganges. Previously known as Vireswara ghat, this spiritual abode was renovated in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries by different rulers. Being in the proximity of the cremation site, Manikarnika Ghat, this ghat sees a lot of pilgrims coming here for a holy dip in the river. There are platforms specifically made for religious rituals. Local wrestlers exercising in the platforms is an interesting early morning sight here. The Sinking Temple, Vireswara Mandir , Dattatreya Paduka Mandir and Siddh Hanumanji Nyas are the major religious attractions which have this ghat as their base. Another conspicuous presence here is the popular Scindhia Guest House, which offers budget accommodation with impressive river views.
In tune with the enormous religious potential of Varanasi, Shri Siddh Hanumanji Nyas is a Hindu religious sight at Scindhia Ghat in Varanasi. The refreshing spiritual practice of 'Nyas', which rejuvenates mind and body by the constant chanting of mantras is the highlight of the place. Located in an old building close to the Scindhia Guest House, this place is visited by large number of foreign and Indian spiritual seekers. Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, this place will replenish the hidden energy sources inside you.