Varanasi, renowned as Kashi or Banaras, stands as a city of immense historical and spiritual importance in India. It’s a pilgrimage site for many and draws vast numbers of tourists each year. Hanuman Ghat, situated on the banks of the revered river Ganges, is one of the most sought-after locations in Varanasi. This article delves into the rich history of Hanuman Ghat, its spiritual significance, and suggests activities to engage in during your visit.
History of Hanuman Ghat:
The appellation of Hanuman Ghat is attributed to Lord Hanuman, a deity of Hindu mythology who is believed to have graced this site during the era of Ramayana. Lord Hanuman, an embodiment of Lord Shiva, is venerated for his unwavering faith and unparalleled might. Constructed under the patronage of King Pratap Singh in the early 17th century, the ghat bears testimony to the rich cultural heritage and architectural prowess of the bygone era.
Why Hanuman Ghat is Famous:
The revered Hanuman Ghat holds a sacred place in the hearts of believers and is widely acknowledged as one of the most propitious locations to immerse oneself in the holy waters of the Ganges. The prevailing belief is that this activity can purify the soul of all transgressions and usher in salvation. Moreover, the ghat is a favored destination among ardent followers of Lord Hanuman, who congregate here to offer their supplications and solicit his benedictions.
Things to Do at Hanuman Ghat:
Undoubtedly, the quintessential draw of Hanuman Ghat lies in the opportunity to immerse oneself in the sacred waters of the River Ganges. As per traditional Hindu beliefs, the act of bathing in this holy river is said to have the power to cleanse one’s conscience and bestow spiritual emancipation, thereby liberating the soul from the endless cycle of reincarnation.
Visit the Hanuman Temple: The venerated Hanuman Temple, situated in close proximity to the ghat, garners immense interest from ardent followers of Lord Hanuman. The temple, estimated to be more than two and a half centuries old, is exclusively devoted to the revered deity of the simian pantheon.
Witness the Aarti Ceremony: The daily Aarti ceremony held at the ghat during sunset is a cherished ritual. This custom involves the lighting of lamps and offering of prayers to the divine river Ganges. This captivating experience is an indispensable part of any visit to the ghat, leaving a lasting impression on all who witness it.
Take a boat ride: A frequently favored pursuit at Hanuman Ghat involves embarking on a boat excursion along the river Ganges. This affords an exceptional vantage point to behold the ghat’s splendor from a unique perspective, while simultaneously basking in the majesty of the sacred waters.
Major Attractions In And Around Hanuman Ghat:
In addition to the renowned Hanuman Temple and its enchanting Aarti Ceremony, there exist a myriad of other alluring destinations within and around Hanuman Ghat that are certainly worth embarking upon. Among these notable points of interest are:
Kashi Vishwanath Temple: The Kashi Vishwanath Temple, situated in close proximity to Hanuman Ghat, stands as a distinguished and venerated religious structure in Varanasi. This temple, devoted to Lord Shiva, boasts of impressive architecture and holds immense spiritual value. It has earned the reputation of being one of the most renowned religious edifices in the region.
Manikarnika Ghat: Manikarnika Ghat, situated in the vicinity of Hanuman Ghat, is renowned as the premier location for cremation in Varanasi. Although the sight may not be deemed as aesthetically pleasing by some, the prevailing belief holds that undergoing the cremation ritual at this site can result in emancipation from the cycle of reincarnation.
Dashashwamedh Ghat: The city of Varanasi boasts several popular ghats, with Dashashwamedh Ghat being a noteworthy one that is situated approximately 2 kilometers from Hanuman Ghat. This ghat is famed for its exuberant and vivid evening Aarti ceremony, which is an indispensable experience that any curious traveler should indulge in during their exploratory journey of the city.
How To Reach Hanuman Ghat:
Varanasi boasts of a robust transportation infrastructure that seamlessly connects it to all major cities across India. Air, rail, and road systems are all readily available for swift and convenient travel. The Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport, conveniently located 25 kilometers from Hanuman Ghat, serves as the nearest air transit hub. For those who prefer rail travel, the Varanasi Junction Railway Station, situated only 6 kilometers away, serves as the closest railway station. From this station, travelers can easily access Hanuman Ghat by either hiring a taxi or taking an auto-rickshaw, ensuring a hassle-free journey
Nearest Ghats to explore:
There are several ghats located near Hanuman Ghat that are worth exploring. Some of these include:
Tulsi Ghat: Tulsi Ghat, renowned for its spiritual eminence, is situated in close proximity to Hanuman Ghat, at a mere distance of a few hundred meters. As per the beliefs, it is said that the acclaimed poet Tulsidas visited this place, adding to its historical significance.
Harishchandra Ghat: Harishchandra Ghat, positioned approximately 3 kilometers from Hanuman Ghat, is another renowned cremation site in Varanasi. Its moniker derives from the prominent figure King Harishchandra, who is purported to have served as a cremator within its confines.
Nearby Places to visit Near Hanuman Ghat:
Apart from the ghats and temples, there are several other places to visit near Hanuman Ghat. Some of these include:
Sarnath: Sarnath, a renowned Buddhist pilgrimage destination, is situated approximately 12 kilometers from Hanuman Ghat. According to historical accounts, this is the site where Lord Buddha delivered his inaugural sermon upon attaining enlightenment.
Ramnagar Fort: The Ramnagar Fort, dating back to the 18th century, stands majestically on the opposite bank of the river Ganges and is accessible by ferry. It boasts of exquisite architectural design, and within its walls, an enriching museum awaits visitors, exhibiting the rich history and cultural heritage of the charming city of Varanasi.
Hanuman Ghat boasts not only of its spiritual relevance but also of the fascinating historical and cultural wealth that Varanasi beholds. This iconic site is a gateway to an array of experiences, from immersing oneself in the sanctity of the holy river to discovering the neighboring ghats and temples. A visit to this destination is an absolute must for travelers who seek a comprehensive understanding of the city’s serenity and allure. So do not miss the opportunity to explore Hanuman Ghat and the plethora of nearby attractions while planning your trip to Varanasi.