Harishchandra Ghat – Witness of Truth & Duty

Harishchandra ghat, also called Shmashan or Mashan ghat is one of the oldest ghats of Varanasi and no less significant than Manikarnika. Almost all of us have either heard or read about the mythological King Harishchandra, after whom this ghat is named.

Harishchandra Ghat, Varanasi (picture by Priyanshu Singh)

Significance of Harishchandra Ghat

Raja Harishchandra was known for keeping his word and he never left the path of truth. According to the legends, he once worked as an undertaker at the cremation ground here to fulfill his promise. He also gave away his throne, lost his family, and agreed to become a slave. But eventually, seeing his perseverance the Gods rewarded him with his lost kingdom and his dead son.

Harishchandra temple at Ghat, Varanasi (picture by Priyanshu Singh)

History of Harishchandra Ghat

Harishchandra Ghat is one of the two cremation ghats in Varanasi, also known as Adi Manikarnika (the original Manikarnika or the original cremation ground); there still exists Adi Manikarnika Tirtha.

In  1986-87, an electric crematorium was opened here, however, a side-by-side funeral on a wood fire is also continuing.  At the top of the shrines,  there are images of Harischandreshvara, Rohiteshvara, Adi  Manikarnikeshvara, and  Vriddha  Kedara.  In  1740, Narayana Dikshit,  a religious guru of Peshavas renovated this ghat and made this partially pucca. In the mid-18th century, paintings were preserved in Savai Mansingh-II Museum (Jaipur, Rajasthan).

Cremation ground (Picture by Priyanshu Singh)

It lies between (Hanuman) ghat and (Lali) ghat. Since it is a historical ghat, it draws a good amount of travelers from across the world.

How to reach Harishchandra Ghat

Harishchandra Ghat is located 2 km away from Vishwanath Temple and 3 km away from BHU. It is well connected to all the Railway stations, Airport and the bus stand via road. You can reach the Ghat by shared auto-rickshaw or can also take a boat ride from any ghat to the Tulsi Ghat or just walk.

Nearby ghats

  • Hanuman ghat
  • Lali ghat

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