Tulsi Ghat- the name itself is self-revelatory, suggesting its associations with the great bhakta poet Tulsidas. It lies in fourth place starting from Assi ghat when moving from south to north along the riverfront Ganga in Varanasi. Earlier, it was a part of an old ghat known as Lolark Ghat. This name became known because of the connection of Goswami Tulsidas with this ghat who wrote Ramacharitmanas. Tulsidas spent the last days of his life living here.
The Hanuman image installed by Tulsidas and a piece of the boat used by him is still preserved in a small temple. The temple is attached to a house owned by Mahant (late) Veer Bhadra Mishra and his family. In 1807 Amrit Rao, the adopted son of Raghoba, made this ghat and also patronized the building, followed by repairs and extensions by Mahant Swami Natha. Later in 1941, Baldeo Das Birla made this ghat pucca. Attached to this ghat is a guesthouse, a Sanskrit School, and the Cleaning Ganga Laboratory – all are under the care of Sankatmochan Foundation, an NGO founded in 1982. Other than Tulsidas and his belongings, Tulsi ghat has a lot more significance to look up to.
places to visit near tulsi ghat:
- TULSIDAS ASHRAM: The ashram is located in Tulsi Ghat, precisely where Goswami Tulsidas wrote the classic Ramcharitmanas. The Ashram has an idol of Lord Hanuman installed by Tulsidas himself; a piece of the boat used by him; his khadau(slippers); and his asan(seat).
- LOLARK KUND: Close to this is a very famous kund, named Lolark Kund. A rectangular water tank of 15m height. It is one of the oldest sacred places in Varanasi. The structure might date back to around 1000 AD. The word ‘Lolark’ means ‘trembling sun’. The kund displays a wavering image of Sun God, Suryadev, in the water of the tank. Situated on a raised platform immediately south of Lolark Kund, is Sri Lolarkeshwar Mahadev temple or Lolark Aditya Mandir.
- TULSI AKHARA: Tulsi or Swaminath Akhara is another nearby place to visit. Here, you’ll see the pehelwans(wrestlers) often performing dand baithaks(sit-ups), jori phirna or wrestling.
- MAHISHASUR MARDINI TEMPLE: Also known by the name Chamunda Devi, Mahishasur Mardini is regarded as the Kshetra Rakshika(protector of the region). To the north of Lolark, you can find this temple which also houses the idol of Kaal Bhairav.
- ARK VINAYAK TEMPLE: This temple offers a rare sight of idols of Vinayak and Vainayaki (feminine form of Ganesh) together. People often misinform tourists that both the idols are of Vinayak facing north and south directions. The pandit of this temple told us about its mention in Kashi Khand (a section of Skanda Mahapuran). It is one of the Ashta Vinayaks located in Kashi. The worship of Ark Vinayak on Guru Poornima has a special significance.
- RANI LAXMI BAI JANMASTHALI: At a walking distance from Tulsi Ghat on the way to Assi ghat, stands a grand statue of Laxmibai on the ground of her birthplace.
Festivals to witness near Tulsi Ghat:
- NAG NATHAIYA: Nag Nathaiya is an important day on the second day of light-half Kartika. It is believed that this Leela was also initiated by Tulsidas himself and is continued till today. A huge branch of Kadamba tree is planted on the Ganga bank and a small boy acting as Krishna jumps from the top of it into the river. Thereafter, he appears standing on the hood of the giant snake (a model) whom he has won the fight under the water. Finally, he puts rope in the snake’s nose and this is followed by his plays on his flute.
- LOLARK CHHATH/SHASTI: It is celebrated in the month of September. Thousands of devotees come here to worship the Sun God. It is noticed that water of the kund is clear throughout the year, even during the floods. Legends has it that the water here has a special power of fertility and the couples who bathe here are blessed with a child. Also, taking a dip in its holy water cures various skin diseases.
- KRISHNA LEELA: During the Hindu lunar month of Kartika (Oct.-Nov.), Krishna Leela (theatrical performance of Lord Krishna’s life) is performed every year at the Tulsi Ghāṭ for almost 15 days.
- RAM LEELA: Tulsi had also initiated Ram Leela. It takes place for a period of 17 days and ends on the 10th day of Lunar-Hindu month of Ashvina (Sept-Oct). First few days of the Leela are performed near the Tulsi Ghāṭ and it finally ends here too. While the rest of the acts are held at different sites in the southern part.
- DRUPAD FESTIVAL: It is an annual music festival of 3-4 days held in Tulsi Ghat. Organized in the month of February-March, legendary musicians from around the country come to participate here.
Tulsi Ghat is the next common spot for localities and students after Assi Ghat. You will often witness young musical bands or individuals jamming or practicing here. Jalpari, the river cruise or the queen of Ganga is housed near the Tulsi ghat. You can also see the evening aarti and enjoy riverside Maggi here.
How to reach Tulsi ghat
Tulsi Ghat is located 3KM away from Vishwanath Temple and 2KM away from BHU. It is well connected to all the Railway stations, Airport and the bus stand via road. You can reach Imperial Public School, Assi Road by shared auto-rickshaw, and take a 5-minute walk to the Tulsi Ghat. You can also take a boat ride from any ghat to the Tulsi Ghat or just walk.
- Assi ghat
- Rewa ghat
- Bhadaini ghat