The furthest south of the main ghats and one of the biggest, Assi Ghat is particularly important as the River Assi meets the Ganges near here and pilgrims come to worship a Shiva lingam (phallic image of Shiva) beneath a peepul tree. Evenings are particularly lively, as the ghat’s vast concreted area fills up with hawkers and entertainers during a small fire ceremony. It also features music and yoga at sunrise. It’s a popular starting point for boat trips.
Lonely Planet's must-see attractions
Manikarnika Ghat, the main burning ghat, is the most auspicious place for a Hindu to be cremated. Dead bodies are handled by outcasts known as doms, and…
There are temples at almost every turn in Varanasi, but this is the most famous of the lot. It is dedicated to Vishveswara – Shiva as lord of the universe…
Long regarded as a centre of learning, Varanasi’s tradition of top-quality education continues today at Banares Hindu University, established in 1916. The…
This crumbling 17th-century fort and palace, on the eastern bank of the Ganges, isn't a prime attraction, but the eccentric museum has some interesting…
Just north of Dashashwamedh Ghat, Man Mandir Ghat was built in 1600 by Raja Man Singh and later housed an observatory. The northern corner of the ghat has…
Nearby Varanasi attractions
Named after a 16th-century Hindu poet, Tulsi Ghat has fallen down towards the river, but in the month of Kartika (October/November) a festival devoted to…
This small ghat is marked by three Jain temples.
This temple, dedicated to the goddess Durga, was built in the 18th century by a Bengali maharani and is stained red with ochre. It's also known as the …
A small Shiva temple and a 19th-century mansion built by Nepali royalty sit back from Shivala Ghat, built by the local maharaja of Benares.
The walls of this modern, marble, sikhara-style temple are engraved with verses and scenes from the Ram Charit Manas, the Hindi version of the Ramayana.
The Dandi Ghat is used by austere ascetics known as Dandi Panths.
Popular with Rama devotees (Hanuman was Rama's stalwart ally in his quest to rescue Sita from the demon Ravana).
Harishchandra Ghat is a cremation ghat – smaller and secondary in importance to Manikarnika, but one of the oldest ghats in Varanasi.