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Two ghats in Varanasi that reflect the concept of the Cycle of Life – Manikarnika & Harishchandra Ghat

Varanasi, the ancient city on the banks of the sacred Ganges River, is steeped in spirituality and regarded as the spiritual capital of India. It is home to two prominent ghats Manikarnika and Harishchandra Ghat, where Hindus believe that performing the last rites and cremating their departed loved ones will grant them liberation from the cycle of life and death, leading to Moksha or ultimate salvation. In this blog, we explore the rituals and spiritual beliefs associated with these ghats and how they reflect the profound concept of the cycle of life in Hinduism.

Hinduism teaches the concept of “Samsara,” which is the continuous cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. According to this belief, the soul (Atman) reincarnates into different bodies through multiple lifetimes, shaped by the actions and karma accumulated in each life. The ultimate goal is to break free from Samsara and attain Moksha, liberating the soul from the cycle of birth and death.

Manikarnika Ghat: The Gateway of salvation 

Manikarnika Ghat boasts a rich history that dates back centuries. It is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva’s consort, Goddess Parvati, lost her earring (Manikarnika) during a divine encounter. As a result, the ghat was named after this sacred event.

It is regarded as the most auspicious cremation ground in Varanasi. Hindus believe that cremating the deceased at this ghat will grant them liberation from the cycle of birth and death (Samsara). It is considered a divine blessing to have one’s last rites performed here, ensuring that the soul attains Moksha (salvation).

The ghat is perpetually active with funeral pyres burning continuously. Families gather here to perform the last rites of their loved ones with great reverence and devotion. The rituals involve bathing the body in the Ganges before cremation and the subsequent immersion of the ashes in the holy river.

Manikarnika Ghat is not only a cremation ground but also a spiritual and cultural symbol of Varanasi. It attracts pilgrims, tourists, and spiritual seekers from all over the world, seeking to witness and experience the profound rituals and teachings associated with death and the afterlife in Hinduism.

Harishchandra Ghat: Honoring Truth and Dharma

Harishchandra Ghat derives its name from the legendary King Harishchandra, known for his unwavering commitment to truth and righteousness. His life story, often referred to as “Harishchandra Upakhyana,” exemplifies the virtues of honesty and integrity.

It is revered for its association with truth and Dharma (righteousness). Hindus believe that cremating their loved ones at this ghat will cleanse their souls of sins and pave the way for spiritual ascent in the afterlife.

Families who choose Harishchandra Ghat for cremation perform rituals with the utmost devotion and adherence to traditional practices. By doing so, they seek to honor the legacy of King Harishchandra and ensure a smooth passage for the departed soul.

Harishchandra Ghat serves as a reminder of the importance of moral values and ethics in one’s life. It inspires people to embrace truthfulness and righteousness, knowing that their actions and karma will shape their journey through the cycle of life.


Manikarnika and Harishchandra Ghat are two cremation grounds in Varanasi that hold immense spiritual, historical, and cultural significance. They represent the profound beliefs and teachings of Hinduism regarding life, death, and the pursuit of liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. These ghats attract millions of pilgrims and visitors each year, seeking solace, spiritual wisdom, and a glimpse into the eternal journey of the soul. The rituals and practices performed at these ghats provide an opportunity for introspection and reflection on the impermanence of life and the enduring legacy of truth and righteousness. As integral parts of Varanasi’s cultural heritage, Manikarnika and Harishchandra Ghat continue to inspire and fascinate those who visit the spiritual heart of India.

Note: You can get in touch with our Live Free Varanasi Reception if you’re interested in knowing more about the nearby tourist attractions: +91 88810 20248

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