Assi Ghat: Varanasi, also known as Kashi, is a city located in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is one of the holiest cities for Hindus and a popular tourist destination for people from all over the world. One of the most prominent and visited Ghats in Varanasi is the Assi Ghat.
History of Assi Ghat
Assi Ghat is believed to be one of the oldest Ghats in Varanasi and has a rich cultural and historical background. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva, the destroyer of evil and sorrow, is said to have lived in this area. It is also believed that the sage Durvasa had meditated here, and this is why the Ghat is named after him, “Durvasa Assi”. The Ghat was initially built by the Maratha rulers in the 18th century and underwent renovations in the 19th century.
Attractions at Assi Ghat
Ghat is a popular spot for watching the sunrise and sunset and is known for its beautiful and serene surroundings. It is also a hub for spiritual and cultural activities, such as yoga and Sanskrit classes, as well as a center for Hindu rituals and ceremonies. The Ghat is also a popular place for taking a dip in the holy river Ganges, which is believed to purify the soul and wash away all sins.
Every year, on the occasion of the Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri, a grand celebration is held at Ghat with devotees gathering in large numbers to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. The Ghat is also a popular place for conducting Hindu cremations, and it is a common sight to see funeral pyres burning along the banks of the river Ganges.
Apart from its religious and cultural significance, Ghat is also known for its beautiful and vibrant markets, where one can find a range of products, from traditional handicrafts to street food. The markets are particularly popular among tourists and offer a unique shopping experience.
Getting to Assi Ghat
Assi Ghat is located in the southern part of Varanasi and is easily accessible from any part of the city. One can take a taxi or an auto-rickshaw to reach the Ghat, or take a leisurely walk along the Ghats to reach Ghat. The nearest railway station is Varanasi Junction, which is well-connected to major cities in India.
Visiting Assi Ghat
Ghat is open 24 hours a day, and there is no entry fee to visit the Ghat. It is advisable to visit the Ghat early in the morning or in the evening to avoid the heat and to witness the beautiful sunrise or sunset. Visitors are advised to dress modestly and to follow the local customs and traditions while visiting the Ghat.
In conclusion, Ghat is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Varanasi. The Ghat offers a unique blend of religious and cultural experiences, and its serene surroundings and beautiful views of the river Ganges make it a perfect place for spiritual rejuvenation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Assi Ghat
Q. What is Assi Ghat?
A – Ghat is a popular riverfront in the city of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. It is located at the confluence of the Ganges and Assi rivers and is considered one of the most sacred ghats in the city.
Q. Why is Assi Ghat significant?
A – Ghat is significant because it is one of the largest and busiest ghats in Varanasi and is considered a center for religious and cultural activities. It is also the starting point for pilgrims who embark on the Kashi-Vishwanath Temple Darshan and is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva created the universe.
Q. What are the main attractions at Assi Ghat?
A – The main attractions at Ghat include the Ghat Temple, the peepal tree that is said to be over 2,000 years old, and the statue of Lord Shiva in the form of Linga. Additionally, Assi Ghat is also famous for its evening aarti ceremony, which is a Hindu ritual performed with fire and light.
Q. Is Assi Ghat open to visitors 24 hours a day?
A – Yes, Ghat is open 24 hours a day and visitors can visit the ghat at any time. However, the best time to visit is in the evening to witness the aarti ceremony.
Q. What is the cost of visiting Assi Ghat?
A – There is no cost to visit Ghat, it is open to visitors free of charge.
Q. What is the best way to reach Assi Ghat?
A – The best way to reach Ghat is by taking a taxi or an auto-rickshaw from any part of the city. It is also possible to reach the ghat by taking a boat ride along the Ganges River.
Q. Is it safe to visit Assi Ghat at night?
A – Yes, it is generally safe to visit Ghat at night, but it is recommended to take necessary precautions and avoid going alone.
Q. Can tourists participate in the evening aarti ceremony at Assi Ghat?
A – Yes, tourists are welcome to participate in the evening aarti ceremony at Ghat. It is a unique and beautiful experience to witness the devotion and spirituality of the Hindu community.
Q. Are there any accommodation options near Assi Ghat?
A – Yes, there are several accommodation options near Ghat, including budget-friendly guesthouses, mid-range hotels, and luxury resorts. Visitors can choose from a range of options based on their preferences and budget.
Q. Are there any restaurants or food stalls near Assi Ghat?
A – Yes, there are several restaurants and food stalls near Ghat that offer a range of local and international cuisine. Visitors can enjoy a meal while overlooking the Ganges River and the beautiful city of Varanasi.
Q. Are there any shops or souvenir stores near Assi Ghat?
A – Yes, there are several shops and souvenir stores near Ghat that sell a range of traditional and local handicrafts, souvenirs, and clothing. Visitors can take a piece of Varanasi back home with them as a reminder of their visit to this beautiful city.
Q. Can visitors take a boat ride from Assi Ghat to explore the Ganges River?
A – Yes, visitors can take a boat ride from Ghat to explore the Ganges River and the beautiful city of Varanasi from a unique perspective. It is a unique and memorable experience that should not be missed.