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Harishchandra Ghat, Varanasi

Situated on Bangali Tola Road, near Manasarovar Ghat, Harishchandra Ghat is not only a scenic spot and landmark of Varanasi which attracts tourists coming annually, but also a religious site for Hindus to express and pursue their faiths. It is an ideal place for tourists to witness and experience the strong power of belief and authentic and novel life of Hindus.           

Why it is called “Harishchandra Ghat”?

Named after the legendary Indian ruler Harishchandra, Harishchandra Ghat is a sacred ghat working as a cremation site in Varanasi. Legend has it that King Harishchandra, in order to prove to god that he was a wise king, gave up his own territory and power; his wife and children fulfilled his promise to the saint Vishwamitra. This legend was finally adapted into a movie. Nowadays, it is a revered funeral place for Hindus.       

What do Hindus do at Harishchandra Ghat?

Harishchandra Ghat is one of the only two ghats serving as cremation sites along Ganges River. The fire that never stops sends souls to paradise one by one from morning to night. For local residents and pious Hindus, it is a sacred site; and their daily life and routine activities, even birth and death are revolved around this important ghat.

Bathe in the Sacred Water
For Hindus, the water of Ganges River is pure and sacred. Hindus consider that everyone is full of sins, and the only thing to cast off sins is to bathe in Ganges River, letting the pure water takes away sins. Therefore, from morning to night, it is easy to notice continuous Hindus and believers coming and bathing in the water, forming a spectacular scene. Even little babies are just born or the old people who just die, for believers, it is necessary to accept the baptism of Ganges River. After bathing in the water, it is believed that their souls will get nirvana and rebirth.

Bathe in the Sacred Ganges River
Hindus Bathing in the Sacred Ganges River
Pray at Harishchandra Ghat
Praying at Harishchandra Ghat

Pray at Harishchandra Ghat
Regarding death as another way to start a new life, Hindus consider death to be the result of what they did in the past, or to be the accumulation of sins in the dying life. Pious believers will come here to pray, to confess to Ganges River – the symbol of God, facing the broad river.       

Hold Cremation Ceremony          

Believing that people being cremated at Harishchandra Ghat can get salvation, majority of the local residents will accept cremation. Many old people choose to spend the last time of their life here, considering it will ease the pain of death. Forming a tradition lasting over 100 years, local residents, usually the males in one clan will take their family members who passed away to the ghat to participate cremation ceremony. The corpses will be burnt on wood for 3 hours to get them burnt thoroughly.  

What to do in Harishchandra Ghat?

Full of cultural features and religious color, Harishchandra Ghat is an original destination for tourists to observe and experience Varanasi. Here, tourists can be touched by pious believing and attracted by fantastic scenery, which will leave unforgettable memory in mind.

Watching Cremation Ceremony
Cremation is a traditional ceremony at Harishchandra Ghat. The never-ending fire brings souls to ideal paradise. Each day, from morning to night, cremation ceremony can be noticed. Tourists can have the chance to witness the whole process, but remember it, don not take photos or record a video when watching, it is a little offensive.        

Enjoy Cruises Trip on Ganges River
Harishchandra Ghat is situated on the bank of Ganges River. It is recommended for tourists to enjoy cruises trip on Ganges River, which is regarded as the best way to view and appreciate the scenery, as well as watch the whole process of cremation. Floating above the Ganges River, with breezes stirring the corners of clothes, tourists can be immersed in the pleasure of temporarily forgetting troubles and disappointments.

Cremation Ceremony
Watching Cremation Ceremony from a Distance
Ganges River
Enjoying Cruises Trip on Ganges River

Hiking around Harishchandra Ghat
As a cremation site, it is also a building full of Indian taste. Here, tourists can see colorful buildings, paintings, and small stores with special features. Walking around, tourists can find souvenirs and local specialty and chatting with local residents or bargain with shop owners.

How to get to Harishchandra Ghat

1. Starting from the old city of Varanasi, passengers can walk to Harishchandra Ghat, all of these ghats are nearby and easy to be found.    
2. Passengers can also take a rickshaw or electric motorcar to get there. The price of a short distance usually starts at 20 rupees and can be negotiated.   

Entry fee
All day
How much time to spend
1-3 hours

See More:

Assi Ghat

Dashashwamedh Ghat

Manikarnika Ghat

Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple