Walk through the Riverfront Ghats

This is a walk through the waterfront, from Assi Ghat to Dashashwamedh Ghat. It constitutes half of the famous Panchatirthi pilgrimage, the visit to the five sacred fords. Although on this tour you are not going to do the prayers or ritual baths that are part of the pilgrimage but you will be able to see pilgrims participating in it.

How the tour works

The walk starts at Assi Ghat, the southern end of the city where the Assi River meets the Ganges. Pilgrims bathe in the Ghats here to start their Panchatirthi pilgrimage. On the banks of the Ghat, they pray to an open-air linga, the representation of the God Shiva.

From Assi Ghat, you will walk downriver passing Tulsi Ghat (named after a great poet-saint), where the offices of the non-profit Sankat Mochan are located. They have been working on efforts to clean the Ganges River.

Next you will pass the ashram of Anandamayi Ma and the 17th century palace of Maharaja Chet Singh, to reach Hanuman Ghat. The Hanuman Ghat area is home to a substantial South Indian community, and you can see them offering morning prayers at the Ghat. This Ghat is famous for its Hanuman (Monkey God) Temple and the Temple of Ruru (The Dog) Bhairava. Your guide will tell you the stories of these deities.

The next Ghat is Harishchandra Ghat, one of the two burning Ghats of Varanasi. People in this part of the city believe this is the oldest Ghat, surpassing Manikarnika in its sanctity. Here you can see the performances of ritual rites for the dead.

Continuing downriver, you will come to Kedar Ghat, a busy Ghat that is the sacred focus of the Kedar Khanda of the city. Further down is Chauki Ghat, where you can climb up to the top of the steps if you would like to see a huge tree with shrines to the Nagas, the serpent dieties.

You will then pass through a quieter section, where the dhobis (washermen) wash and lay out clothes. This part of the city is known as Bengali Tola, settled by people from Bengal. There are more Ghats here like Mansarovar Ghat, Narada Ghat, Amareshwara Ghat and Chaunsathi Ghat. Each of these is named for specific dieties and the guide will tell you the associated legends.

Finally you will reach the Dashashwamedha Ghat, where the walk ends at the Temple of the popular goddess Shitala Devi, who cures ailments and pox.

Total Duration: 2-3 hrs, depending on your interests

When: All days of the week, starting at dawn. Start time varies depending on weather, so check with tour operators.

Start: Assi Ghat, outside Hotel Ganges View

End: Dasashwamedh Ghat, at Shitala Devi Temple.

           From Dasashwamegha Ghat you can walk out to the road and get a rickshaw to take you to your hotel.

Cost

  • Rs 1500 per person for 2 persons

  • Rs 1000 per person for 3-4 persons

  • Rs 800 per person for 5-6 persons

  • Rs 600 per person for 7-8 persons

            Maximum group size is usually not more than 6-8 people. Payment is by cash on the day of the tour.

Includes: Knowledgeable English-speaking guide, illustrated handouts, personalised walk.

                     If you need pickup/drop from your hotel by car then Rs 1000 more has to be paid.

Tour Notes

Please wear sensible closed footwear. The tour involves ups and downs at the Ghats, and is not suitable for those with mobility problems. Please be sensitive and discreet if you are photographing people, especially mendicants, women or those from religious orders. There are no Western-style toilets easily available in the vicinity of the walk.

About Panchatirtha Yatra

A very important pilgrimage for the devout is the Panchatirtha Yatra, a tour covering the 5 important Ghats of Assi, Dashashwamedha, Adi Keshava, Panchganga and Manikarnika. The Panchkosi road, beginning from the Assi Ghat and ending at the Manikarnika Ghat denotes the sacred area of Kashi. A tour around this 58 km route takes about 6 days on foot. Each of the important Ghats has a lingam.

Contact Details of Tour Operators

Name                                                                                                               Telephone Number

Varuna Travels,Pandey Haveli                                                                    91 (0542) 2393371, 2393372

Ashok Tour & Travels, ITDC Indian Airlines Building, Cantoment    91 (0542) 2503432, 2502548

Surabhi Travel, Cooperative building, Nadesar                                       91 (0542) 2502664, 2507819

TSI , Sri Das Foundation, Cantt, Varanasi                                                91 (0542) 2505928, 2500289

Travel Assistant, Varuna Bridge                                                                  91 (0542) 2502954

Abhiyan Tour & Travel, Mint House, Nadesar                                         91 (0542) 2311596

Cosmic Travel , Varuna Bridge                                                                    91 (0542) 2502246, 2504526

Morning Tours and Evening Tours are Organized from the Tourist Bungalow (Parade Kothi- Opposite Railway Station) and the Govt. of India Tourist Office, Cantonment.