Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh is second only to the Dasaswamedh Ghat as far as importance and popularity is concerned. Manikarnika means Jeweled Earring. Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh lies at the center of Panchya Tirtha and is regarded as one of the most sacred pilgrim spots of Hindus.
The philosophies of life and death are integrally associated with this Ghat; this is because, the entire Manikarnika Ghat is Maha Smashan or a Great Cremation Ground. Since, the seed of creation lies embedded within the ashes of destruction, Manikarnika Ghat symbolizes both. It is perennially crowded with cremation gatherings.
History of Manikarnika Ghat, Uttar Pradesh, India:
It is said that the Manikarnika Kund, which epitomizes life, has been constructed by Lord Vishnu himself. He is said to be the preserver of life on this earth, while the Manikarnika Ghat, which embodies death, has been constructed by Lord Shiva who symbolizes death. He is said to reside in the ashes of the Manikarnika Ghat. They reside side by side indicating life and death going hand in hand.
Manikarnika Kund is said to be older that the River Ganges. At the behest of Lord Shiva, Vishnu touched the Kund with his discus and filled the same with his perspiration that was produced by the labor of creating this Universe. At this, Shiva quivered with delight and his earning feel into the Kund. Therefore, it came to be known as Manikarnika Kund.
There is another interesting legend behind the existence of the Manikarnika Ghat, which says that it existed from the time of the epic the Ramayana. It is said that Raja Harishchandra was the pyre man over here. For thousands of years, the light of the Manikarnika Ghat is said to be burning eternally, without dimming down.
Description of Manikarnika Ghat, Uttar Pradesh, India:
Since Manikarnika Ghat is chiefly meant for the cremation parties, woods, logs, ghee, sweets and clothes are found here in abundance. Foreigners can also be seen with their cameras seen here and there in the streets if Manikarnika Ghat. As life is symbolized by the Manikarnika Kund, death is symbolized by the Manikarnika Ghat. Therefore, life and death is said to walk side by side over here.
Here, Manikarnika Temple is a special attraction for the pilgrims. There is also a small shrine dedicated to Lord Vishnu over here. It is marked by his footprint which is also called Paduka. Tarakeshwara Lingam, that stands over here remains flooded with people all round the year.