History and Legend
Manikarnika Ghat is associated with the two legends. It is believed that the Lord Vishnu dug a pit using his Chakra and at the same time the Lord Shiva was watching Lord Vishnu, the earring (“manikarnika”) had fell into the pit created by the Lord Vishnu. According to the second legend, the Goddess Parvati (consort of Lord Shiva, Goddess Annapurna) hid her earrings, and asked Lord Shiva to find them.
According to the another ancient mythology is the owner of the Manikarnika Ghat was bought the King Harishchandra as a slave and said him to work on the Manikarnika at the Harishchandra Ghat. Dead bodies of the people in Hindu religion are cremated usually at this ghat.
It is one of the most famous, sacred and oldest ghat in the Varanasi, Manikarnika is the main burning ghat and one of most auspicious places that a Hindu can be cremated. Bodies are bring to the ghat at the bamboo stretcher covered in the red cloth which handled by the doms.
Significance of Manikarnika Ghat
Manikarnika Ghat is also famous by the name of Mahasmasana which is one of two cremation Ghats in the Varanasi. Another famous ghat of cremation is Harishchandra Ghat. Manikarnika Ghat is historically associated with the Hindu God named Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. It is considered that the one who is cremated at this ghat will attain Moksha, the salvation and get directly intermingled into the Lord Shiva.
Manikarnika Ghat is also famous for the temple of the Lord Shiva and Mata Durga which was built around 1850 by the Maharaja of the Awadh. This temple has become the holy shrine of this Ghat. A holy pond named, Cakra-Pushkarini Kund (Manikarnika Kund) is also at this ghat which is believed that dug by the Lord Vishnu. According to the history, this kund existed earlier than the origin of the Ganges.
It is also considered that the Charanapaduka (the footprints) of the Lord Vishnu is here in a circular marble slab, as Lord Vishnu has mediated for many years at this ghat.
Location Map of Manikarnika Ghat