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What Is Ghats & It's Importance

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By Author: Swetha Prasanna Gangavarapu
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Ghats are embankments of rivers. They are usually made of stone or cement steps on the riversides. They allow people to perform various tasks including stepping down into the river comfortably and sitting and enjoying the views. We can see ghats in many places in India.
Rivers in India are known for their spiritual significance. Many well-known temples are formed beside rivers. Varanasi, a famous site for Lord Shiva is alongside Ganga. Bhadrachalam temple, a renowned site of worship of Lord Rama is alongside the Godavari river. Konark Sun temple in Odisha is on the banks of the river Chandrabagha. Hampi Virupaksha temple is alongside the Tungabhadra river. Similarly, the famous place of worship of Sri Guru Raghavendra is along the river Tungabhadra.
Amongst such ghats of rivers, the ghats of Ganga are world-renowned. No other river in the world has as many ghats as the Ganga river has. It has 88 ghats in total. They are known for their religious significance. Many of the ghats are known for cremation. People bring the dead bodies of ...
... their family and relatives to perform the last rites here. Cremating on Ganga ghats is believed to relieve the human soul from the cycle of birth and death. This is the main reason why people perform the last rites here.
Ghats on the bank of Ganga is also famous for their scenic beauty. Boating on these ghats is one famous activity. The scenes of people performing various activities with a view of the temple towers and ghat constructions are a sight to behold. Ganga ghats are hence of the popular places for photography enthusiasts too.
Another activity that ghats are known for is the aarti or fire puja. Hindus consider rovers to be the cause of civilization. The age-old processes of Hinduism stress worshipping rivers in various ways. Leaving lamps in leaves, offering dance as worship, and taking a dip in the river, and offering oblations for the Sun god are all forms of worshipping rivers. Unfortunately, today rivers are turning polluted due to the greed and lack of knowledge of humans.
Ghats have been known for popular tourist places too. In the olden times, most ghats were the venues of movie shootings, leisure, and relaxation purposes. They often provided the best place to relax with family with little or no budget. Providing the best of freshest air, ghats are one of the best choices for family relaxation destinations.
Ghats also were places of learning in the olden days. Gurus used to train their students in Vedas, cultural dance, classical music, martial arts, etc. on the banks of rivers and at ghats. This was due to the science that ghats provided the best of air with little or no disturbance that let learners learn and grasp the subject with attention.
In the Hindu scriptures, we can find mention of many Gurukulas on the banks of rivers. Gurus formed their shelters near rivers and used to train their disciples on their banks. These are synonymous with the modern-day ghats.
Many people from the older generation can relate to playing on the ghats and spending time on them with their friends and family. In the modern-day, many tourists visit ghats for various reasons. Be it for worship or pleasure, it is the responsibility of every educated mind not to pollute the rivers and damage the natural beauty of ghats. If we treat mother nature with care and responsibility, it treats us back in the same way. This applies to worshipping ghats and taking care of them too. Be responsible and spread the word in protecting and worshipping ghats!

More About the Author

Swetha Prasanna Gangavarapu is deeply enthused with Indian Culture and Traditions. A travel buff, she believes traveling unfolds one's way of thinking.

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