Harold Jaffe’s Dispatches from India – November 29, 2015

Manikarnika* the primary burning ghat in Varanasi
Tourist responses

Words can’t begin to describe experiencing this ghat from a boat on
the Ganges at sunset. I left knowing I had seen a gateway, primal
and haunting.

See sole of people and there touch in hindu. this is place you forget
your identity and become a sant.

Genuinely one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. I had
read and heard about it but words cannot possibly sum up the sight,
sounds and smells that surround your visit here. Touts are

If your poor take a swim in the Ganga because your won’t be
permiited to burn. Only for the high caste or very rich.

One of its kind places in world which smells of rotten corpses,
charred beyond any recognition half burnt bodies, thrown into
Ganges. Its a place of blind Faith of people who come here to
renounce and attain Moksha. THE FUNERAL FIRES HAVE NOT
BEEN doused for over a 1000 Years, with more than 300 bodies
burnt here as per hindu rituals everyday, Polluting the river system.
This is the place where one forgets one own identity and realizes
the True Meaning of Life.

Sat here for long hours to see what is life nothing.

It is said that taking bath in Ganga at 12.00 noon will clear you of all
your evil deals. We followed this tradition and had a bath at 12.00
noon during our stay here.

Puh, this Ghat is real intense… i couldn´t bear the atmosphere!
Everything is full with garbage and mudd, just disgusting… plus you
see things you probably wont see… like a foot out of the burning

вот бывают достопримечательности которые как бы посмотрел
и забыл, те не оставили они ничего в тебе, здесь же
проникаешься атмосферой.

This is where life comes to a halt, it was very interesting to see how
the rituals are performed. While we were out on the visit, there were
almost more than 15 rituals happening at the ghat. May all the souls
rest in peace.

Intense and slightly mad place. It has a fiery energy, and it attracts
drunks, stoners, holy men and lunatics.

Why, oh why, would you want to see the last rites of fellow humans?
Yes, Hindus burn their dead, but the morbid curiosity that this ghat
evokes is quite nauseating. We asked our boatmen to get us as far
away as he could.

If you’re really lucky, you may see an aghori sadhu hovering in the
shadows (their temple is nearby), waiting to snatch some ashes of
human remains to paint on his skin, signaling to the world that he is
in league with death.

Only men come to the pyre, as women are thought to be too
emotional to view the burning body. (Some ideas could use
updating!) The oldest son shaves his head and wears white, then
leads the family in placing wood on the fire, sprinkling it with

A game changing experience.

Seen pyare flaming, what a faith of human being on Ganga river
that they want to get Ashed away here in want of Nirvana.

Manikarnika Ghat is one of two sites where cremations are
performed 24/7 out in the open. The other site (Harishchandra Ghat)
can be used by other religions or castes; the Manikarnika Ghat is
reserved for Hindus and handles about 65% of the cremations.
Crematiothen for the Hindus constitutes an interaction with the gods
by which the deceased is given to divinity. By burning the dead
body, the spiritual essence of an individual is released from the
physical body, hence the cycle of rebirth and death can continue.
Fire is associated with purity and power to scare ghosts and
demons. The eldest son walks around the shrouded body five times,
sprinkles Ganges water across the body, puts sandalwood on it then
lights the fire. It takes a few hours for the whole body to be con-
sumed, amidst a crowd of mourners, a cow chewing on leftover
flowers and dogs fighting over a human (?) bone.

This place is neat and lot of rituals are going on for the dead and
fore parents. River ganga is in her full majesty and had a nice bath.
One has to be careful with their belongings and toots.

Buddha instructed his disciples to spend sometime in a
crematorium just to detach oneself with the belief that one is body
and this ghat is an ideal place to do that. wish it was cleaner and
more organised to handle visitors.

The pyre is burning round the clock, If you are lucky you can spot a
Aghori sadhu on the ghats, They meditate on the burning ghats. A
moving experience to see the beliefs and to get remainded That we
all are heading to the end by the day.

Of all the ghats in Varanasi, MaNikarnika stands distinct eliciting
awe and great respect. This is where human bodies are disposed
off. Generally they are cremated, except in five cases–kids under
five, pregnant women, those died of cobra venom, those who
committed suicide, and the low caste, their bodies are tossed into
Ganga tied to a stone. Its really a wonder how the dead bodies don’t
contaminate the river.

Manikarnika ghat, where human being is torched by their loved
ones! We come out of this place with heavy heart, rather our feel
sorry for the departed as well as left behind.

Due to the incessant begging, there was just no way we could feel a
part of the experience of watching the pyres and the grieving
process of such an incredible culture, which was the entire point of
going to Varanasi.

Watch life and death go by with such ease, its such a though
provoking space. I could spend hours there just observing and
soaking in everything and I don’t mean it in a sad way at all.

Quasi come se la morte avesse più valore della vita.

It is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN to take pictures in this place even from
other ghats. When I was there, the relatives of one dead smashed
the camera of a Japanese man Who was taking pictures.

Those who visited varanasi first time should go to the Manikarnika
ghat, have bath and had darshan of the Lord Manikarneeshwar, the
temple in this ghat, then only should perform Main Kashi
Vishwanath darshan.

24 hrs burning ghat–Hindu ritual–visit only if you can handle or
move two ghats further to enjoy your cafe latte in jukaso ganges.

He told me give a “donation.” I told him I had no money to give him
and he called me a liar and insisted I pay a “donation”. He followed
me for a couple mins before I lost my temper and started screaming
at him. By that time some Indian people started to stare and then he
left. A well dressed Indian man who was observing told me he was a
regular scammer hanging out by the burning ghat trying to get
money from the tourists and that the money rarely go to the hands
of where it is needed for wood.

This is not a tourist place but a place of attraction.
Hindus burn their bodies here when someone dies.
The whole thing happens before you when you see the body
transforming to ash, light, heat, moisture and air.
It means human body consists of the five elements and it is again
recycled or reassimilated into five elements.

must visit for them who want to see the reality of human body when
it comes to end and the body for which we care so much. Hindus
believe that death is the last truth of this world.

Na miesta, aké je toto nemôže človek napísať PEKNÚ recenziu.
Pohrebné miesta v Indii majú iné kritérium na to, aby “získali 5

*Advisable not to visit the place on a full tummy.


Truly worthy place for mochhya here.maximum person came kashi
for mochhya,and he want that his last time spend in kashi and after
death his body last fireup here.Very calm place is this manikarnika
ghat. Some problem about garbage and not so clean but overall

I approached this Ghat via walkways and lanes which are also close
to “Blue Lassi’ (well worth a visit, best fruit lassi)

This is the dark hart of the city, where dogs and monkeys sorround
the caretakers of death.

We had been walking along the ghats from the southern end
were taking photos as we went, when all of a sudden, out of no-
where, we were confronted by a group of men. One shouted, ” You
have taken photos of cremation! You must pay dishonour money.

I stayed in Mishra Guest House which is near to this ghat. In the
evening there is a chaiwala serving lemon team for just Rs. 5. The
tea is awesome.

Portal to the Infinite.

Pour nous occidentaux il faut se préparer et alors nous sommes en
communion avec ce ritual.

Highly recommend to adults to get a deferent sense of death. Not
for children. This is death unvarnished and real–not a Disney movie,

He asked for a donation to help the poor buy wood for their pyres
(we were astounded by how much wood is needed and used – not
environmentally friendly at all!)

I went there three times and now looking back the Hindus there are
all trying to scam you

Es gibt hier auch keinerlei üble Gerüche, da das Holz sehr heiss

Nobody should visit this place randomly withought any goal. Only
spiritual seekers should go and witness the rituals to gain deeper
insights about life and beyond…

I watch the mummy corpse of an old woman shrouded in red and
black cloth and set on a bamboo bed. If someone peeled away the
wrapping what I’d see would be the crumbling form of the goddess

*These comments were originally posted in TripAdvisor. I’ve torqued & treated
them into serving a higher purpose