Ganga river water was said to be pure which contained medicinal properties that helped the humankind in cultivation of good crops, preparation of medicines and many other beneficial purposes. Ganga is the sign of purity were one comes to the river at their old age to wash out all their sins and to attain salvation. She also represents the nectar of immortality by flowing spiritedly. Most of the Hindu dead bodies are cremated in the banks of the river Ganga at Manikarnika ghat and Harischandra ghat to attain moksha and to liberate from the endless cycle of rebirth.
There are eighty-seven Ganga Ghats in Varanasi, in which Dashashwamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Harischandra Ghat, Assi Ghat, Kabir Ghat, Lalita Ghat, Scindia Ghat, Chet Singh Ghat, Jain Ghat, Panchganga Ghat, Chaowki Ghat, Ahilya Ghat, Munshi Ghat, Gai Ghat, Tulasidas Ghat, Manasarovara Ghat and Raj Ghat are some of the prominent Ghats among rest of them. Each Ghat has got its own history and purposes. Ghats are built in memory of famous personalities for their contribution to the humankind like Tulsidas who composed an outstanding literary work called Ramacharitamanas, which is now a guiding lamp for humanity. Many ghats are allied with folktales or mythologies while many ghats are privately owned. Dashashwamedh Ghat is one of the outstanding ghats that leads to Vishwanath Temple and it is the most active ghat, were many ritual honor occur like “Ganga Aarathi”, “Dev Deepawali”, “Chhath Pooja”, “Ganga Dussehra” and many more. “Ganga Aarathi” is a daily evening ceremonial homage offered to the Goddess Ganga twice a day by Brahmin priests, at Dashashwamedh Ghat; Whereas, special aarthis are made on every Tuesdays. It is a ritual of giving homage to Lord Shiva, River Ganga, Surya (Sun), Agni (Fire), and the whole universe. “Dev Deepawali” is a fesitival of Kartik Poornima (full moon day), which occurs after fifteen days of Diwali festival. This day particularly we get to see huge number of crowd in the ghats. The complete ghats are decorated with lit earthen lamps on all the stone steps along the Goddess Ganga River, Firecrackers are brusted, and processions of decorated deities are taken to gullies of Varanasi. It is the belief of people that this day all the gods descend to earth to bathe in Ganges. It is also said that Dashashwamedh Ghat was created by Load Brahma to welcome Load Shiva to the city. Dashashwamedh Ghat is the place were Lord Brahma sacrificed ten horses during Dasa – Ashwamedha Yajna performed here. Ghats are built over the steps made of stone slabs, which is leading along the river Ganga. We see lot of tourists and pilgrims in the ghats of Ganga early in the mornings taking a spiritual dip and bath in the river, performing meditation, yoga and witnessing a beautiful sunrise. We also see lots of fishermen fishing and boatmen taking the tourists around the river guiding them towards the stories and history of Ganga and Ghats of Varanasi. The saints and pilgrims perform the ceremonial homage to the river by lighting the diyas and floating it in the river. Sometimes at the ghats or interiors we come across spiritual liberated people around called Aghoris and Naga Sadhus, who are covered with holy ash (cremated body ash) completely on their nude body, they are great devotees of Lord Shiva. They live and work for peace, love and nature, they overcome the taboos and they believe that everything in life is Maya (illusion).
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one among the reasons for the number of tourists and pilgrims come to Varanasi. This temple was built very long ago, were it is evident in the Puranas.