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Manikarnika Bath

ManikarnikaKundis present since the Origin of Mother Ganges (Ganga)–

Hindus believe that the ManikarnikaKund (Wharf, natural water body storing drinking water) has been present since theexistence of river Ganges on this Earth. ManikarnikaKund is situated on the banks of River Ganga in Varanasi. This Ghat(Jetty) has also been named as ManikarnikaGhaatbased on the name ofManikarnikaKund. Every year after the flood, folk style images are Etched on the walls of the Kund. It is a belief that these images are a symbol of Manikarnika Devi.

Many mythological stories are prevalent in relation to the origin of this Kund. According to one of the legends, when Lord Shiva had been in eremite sleep for hundreds of thousands of years, Lord Vishnu constructed this kund with his own chakra (disc), after getting up from meditation, Lord Shiva took a bath in this kund and his earring fell down here, which has not been found till this day. That is the reason, howManikarnika got its name. Even today, people whose last rites (funeral) is done here, are asked, whether the earring got found or not.

ManikarnikaGhaat is the oldest cremation ground in the world, where the burningof funeral pyre is being done for the past 3000 years. This cremation ground holds a great importance in Hinduism. In this Ghaat, people of the Dom community (lower caste community which is assigned with burning the funeral pyre), complete the task of burning the funeral pyre. Here, nobody can burn thepyre, free of cost. Earlier, the Dom community used to accept whatever amount of money, people used to give as per their own free will, but now the Dom communityfleecesmoney from the people as per their own whims. This jetty is a symbol of creation and demolition.

According to a legend, when KingHarishchandra left his royal palace to fulfill his pledge and started living like an ordinary man, then he was given the job to recover the tax of this very crematorium. At the same time, his son died and theyhad nothing to pay the tax, it was then, that he and tore and took a piece from his wife’s sari, as tax.

Salvation is received after taking Bath at Manikarnika

According to the Hindu Almanac of the calendar year, Kartik month (8th month of hindu calendar) holds a lot of importance. It is consideredauspicious and attracts great religious merits, to take bath before sunrise in this month. According to SkandaPurana (a hindu holy scripture) –

नकार्तिकसमोमासोनकृतेनसमंयुगम ! नवेदसदृशंशास्त्रंनतीर्थंगंगयासमम !!

The significance of the Kartik month (8th month of hinducalender) has been mentioned in this verse is that there is no month like the month of Kartik. There is no age like Satyuga (the Era ofTruth and Gods). There is no scripture in comparison to the Vedas and there is no pilgrimage when compared with the river Ganges.

At theManikarnikaGhaat, there is an occasion of fair and festivities, during the entire Kartik month, for taking bath, but the special importance of taking bath is on theChaturdashi(14th Day) of theShukla Paksh (Phase of the Moon ascending from New Moon to Full Moon) falling in the Kartik month, which is also called VaikunthaChaturdashi. According to legendary belief, by taking this bath, one is bestowed with pure wisdom and attainment of salvation.Taking a dip in this ghat on the day of Manikarnika bath destroys all the sins and the person attains salvation after death.

Dev Diwali – On this day, in Kashi, along the banks of the Ganga uncountable lamps are lit and decorated, in One Line Formation. Dev Diwali (Diwali of the Gods) is celebrated on night of the full moon in the month of Kartik. It is believed that on this day, the Gods enters the town ofKashi through the sacred river Ganges. Therefore, their path is ignited by lighting and decorating the lamps. Another mythological story is prevalent in connection with Dev Diwali, according to which Lord Shiva killed the Demon named Tripurasur on this day, and due to this occasion of happiness, the Gods celebrated Diwali. That is why it is called Dev Diwali.

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