Darbhanga Ghat

Located at the banks of river Ganga, witness Ganga Arti & sacred rituals at the ghats. Signup for full VR Experience ! Book a holiday package to Darbhanga Ghat.

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Darbhanga Ghat

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Darbhanga Ghat

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Location

Darbhanga Ghat, Near Ahilyabai Ghat, Bangali Tola, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

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Varanasi has been the muse of countless men throughout history, from the author Mark Twain to actor Brad Pitt reflecting on their extraordinary encounter with the city. One of Hinduism’s major centers, the illustrious city has over time become an amalgamation of humanity with its diverse and staggering culture, population, and traditions. It has been the final destination to the spiritual quests of many who come here to seek the truth. Texts and mythology describe Varanasi as a cosmologically significant place believed to be the transitional gateway between this world and the cosmic world. The river Ganga flows along the older city and is lined by ghats – man-made embankments consisting of massive steps leading down the river. The land water interface has been culturally significant in India with a variety of built forms like stepwells and ghats materializing around waterbodies.

                    varanasi ImageDarbhanga and Munshi Ghats (IMAGE: WIKIPEDIA)

 

The ghats are a symbolic and physical connection to the river Ganga – the giver of all prosperity and of life. These ghats are marvelous examples of riverfront architecture in India and are overlooked by palatial buildings built by prominent patrons between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries. The area along the ghats is lined by temples and shrines along the stretch of the riverbank. 

It is at the banks of the river Ganga, on these ghats that men and women leave their mortal remains and traverse into the state of Moksha or ultimate liberation. The ghats witness multifarious activities from the Ganga arti, sacred rituals, festivals, cremation of the dead and the everyday activities of the people who inhabit the areas around the river – pilgrims, priests, yogis, and tourists. The landscape of the ghats represent the mythic narrative built around the beliefs of life, death, purity, impurity and a reverence for nature. It provides a kinetic and haptic experience while moving from the narrow streets of the city to the open ghats. 

Of the many ghats on the crescent shaped bank of river Ganga, the Darbhanga ghat lies in the central portion. Built as an extension to the Munshi ghat, the Darbhanga ghat is one of the quieter and less crowded ones. It has massive octagonal platforms on either side demarcating its place in the landscape. The steps of the ghat comprise of sandstone bonded with dowel joints or iron clamps to secure them against flooding during monsoon.

          Image Plan Plan of Brij Rama Palace. (IMAGE: Singh, Rana P.B., The Riverfront Ganga Ghats, Varanasi

From the ghat a steep flight of stairs leads to the entrance of the Darbhanga palace now known as the Brij Rama palace, which is one of the oldest buildings in the area. The palace was built in 1812 by Shridhara Narayana Munshi, a Maratha minister from Nagpur, after whom the Munshi ghat is named. Originally conceived as a fort it’s constructed of sandstone from Chunar and the architecture is a blend of Indian and Greek influences acquired over time with changing ownership. Darbhanga ghat owes its name to the King of Darbhanga, Rameshwar Singh Bahadur who acquired the palace in 1915 and was responsible for incorporating interior features and the columns inspired by Greek architecture as evident from their appearance and monumental scale. The palace has beautifully crafted interiors and overlooks the mighty Ganga and provides a panoramic view of the ghats. The river facing façade of the palace is almost fort-like with turrets on either side. The basements at the bottom are entirely solid without openings creating a clear distinction between the royal spaces above and the public domain at the ghat. Towards the top the façade opens up with windows and balconies opening to the river.

 The palace is currently a heritage hotel owned by the Clarks Hotel Group which renamed it as the Brij Rama Palace.

                                                            The Ghats at Varanasi. (IMAGE: The Riverfront Ganga Ghats, Varanasi)

 

Glossary

Turrets - a small tower on top of a larger tower or at the corner of a building or wall, typically of a castle

Dowel Joints - dowelled joints are formed with slightly tapering pins, or "dowels," which fit into holes made in the stones opposite to one another

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