Manikarnika Ghat is the primary cremation ghat in Varanasi.
It is one of the oldest ghats in Varanasi. It is revered in Hindu religion. When Mata Sati (Aadi shakti mata) sacrificed her life & set her body ablaze after Raja Daksh Prajapati (one of the sons of Lord Brahma) tried to humiliate Lord shiva in a Yagya practiced by Daksh. Lord Shiva took her burning body to the Himalaya. On seeing the unending sorrow of Lord shiva, Vishnu sends the Divine chakra to cut the body into 18 parts which fall on earth. They are called "Ashtadash Shaktipeeth". Lord Shiva established Shakti Peeth wherever Sati's body had fallen. At Manikarnika ghat, Mata Sati's Ear's ornament had fallen.
The Manikarnika shrine as a Shakti Peeth
The Manikarnika shrine is an important place of worship for Shaktism sect of Hinduism, It is near to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The mythology of Daksha yaga and Sati's self immolation is the mythology behind the origin of Shakti Peethas. The etymology of the place is due to this mythology. It is believed that Sati Devi's Ear Rings has fallen here. Manikarna in Sanskrit means Ear Rings.
Shakti Peethas are shrines that are believed to be enshrined with the presence of Shakti due to the falling of body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi, when Lord Shiva carried it and wandered. There are 51 Shakti Peeth linking to the 51 alphabets in Sanskrit. Each temple have shrines for Shakti. The Shakti of Manikarnika is addressed as Vishalakshi & Manikarni.
Hindu mythology teaches that the ghat is especially sacred and that people cremated there receive moksha. As the myth goes, Vishnu, after several thousand years of tapasya, trying to please Shiva, to convince him to not destroy the holy city of Kashi when he destroys the world, managed to do so.
Lord Shiva along with Parvati came to Kashi before Vishnu to grant him his wish. Vishnu dug a kund (well) on the bank of Ganga for the bath of the couple. When Lord Shiva was bathing a Mani (Jewel) from his earring fell into the kund, hence the name Manikarnika (Mani:Beads Karnam:Ear Angad: Ornament). There is another myth about the ghat : the ear jewel from lord Shiva fell down while he was dancing angrily, which fell on the earth and thus Manikarnika Ghat formed.
- (Translator), F. Max Muller (June 1, 2004). The Upanishads, Vol I. Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN 1419186418.
- (Translator), F. Max Muller (July 26, 2004). The Upanishads Part II: The Sacred Books of the East Part Fifteen. Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN 1417930160.
- "Kottiyoor Devaswam Temple Administration Portal". http://kottiyoordevaswom.com/. Kottiyoor Devaswam. Retrieved 20 July 2013. External link in
- "Manikarnika Ghat". Retrieved 20 December 2010.
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