In queue even after death, wait for ‘moksha’ gets longer at Kashi ghats
It is common belief among Hindus that performing last rites at sacred Manikarnika and Harishchandra ghats of Kashi opens the gates for ‘moksha’, but the wait of the dead for salvation is getting longer for the last three days.
Long queues of bodies arriving for cremation are being witnessed at the two ghats since Saturday as there has been a manifold increase in the number of bodies arriving for last rites.
Against the normal arrival of 80-85 bodies at the two ghats, the number has suddenly gone up touching around 175 on Sunday.
A descendant of Dom Raja family Jagdish Chaudhary said, “The number of bodies arriving at the ghats has increased in the last three days. It is being believed that many of the deaths have been caused due to heat wave. As the number is higher than usual, people have no option but to wait for hours.”
Pawan Chaudhary, a distant relative of Jagdish Chaudhary, said: “At Manikarnika Ghat, as many as 20 bodies can be cremated simultaneously while at Harishchandra Ghat, last rites of 10 people can be performed at a time.”
“About 50-60 bodies arrive at Manikarnika ghat and 20-25 at Harishchandra ghat every day for cremation. However, on Sunday, around 120 bodies arrived at Manikarnika ghat while about 55 bodies reached Harishchandra ghat,” he said.
“Besides Varanasi, people from adjoining districts also bring the bodies for cremation at the two ghats. High number of deaths may be attributed to extreme weather conditions,” he said.
Jagdish Chaudhary said the relatives of the dead had to pay tax for performing last rites at Kashi ghats. “Tax is decided keeping in view the financial status of the people concerned,” he added.
Residents of Varanasi claim that at Manikarnika ghat, the fire of pyres never cools down as bodies constantly keep arriving here.