INDIA CROSSING THE RIVER GANGES Manikarnika Ghat has a great significance not only in Hindu mythology and way of life but also in the philosophies of life and death. Manikarnika is basically a cremation Ghat. It is interesting to know that cremation Ghats are usually placed outside the main town; as they are considered inauspicious. Nevertheless this doesn't stand true in the case of Varanasi where Manikarnika is situated quite in the middle of town itself. This is precisely because the entire city of Varanasi is considered a "Maha-Shmashan" or the Great Cremation Ground. Manikarnika Ghat is perpetually crowded with funeral parties. You will find shops lined up with things used during the cremation such as Ghee; wood; offerings and clothes. These cremations are felicitated by Doms who are considered the guardian of dead. Seeing bodies being cremated so publicly has always exerted a great fascination for foreign visitors to the city who find it utterly amusing and deviated from the one practiced in Semitic religions. It is worthy to note that photography is strictly considered a taboo. So please avoid doing that as this might be seen as a provocation and act of hostility and might lead to unwanted troubles.