INDIA CROSSING THE RIVER GANGES The philosophical aspect of Manikarnika lies in the fact that this Ghat is an optimal amalgamation of both life as well as death. Manikarnika that lies at the center of the Panch-Tirtha symbolizes both creation and destruction; epitomized by the juxtaposition of the sacred well of Manikarnika Kund and Manikarnika Ghat. While Vishnu has dug the former at the time of creation of earth Shiva; the destructor; inhabits the hot and sandy ash-infused soil of the later. Manikarnika Kund is considered to be even older than Ganges and as legend has it; Vishnu cared the kund with his discus; and filled it with perspiration from his exertions in creating the world; at the behest of Shiva. When Shiva quivered with delighted; his earning fell into this pool; which as Manikarnika - "Jeweled Earring" - became the very First Tirtha in the world. Manikarnika Devi who is worshipped by millions every year inhabits the place. There is also a small Vishnu Shrine that is marked by the paduka (footprint) of his. This too along with the Tarakeshvara Lingam remains flooded with people yearlong. Strictly speaking; Manikarnika is the name given to the kund and to the Ghat; while the constantly busy cremation ground is actually called Jalasi Ghat. The place can be easily identified because of a dark; smoke-stained temple that stands there.