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As used in many parts of South Asia, the term ghat (Bengali: ঘাট ghaţ, Hindi: घाट "steps") refers to a series of steps leading down to a body of water. In Bengali-speaking regions, this set of stairs can lead down to something as small as a pond or as large as a major river.

In English- and/or Hindi-speaking areas 'ghats' refers to the areas, in the holy river-side cities like Haridwarmarker, Varanasimarker) where stairs exist to access the Ganges Rivermarker. The numerous significant ghats along the Ganges are known generally as the 'Varanasi ghats' and the 'ghats of the Ganges'. In Madhya Pradeshmarker in western Indiamarker there are further significant ghats along the Narmada Rivermarker.

Shamshan ghats

Ghats such as these are useful for both mundane purposes (such as cleaning) and religious rites (ie., ritual bathing or ablutions); there are also specific 'Shamshan ghats' or 'cremation ghats' where bodies are cremated waterside, allowing ashes to be washed away by rivers, noted ghats are Nigambodh Ghat in Delhimarker by the Yamuna Rivermarker, and the Manikarnika Ghat at Varanasimarker.

Other uses

In Marathi, ghat is a term for a difficult passage over a mountain. One such ghat is the Bhor Ghatmarker connecting the towns Khopolimarker and Khandala, on NH 4 about 80 km north of Mumbaimarker.

In many cases, the term is used to refer to a mountain range itself, as in the Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats.


  1. Funeral pyre to be set up in Lahore - Daily Times Pakistan
  2. Navneet Marathi English Dictionary, published by Navneet Publications (India) Limited, Mumbai. 400028. [1]

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