In Varanasi, there are 88 Ghats and above on the banks of river Ganga. All these ghats are sacred. The Manikarnika ghat is most sacred of all ghats. Taking bath in this Ghat will surely wipe out all your sins, and one will get Mukti. That means no Punarjanma. There is a legend behind the holy Manikarnika Ghat.
Before creation, there is nothing except water everywhere. On the water, there was a divine light (Kanti Punj) floating on the water. Supreme God was in the form of light. He intended to become many. He needs assistance to become many, i.e., for creation. He first created Maya from him. He called it ‘Prakruti’. He also created a comfortable and beautiful garden (Vanam) and there they lived happily enjoying their creation. That garden is called ‘Aananda Kaanan’. Since they never want to leave the place even in annihilation (Pralay), it is called ‘Avimukta Kshetram’. Later it is called Kaasi, spread in the Pancha Krosa area. Kasi is the first kshetra in the universe created by God to live permanently. Kaasi is a paradise for Eshwara (Lord Vishwanatha ). Parvati (Annapurna) is the Maya Shakti. Kasi cannot be destroyed even in Maha Pralaya Kaal. Lord Vishwanath will protect it by lifting that city on the tip of his Trident.
Even though Lord was living happily with his consort in the Aananda Kaanan, some unhappiness crept into his mind. Lord felt why it has happened. Unhappiness started working in His mind. He started looking into the body of Maha Maya affectionately. From the body of Maha Maya, there emerged a beautiful person called ”Achyuta”. Lord called him Vishnu and told him four Vedas, those will come out from his breath and you should rule this earth according to principles of Vedas. As per the orders of Lord Eswara, he started meditating on Vedas. He dug a big pond with his Sudarshana Chakra and collected his sweat into the pond that came out from his body at the time of doing Tapasya. Lord Eswara pleased with his Tapasya and appeared before him. Lord Vishnu showed the pond to Lord Eswara and said that he has dug the pond with his chakra and said that those who take bath in it will be freed from sins and get salvation. Lord Eswara felt so happy and shook his head with joy. As a result, his earring fell in the pond. Lord Eswara named it ”Manikarnika” and blessed Vishnu. From then onwards, the pond will become famous as ”Manikarnika”.
The pond Manikarnika is called as ”Aadi Puskarini”. It is so pious, so sacred and so powerful. Those who hear about it, see it, salute it, bath in it, chant it, meditate on it, will become free from all his sins i.e., from Pancha Maha patakas, and get salvation, as blessed by the two Lords. Exactly at the time of 12 noon Lords Viswanath, Vishnu, Brahma, Dunti Vinayaka, Maa Parvati, and many other Gods will take bath in Manikarnika Teerth. Giant serpents like Vasuki and Ananta will also take bath in that Teerth at 12 noon. So for those who take bath at that time in this holy Teerth will be relieved from all his sins. But one should take care that they should not use soaps, shampoos, oils, etc., and wash clothes in that Teerth at the time of taking bath.
It is also considered and so sacred to chant the name of Manikarnika or meditate on it in Bramha muhurta will be relieved from all sins. It is also considered that taking bath in Manikarnika is equal to taking bath in all other Teerthas of river Ganga. Every day in the morning Manikarnika Teerth will take the form of a beautiful girl of 12 years and go to Lord Viswanath temple to offer prayers to Him. Lord Bindu Madhava will also like this Teerth very much. There are many other Teerthas nearby Manikarnika ghat like Pasupatha, Rudra, Skanda, Dunti, Vishwa, Moksha, Avimukteswara, and Bhavani Sankara, etc., which are also sacred.
It is written in scriptures that for those pious souls at the time of their death, Lord Shiva will chant Taraka Mantra in the right ear and give Moksha to them. Maa Parvati and Lord Ganesha will also assist Lord Siva to get salvation to the departed soul. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has also seen this scene with his naked eye. That is why many dead bodies will be cremated in the Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi. The most important kriyas that one should invariably do in Manikarnika Teerth are – Daan, Japa, Yaagam, Pitru Shraddha, Tapam, Prarthana will get one crore times more results than in any other place done by a person. Those who want to get salvation should do the Japa in Bramha muhurta every day without fail. The sacred mantra is –
To fulfill the Kasi Yatra successfully, one should invariably visit and take a bath at Manikarnika Teerth with sankalpam. Lord Viswanath and Maa Annapurna may bless all.