Ghats

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 (particularly in the holy city of Varanasi) where stairs exist to access the Ganges River. 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. [ [http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_6-1-2005_pg7_23 Funeral pyre to be set up in Lahore - Daily Times Pakistan] ] The numerous significant ghats along the Ganges are known generally as the 'Varanasi ghats' and the 'ghats of the Ganges'. In Madhya Pradesh in western India there are further significant ghats along the Narmada River.

Geographic Ghats

When capitalized the term Ghats is used in reference to mountain ranges; thus the proper nouns Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats refer to two coastal ranges which converge in southern India, separated by the Deccan Plateau. Writers may also refer to a "Ganges River Ghat" running along the southern side of that same river and traversing eastern India towards Bangladesh. As Hindus recognize this river as Ganga, a goddess manifestation of the Mother, her 'steps' can be said to be metaphorical, poetic elevations of the goddess body.

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ghats — two lines of mountains in South India. The Western Ghats run along the coast of the Arabian Sea, and the Eastern Ghats run along the Bay of Bengal …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Ghats — [gôts, gäts] two mountain ranges (Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats) forming the east & west edges of the Deccan Plateau, India: highest peak, 8,841 ft (2,695 m) …   English World dictionary

  • Ghats — (»Treppe«), in der Hindostanisprache Ufertreppe an einem Fluß, stufenweise aufsteigender Bergpfad, bezeichnet insbes. die längs der Ost und Westküste Vorderindiens hinziehenden Gebirgswälle, die das innere Hochland (Dekkan) umschließen und im S.… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Ghâts — ou Ghâtes chaînes côtières de l Inde, rebords occid. (les plus élevés: 2 695 m) et orient. du Dekkan …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ghats — Ghats,   Bezeichnung für die Küstengebirge der Halbinsel Vorderindien: die Ostghats und die Westghats …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Ghats — /gawts, gots/, n. (used with a sing. v.) 1. See Eastern Ghats. 2. See Western Ghats. * * * ▪ mountain ranges, India       two mountain ranges forming the eastern and western edges, respectively, of the Deccan plateau of peninsular India. The two… …   Universalium

  • Ghats — /gawts, gots/, n. (used with a sing. v.) 1. See Eastern Ghats. 2. See Western Ghats. * * * [gôts] two mountain ranges in central and southern India. Known as the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats, they run parallel to the coast on either side… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ghats — Hindus bei der rituellen Waschung im Ganges in Varanasi Ghat (Hindi, m., घाट, ghāṭ) nennt man in Indien eine zu einem Gewässer hinunter führende Treppe. Neben vielfachen Verwendungsmöglichkeiten sind sie häufig wichtige Badestellen für rituelle… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ghats — Ghât Ghâts sur les rives du Gange à Vârânasî Le mot ghât marches désigne en Inde les marches qui recouvrent les rives des cours d eau ou les berges des bassins ou tanks et permettent de descendre au contact de l eau. Par extension, ghât est aussi …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ghats — geographical name see Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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