Lalita Ghat is a ghat with a difference. Unlike other ghats in Varanasi which were built by Indian rulers, this one was built by Rana Bahadur Shah, King of Nepal, in the 19th century. The ghat is home to two temples, Nepali Mandir and Lalita Gauri Mandir. Of these, the Nepali Mandir is a major tourist attraction in Varanasi because not only is it one of the oldest temples but also, the wood with which it is constructed is believed to be termite free.
The ghat is named after Goddess Lalita, who is a part of a group of ten goddesses in Hinduism called Dasha-Mahavidyas or Mahavidyas. She is also considered to be the highest form of Goddess Adi Shakti. The history of the ghat is as fascinating as the architecture of the temple itself.
When Rana Bahadur Shah, the King of Nepal, arrived in Varanasi as part of his exile around the early 19th century, he decided to construct a temple which would bear a striking resemblance to the famous Pashupatinath Mandir in Nepal. Although the construction of the temple began in full earnest, he returned to Nepal in the middle of it. It was his son, Girvan Yuddha Bikram Shah Deva who took it upon himself to complete its construction, along with a dharamshala and Lalita Ghat. It is believed that the construction of the entire temple complex, including the ghat, took more than 20 years.
Lalita Ghat holds a special religious significance in the minds of the devotees. It is believed that performing rituals here leads one to attain prosperity and happiness, as it is blessed by Goddess Lalita, the highest form of Adi Shakti. Visitors coming to the ghat can enjoy a boat ride, soak in the surroundings and enjoy photography. Exploring the Nepali Temple can also be a great experience, not just because of its unique architecture, but also for its sculptures which bear a stark resemblance to those in Khajuraho.
Varanasi is one of the holiest cities of India, and also the oldest. It is dotted with hundreds of temples, ghats and other places which make for some great exploration and sightseeing. There are some of the popular tourist attractions which lie in close proximity to Lalita Ghat.