LUCKNOW: With all the major rivers rising and flowing above the danger mark due to heavy rains lashing Uttar Pradesh, holy Ganga has inundated tha ghats of Varanasi.
The flood scenario is worse on Manikarinak Ghat where cremations are being delayed due to rising water levels. As the main cremation ghat is submerged, the last rites are being performed on the first floor — the upper ghat — and the wait could be anything between three to five hours.
According to the wood sellers, in due course, around 35-100 bodies arrive at Manikarnika on daily basis and 20 bodies are cremated in one stretch but due to floods, at present, only 10 are being cremated at the upper ghat. “Sometimes the wait is really long,” says Rajesh, a local wood seller.
Manikarnika has a mythological importance. As per the common belief, those cremated here attain salvation.
“Owing to its mythological importance, besides, Varanasi, bodies from other districts, neighbouring Bihar and sometimes far off regions are brought here for cremation,” says Pundit Ram Sanehi Chaubey, thepreist on Manikarnika.
“The upper ghat has only 10 platforms for pyres. While 10 pyres were lit at a time, 20 bodies were in the queue on Thursday. The bodies were arriving here continuously,” said Santosh Kumar, a wood seller.
“Such a wait seems unending and prolonged,” feels Naveen from Cholapur, a member of a funeral procession. However for Indrapal of Jaunpur it was a common problem due to rush of dead bodies during the floods. “Since there is constraint of space, we have to wait,” he adds.
Like them many others were found looking for a place to sit and wait.
The arrangements at the cremation ghat are looked after by the Varanasi Municipal Corporation. Additional municipal commissioner Ajay Kumar Singh said that he would look into the matter. “The dharmashala has been renovated for the convenience of people in funeral parties,” he said.