At the beginning of the devotional journeys of Kabir Saheb, one
place is known as the most remarkable. The Panch Ganga Ghat on
the shores of the Ganga in Varanasi is known as the turning
point in Indian spiritual history. It was on the steps of this
Ghat that Swami Ramanand initiated Kabir Saheb. The Panch Ganga
Ghat therefore is linked with Kabir Saheb.
Each Ghat in Varanasi has its own story and has its roots in
The Panch Ganga Ghat also has it distinctive story but as the
factual remanent of the encounter of Kabir Saheb with Swami
Ramanand it is the most valuable.
It is a fact that when Kabir Saheb initially pleaded to Swami
Ramanand to accept him as a student, the Swami rejected him.
Swami Ramanand was not very fond of initiating a Muslim weaver
as his student.
Kabir Saheb knew all about the Swami and he also knew that Swami
took his daily bath in the Ganga. Each day very early in the
morning Swami used the steps of the Panch Ganga Ghat to get to
the Ganga. At the time of his baths it was still dark and Kabir
Saheb used the twilight in his benefit. One day at 4 am when
Swami walked down the steps of the Panch Ganga Ghat, Kabir Saheb
in a incomparable way got the Swami to recite the Ram Naam Manta
The memorable steps of the Panch Ganga Ghat have witnessed the
accedence of the Guru, the determination and greatness of the
student in its most beautiful aspect.
No remains of the Ashram of Swami Ramanand can be found. During
the Muslim ruling of India, the entire Ashram was destroyed. It
is unclear where the Ashram stood. Some scholars think that the
ashram might have been positioned someplace between
Visheshvarganj and Maidaigin.
It is a legitimate fact that the ashram stood at certain
distance of the Panch Ganga Ghat because of the mention of a
passage in Bhaktamaal. It is written that Swami used to rush to
the steps of the Pancg Ganga Ghat. It seems clear that for
Swami, the steps were no more than a stairway to get to the
Ganga. In historic perspective however the place is of utmost
importance and reflects a landmark in the Kabir pilgrimage.
It would be of great value if the Kabirpanthi community made
effort to preserve the place. Some kind of historic monument or
a memorial stone marking the footprints of Kabir Saheb could
have been erected. It is very sad indeed that no such
commemorative work is ever established.
It is both a great pity and a very shameful fact that the very
spot where the spiritual journey of Kabir Saheb began, this true
place of worship, is known to be an ordinary step to the Panch