Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A broad flight of steps leading down to the bank of a river in India, used especially by bathers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A descending path or stairway to a river; a ford or landing-place.
  • n. A mountain range.
  • n. A mountain pass.
  • n. A burning-ghat.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A pass through a mountain.
  • n. A range of mountains.
  • n. Stairs descending to a river; a landing place; a wharf.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In India, a pass of descent from a mountain; a mountain-pass; hence, a range or chain of hills or mountains.
  • n. In India, a path of descent, landing-place, or stairway to a river, generally having at the summit a temple, pagoda, or place of rest and recreation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. stairway in India leading down to a landing on the water

Etymologies

Hindi ghāt, from Sanskrit ghaṭṭaḥ, probably of Dravidian origin; akin to Telugu kaṭṭu, gaṭṭu, dam, embankment.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Hindi घाट (ghāṭ, "pier"), from Sanskrit घट्ट (ghaṭṭa, "a landing place, steps on the side of a river leading to the waters"), probably of Dravidian origin; akin to Telugu కట్ట (kaṭṭa, "dam, embankment"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Marched down to the ghat, which is generally speaking narrow and very strong, opening out here and there, into easier parts extending down the stream all the way; this stream loses itself suddenly, but after a little distance it is replaced by another from the right, where ravines enter: here the pass is well adapted for pillage, elsewhere the sides are so steep, that robbers could not dispose of their plunder.

    Journals of Travels in Assam, Burma, Bhootan, Afghanistan and the Neighbouring Countries

  • -- Marched ten miles: the road from the camp extended up an acclivity, the ground becoming more broken than usual to the mouth of the ghat, which is four miles distant; thence up to the ghat which resembles much the Bolan Pass, it extends up an inclined plane over a shingly road.

    Journals of Travels in Assam, Burma, Bhootan, Afghanistan and the Neighbouring Countries

  • India's frontier and "the snows," is the ghat (a ghat is a large stone stairway descending to the river), where the good Hindu gives his dead to the flames, and the muddy inlet from the Ganges where this occurs is dedicated to Vishnu, "the sleeper on the waters," a name singularly appropriate to a place where the ashes of the dead are consigned to the bosom of "Mother Ganga."

    East of Suez Ceylon, India, China and Japan

  • This word ghat often meets the reader of books on India.

    Life and Work in Benares and Kumaon, 1839-1877

  • The ghat is the exact location where the river is said to leave the Himalayan mountains and start its long journey across the plains of northern India before flowing into the Bay of Bengal.

    The Sydney Morning Herald News Headlines

  • The ghat is a 15-minute walk from the temple complex.

    The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) - Frontpage

  • The "ghat" (bathing steps) in the centre of Haridwar where the naga sadhus will bathe is the central focus of the festival, attracting vast numbers of devotees who strip to their underclothes before entering the water.

    Latest News - Yahoo!7 News

  • A portion of the retaining wall on the first 'ghat' at Kerameri caved in and fell on the second turning about a month ago.

    The Hindu - Front Page

  • It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion at around 6:30pm 1300 GMT at a ritual bathing "ghat" on the banks of the Ganges river, which is holy to Hindus, in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

    Yahoo! News: Business - Opinion

  • It was not immediately clear what caused the blast at around 6:30pm 0000 AEDT at a ritual bathing "ghat" on the banks of the holy river Ganges in the northern state of Uttar

    NEWS.com.au | Top Stories

Comments

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  • "Normally corpses there were cremated in burning ghats, level spaces at the top of the stepped riverbank, and the ashes given to the river. The supply of firewood was quickly exhausted, making cremation impossible...."
    —John M. Barry, The Great Influenza (NY: Penguin Books, 2004), 365

    February 17, 2009