« Him whose three places that are filled with sweetness, imperishable joy as it may list them, Who verily alone upholds the threefold, the earth, the heaven, and all living creatures.
May I attain to His well-loved mansion where men devoted to the Gods are happy.
For there springs, close akin to the Wide-Strider, the well of meath in Vishnu’s highest footstep. »
(From the Rig-veda – 1.154.1-5)
This man was stepping down Nandeshwar Ghat towards the holy waters of the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
This picture is a kind of metaphor in order to emphasize that the area along the ghats is eulogised as Vishnu’s body.
Varanasi has 98 sacred water fronts, which are believed to form the cosmic frame linking 14 bhavana kosas of the human body.
Among 84 ghats, 5 are considered to be supremely auspicious.
These are Asi, Dashashwamedha, Manikarnika, Panchganga and Adikeshava.
These are the Panchathirthas, and are believed to be symbols of the cosmic body of Lord Vishnu; Asi at the head, Dashashwamedha at the chest, Manikarnika at the navel, Panchganga at the thighs and Adikeshava at the feet.
Manikarnika is considered to be at the center of the 5 thirthas, the navel of the universe from which blooms life.