Varanasi - The Holy City of Hindus
cultural capital of India, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh is a major
center for spiritualism, mysticism, Hinduism and Indian philosophy.
Also known as Benares and Kashi, Varanasi is one of the oldest
surviving cities worldwide and an important pilgrimage destination
not only for Hindus, but for Buddhists and Jains as well. Learn more
about Varanasi in touristplacesinindia.com before you plan to travel
Home to numerous Hindu temples, ashrams and ghats, which are among
the main attractions for visitors, Varanasi also boasts of several
Buddhist Stupas and Jain temples. A melting pot
civilization, Varanasi receives hordes of pilgrims and devotees
every year from all corners of the world, who are attracted by the
religious places and other tourist attractions of the town.
Since time immemorial, Varanasi has continued to be an important
cultural and religious centre in northern India. Besides, the city
is also famous for the Benares Gharana (school) of Indian classical
music developed here. Another prominent feature about Varanasi is
that the town houses the distinguished Banaras Hindu University. At
various points of time in history, Varanasi served home to many an
eminent Indian philosopher, poet, writer, and musician. The local
people of Varanasi are famous as advocates of literature, music,
Vedic philosophy, arts, crafts and architecture.
Attractions in Varanasi
River Ganga or the Ganges is a major river of the Indian
subcontinent, associated in myth and reality with the land and
people of India as well as neighboring countries like Bangladesh. In
Hinduism, the river Ganga is personified as Goddess and holds an
important place in the Hindu religion. In Hindu mythology, it is
believed that bathing in the river Ganga causes the remission of
sins and facilitates the attainment of salvation or nirvana. This
deep-rooted truth is proved by the fact that people travel from
distant places to immerse the ashes of their kin in the waters of
the Ganga at Varanasi or other places located on the banks of this
holy river. Some of these sacred places, located on the Ganga, are
Varanasi, Haridwar and Prayag (Allahabad).
Varanasi or Kashi is older than traditions. Varanasi presents a
unique combination of physical, metaphysical and supernatural
elements. According to the Hindu mythology, Varanasi liberates soul
from human body to the ultimate. It is the Ganga Ghats of Varanasi
that complement the concept of divinity. Ghats of Ganga are perhaps
the holiest spots of Varanasi. The Ganga Ghats at
Varanasi are full
of pilgrims who flock to the place to take a dip in the holy Ganges,
which is believed to absolve one from all sins.
There are number of temples on the bank of the Ganga river in
Varanasi. It is believed that people are cleansed physically,
mentally and spiritually at Ganga Ghats. It is at the Ganga Ghats
where we see life and death together. For thousands of years people
have been thronging these Ghats to offer their morning prayers to
the rising sun. There are more than 100 ghats along side Ganga in
Varanasi. Some of the prominent and popular Ghats at Varanasi are
the Dasaswamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Harischandra Ghat, Kabir
Ghat and Assi Ghat.
Situated at the confluence of Ganga and Asi rivers, Assi Ghat is the
southernmost Ghat in Varanasi, where pilgrims bathe before paying
their homage to Lord Shiva in the form of huge lingam situated under
a peepal tree. Assi Ghat also constitutes the southern end of
conventional city. Another lingam worshipped here is the
Asisangameshwar lingam representing the lord of confluence of the
Asi, enshrined in a small marble temple near the Assi Ghat. It was
at the Assi Ghat where the famous Indian poet saint, Tulsi Das had
written the much-celebrated Ramcharitmanas.
Dasaswamedh Ghat is one of the most important Ghats of Varanasi.
Dasaswamedh literally means the Ghat (river front) of ten sacrificed
horses. According to legends ten horses were sacrificed by Lord
Brahma to allow Lord Shiva to return from a period of banishment. In
spite of the fact that Dasaswamedh is one of the oldest Ghats of
Varanasi, dating back to many thousand years, the Ghat has remained
unspoilt and clean.
Harish Chandra Ghat
Harish Chandra Ghat is one of the oldest Ghats of Varanasi. Harish
Chandra Ghat is name after a mythological King Harish Chandra, who
once worked at the cremation ground here for the perseverance of
truth and charity. It is believed that the Gods rewarded him for his
resolve, charity and truthfulness and restored his lost throne and
his dead son to him. Harish Chandra Ghat is one of the two cremation
Ghats (the other being Manikarnika Ghat) and is some times referred
as Adi Manikarnika (the original creation ground). Hindus from
distant places bring the dead bodies of their near and dear ones to
the Harish Chandra Ghat for cremation. In Hindu mythology it is
believed that if a person is cremated at the Harish Chandra Ghat,
that person gets salvation or "moksha". The Harish Chandra Ghat was
somewhat modernized in late 1980's, when an electric crematorium was
Manikarnika Ghat is the main cremation Ghat of Varanasi. Manikarnika
Ghat is one of the oldest and most sacred Ghats in Benaras.
According to the Hindu mythology, being burned here provides an
instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and rebirths.
Lying at the center of the five tirthas, Manikarnika Ghat symbolizes
both creation and destruction. At Manikarnika Ghat, the mortal
remains are consigned to flames with the prayers that the souls rest
in eternal peace. There is a sacred well at the Manikarnika Ghat,
called the Manikarnika Kund. Manikarnika Kund is said to be dug by
Lord Vishnu at the time of creation while the hot ashes of the burnt
bodies makes one remember the inevitable destruction of everything
in the world.
Tulsi Ghat is another important Ghat of Varanasi. Tulsi Ghat is
named after the great Hindu poet of the 16th century, Tulsidas.
Tulsi Ghat is an important window into the Hindu mythology. Tulsi
Das composed the great Indian epic, Ramcharitmanas at Varanasi.
According to mythology, when Tulsi's manuscript fell into the River
Ganga it did not sink and kept floating instead. It is also believed
that the Ramlila (story of Lord Rama's life) was staged here for the
first time. Perhaps, to commemorate this a temple of Lord Ram was
built on the Tulsi Ghat. Many of the relics of Tulsi Das are
preserved at the Tulsi Ghat. The house in which Tulsidas died has
been preserved and his samadhi, wooden clogs, pillow and the idol of
Hanuman, which Tulsi worshipped, are all still intact here.
The Ramnagar fort lies about 14 km. from Varanasi and is situated on
the opposite bank of river Ganga. It is the ancestral home of the
Maharaja of Banaras. Maharaja Balwant Singh built this fort-palace
in the eighteenth century. The fort is built in red sandstone. The
Ramnagar fort has a temple and a museum within the grounds and the
temple is dedicated to Ved Vyasa, who wrote Mahabharata, the great
Indian epic. Legends have it that Ved Vyasa stayed here for a brief
Jantar Mantar is an observatory, built by Jai Singh, the Maharaja of
Jaipur in the year 1737. Jai Singh was a great admirer of science
and technology and he was particularly passionate about astronomy.
Before the commencement of construction (of observatories) he sent
scholars abroad to study the foreign observatories. The emissaries
returned with many manuals on astronomy. The Jantar Mantar at
Varanasi was built in line with Delhi, Mathura, Ujjain and Jaipur
How to reach there...
is well connected by air with all major cities of India. Varanasi is
also having a major railway station which is well connected with all
major cities of India. It also has a good network of roads attached
with all major cities.
Hotels in Varanasi
Mahal - Symbol of Love
Mahal is regarded as the most perfect jewel of Muslim art in India.
This huge mausoleum mosque was built by Shah Jahan, the fifth Muslim
Mogul emperor, in memory of his beloved wife, a Persian princess
born as Arjuman Bano Begum but known as Mumtaz Mahal.
Pushkar Fair begins on Kartik Shukla Ekadashi, which falls in the
month of October-November and goes on for five long days till Kartik
Purnima. The fair is synonymous to a cattle fair.
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