The venerable and ancient city Varanasi is the religious centre
of the world for Hindus. It is a magnificent city, with myriad
attractions, both as an exalted place of pilgrimage and a microcosmic
centre of faith. Thousands of pilgrims visit the city from all
parts of India and from across the world. Varanasi is a unique
city where the past and present, eternity and continuity live
side by side.
The city rises from the high northern bank on the outside curve
of Ganga, the holiest of all Indian rivers, to form a magnificent
panorama of buildings in many varieties of Indian architecture.
The unique relationship between the sacred river and the city
is the essence of Varanasi - the land of sacred light. The Ganga
is believed to have flown from the heaven to wash away the worldly
sins of the humankind. Thus, to be in Varanasi is an out of
this world experience, and experience of self-discovery, a journey
through the present and the past in search of immortality.
Varansi - The Land of Holy River Ganga
The life and activities in the city revolves around the holy
river. Life on the banks of the Ganga begins before dawn when
thousands of pilgrims -men, women and children, come down to
the river to wait for the rising sun. Some come in groups, some
alone, all absorbed in their intense thoughts of salvation,
waiting for the moment when immersion in the sacred river will
cleanse them of their mundane sufferings and wash their sins
away. Gradually the sun rises, and the river mists slowly lift
to reveal the magnificent buildings that have a solemnity unmatched
by any city in the world.
Soon after the sunrise, the city's great amphitheatre of ghats
burst into activity. In the charged holistic atmosphere of the
morning venerable Brahmins (known as Pandas) recite passages
from sacred texts, priests dispense holy ashed to pilgrims to
mark their foreheads in veneration of the gods. Boatmen, flower
seller, shrill- voiced sellers selling sweetmenats and knick
knacks, sacred bulls and cows roam around.
Varansi - The City of Inspiration Varanasi
inspires one to reflect about life, to ponder about creation
and the insignificance of temporal wealth in the face of death.
Along the watre's edge, there are the burning ghats. The most
sacred one is Manikarnika, associated with Hoddess Parvati.
Lord Shiva's wife.
According to the historians, the city was founded some ten
centuries before the birth of Christ. Situated between the two
tirbutaries of the Gangas- Varuna to the north and Asi to the
south - it has attained immortality. The city is mentioned in
holy scriptures like ' Vamana Purana' , Buddhist texts and in
the epic 'Mahabharata'.
Location : National Highway No. 2 On Delhi-Calcutta
Route (Uttar Pradesh)
Also Known As : Kashi
Main Attraction : The Ghats, Benaras Hindu University
Best Season : September-March
Pilgrimage Attractions of Varansi
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is the most sacred shrine
in Varanasi. The original Temple was destoryed by the Mughal
Emperor, Aurangzeb, which was later, restored by Rani Ahilyabai
of Indore in the 18th century. The Gold plating of the dome
was done during the 19th century by maharaja Ranjit Singhj of
Punjab. Foreiners entry restricted.
Dedicated to Goddess Durga, consort of Lord Shiva, the temple
is worth visiting.
Bharat Mata Temple
This temple is dedicated to Mother India. Just one kmfrom the
Varanasi station. The temple is built in the Mahatma Gandhi
Kashi Vidyapeeth, which was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt.
Mahatma Gandhi inaugurated this temple in 1936 so that the citizens
could respect Mother India in statue form. The statute is built
in marble. The statue is a replica of undivided India in three
dimension, which has the mountains, plains, and oceans in right
Tulsi Manas Temple
This temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. The temple is built
in the place where Goswami Tulsidas composed the epic 'Ramacharitramanas'
which provides us with detailed description of the history and
deeds of Lord Rama. A philanthropist family constructed Tulsi
Manas Temple in 1964.
About 10 km away, This fabled place bears testimony to its great
past where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon to his disciples
expounding the principles of Buddhism. There are remains dating
as far back as the 3rd century B.C. when Emperor Ashoka founded
various institutions, stupas, monasteries and pillar edicts.
The runs at Sarnath and the art collection in the Archaeological
Museum are representations/ examples of the glorious past of
Sarnath. Archaeological remains are open from Sunrise to Sunset.
From their vantage point at the northern extremity of the Kaimur
hills, the impressive sandstone battlements of Chunar command
a meander in the Ganga before the river curves north to Varansi
22km. away. Evidence of the earliest occupation of the site
dates it to Vikaramaditya of Ujjain in 56 B.C. Chunar sandstone
has been used for centuries, most famously in Ashokan pillars
- highly polished for sheen and longevity- and is still quarried,
leaving the surrounding hills looking ravaged in places.
The almost impregnable citadel, protected by massive Mughal
ramparts, looks down onto the river, graced by a beautiful beach
of silver sand during the dry season; the views of the sunset
are stunning. Akbar stormed the fortress in 1575. And it was
presided over by Nawabs of Avadh until the British took it in
Jaunpur, 65 km northwest of Varanasi. And founded by Feroz Shah
in 1360 to guard the eastern flank of the Delhi Sultanate. The
river Gomti, which bisects Jaunpur, is spanned by the massive
sixteenth- century Akbari Bridge. Designed by an Afghan architect,
the stone structure's fifteen arches have withstood floods and
earthquakes; at its southern end, a large sculpture of a lion
tussling with and elephant doubles as a provincial milestone.
This 34 metre high Stupa dominates the site and is believed
to mark the spot where the Buddha preached his famous sermon.
In its present form it dates from around 500AD but was probably
rebuilt a number of times. The geometrical and floral patterns
on the Stupa are typical of the Gupta period, but excavations
have revealed brickwork form the Mauryan period around 200BC.
Originally there was a second Stupa, Dharmarajika Stupa, but
his was reduced to rubble by 19the- century treasure seekers.