Travel-India

Varanasi

Situated on the banks of the holy river Ganges, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi is one of the oldest cities in India.

Said to have been founded by none other than Lord Shiva himself, Varanasi is believed to be resting on Shiva’s trident and is considered to be an eternal pilgrim destination for Hindus.

A dip here in the holy water of Ganges is said to wash away all the past sins and cleanse the souls of the devotees. Dotted by numerous temples, ashrams and ghats, today Varanasi is very crowded but a colourful and charismatic city flocked by millions of pilgrims every year.

Varanasi is one city where death is celebrated and dead bodies are worshipped. And it is so as it is believed that one who dies here gains salvation. Many elderly or diseased people come here with the same belief hoping to take their last breath in this holy city.

Varanasi since long has been associated with spiritualism and Hindu philosophy. Home to the site of the holy shrine of Lord Kashi Vishwanath, a form of Lord Shiva, and revered as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, Varanasi is popularly known as ‘City of Light’.

 

In Hindu philosophy, light has a deeper meaning. It symbolizes ‘wisdom’ which destroys the darkness of ignorance. Sin and evil are considered to be the acts of ignorance and when wisdom is acquired, evils disappear. Varanasi in its own subtle way reminds of and emphasizes on the same.

Earlier known as Benaras and Kashi, the sacred city has been mentioned in various holy scriptures like ‘Vaman-Purana’, the grand epic of Mahabharata and even Buddhist texts.

With Sarnath, the place where Buddha gave his first sermon after enlightenment, only 10 km away, Varanasi has always been associated with renaissance. In the history of Varanasi, Buddhism and Jainism besides Hinduism also figure significantly, the imprints of which can be found in the city in the form of Buddhist stupas and Jain temples.

While, during the Buddhist era it was the capital of the Kingdom of Kashi, the Jains hold it sacred as it’s believed to be the birthplace of Parsvanath, the 23rd Tirthankara.

Varanasi has not only been associated with promotion of spiritualism, mysticism, yoga, Sanskrit and Hindu Philosophy, but also has been the cultural capital of India for a long time. An important centre for trade and commerce, Varanasi has also been a centre of learning for ages, a tradition carried forward by Benaras Hindu University, the largest University in Asia.

Things to Do in Varanasi

Visit Temples

Take a dip in Ganga

Enjoy a boat ride from Dashwamedha Ghat to Manikarnika Ghat

 

Varanasi Fast Facts

Best Time to Visit Varanasi: Oct to Mar (Scorching hot in summers and chilly in winters)

Nearest Airport: Babatpur/Varanasi Airport (25 Km)

Nearest Railway Station: Varanasi Station and Mughal Sarai junction

 

Around Varanasi

Sarnath (10km)

 

 

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