India is a country having rich diversity in flora and fauna but when we talk about spiritualism, peace and culture, first city that came in our mind is Varanasi.
Banaras, also known as Varanasi or Kashi is a city situated on the bank of river Ganges in Uttar Pradesh. It is one of the most famous and sacred cities of our country. The city of Lord Shiva, the city where people believe to attain instant moksha after their deaths. As it is said, Varanasi is the best place to end your life’s journey. According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that if a person dies here, he/she will be forever liberated from this endless cycle of birth and death. Indeed the city is incredible. I think, most of you guys know something about Banaras whether less or more as it is the most renowned city of the country. But after reading this blog you will definitely going to fall in love with the city and plan to visit there.
Hearing about Banaras is different from reading about it; but seeing Banaras is different from either hearing or reading it. Yes, Banaras or Varanasi is the place where you can feel a kind of spirituality around you. The ghats, temples, architecture, etc. everything is so unique and amazing. The people from not only India but from all over the world visit Varanasi to explore the city in search of true peace, calmness & spirituality. The city illumines the truth and reveals reality. Varanasi, literally is the heartthrob of the whole country. It is basically the city of ghats, lanes & temples having its own unique significance.
FAMOUS GHATS OF VARANASI
As we all know Varanasi is situated on the bank of river GANGA. It is the ghats of Varanasi where you can see the continuous cycle of life and death every day! The city is famous for its Ghats. There are almost 88 ghats in the city, the highest number of ghats in the whole country. All the ghats are used for bathing and various rites & rituals. Among all the ghats the two i.e. Harishchandra and Manikarnika are used for the cremation purposes. Here is the list of some of those ghats having their own religion and significance you must know about.
Dashashwamedh Ghat is the main ghat of Varanasi. Most importantly it is located near the Vishwanath Temple. This ghat also has a great significance. It is believed that Lord Brahma created it to welcome Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that Lord Brahma sacrificed ten horses during the Ashwamedha Yajana performed here. This ghat is also famous for GANGA AARTI which is performed every day in the evening by the group of local priests. It is the most admirable and glorious event that one should not miss it at any cost. The Aarti creates such a positive and spiritual environment with the chant that every single person in the crowd gets filled with positive vibes and spiritual thoughts. The whole Aarti takes about 45 minutes to get completed. After it, whole environment become very serene and peaceful. People start gathering even an hour before the beginning of the Aarti so that they can get a chance to experience such a magnificent ritual.
The most famous ghat of the city is Assi Ghat. On typical days, about 300 people visit this ghat every hour and on the day of festival or on any special occasion about 2500 people visit the ghat every hour. There are a lot of recreational activities to do such as riding a boat, enjoying the daily talent show in the evening, etc. Subah-e-Banaras is famous among all of them.
This ghat of Varanasi has a great historic significance. The ghat is named after Maharani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi. It is used for cremation purpose and it is believed that the person who is cremated here attains Moksha. There is a well here at this ghat and people call it Manikarnika Kund believing that this is built by Lord Vishnu.
This is also one of the ancient ghats of Varanasi. It is particularly used for cremation like Manikarnika ghat with the belief that being cremated here leads a person to attain salvation. It is named after the mythological king Harishchandra who sacrificed everything for the sake of truth.
All the ghats of Varanasi are spectacular and have great importance but these three are the most famous ghats of the city.
FAMOUS TEMPLES OF VARANASI
Along with ghats Banaras/Varanasi has the largest collection of temples. There are many temples in the city but here is the list of some best temples that will enchant you beyond measure.
KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous temples in Varanasi. The temple is situated on the bank of holy River Ganga. The most important fact about this temple is that it has been destructed and reconstructed many times. This temple is the main attraction of all the devotees. It is believed that seeing the gold dome if someone makes a wish, the wish gets fulfilled by Lord Shiva.
KAAL BHAIRAV TEMPLE
This is one of the oldest temple of the city. It was built in 17th century. The temple is regarded as the guardian angel of the city. In the temple you will find the deity of a man having a garland of human skulls.
This temple was built in the honor of Goddess Durga. The temple is right next to a rectangular pond(Kund) and so the name of the temple is Durga Kund Temple. It is believed that idol in the temple is not formed by the man it is formed itself in the temple complex. The architecture of the temple is unique and amazing. One should not skip this temple during his/her visit.
SANKAT MOCHAN TEMPLE
The temple was constructed by the famous poet TULSIDAS in the beginning of 16th century. It is believed that all the prayers offered here are surely answered by the Lord Hanumana. People mostly prefer to visit the temple on Tuesday and Saturday.
TULSI MANAS MANDIR
This is also one of the most famous temple of Varanasi. Constructed in 1964 by Sureka family of Benaras, the temple is made of marble having the idols of the Lord Rama, Mother Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman. The walls of the temples have various scenes depicted from Tulsidas’s epic Ramcharitmanasa.
This is a renowned Buddhist pilgrimage where Lord Buddha preached for the first time after gaining enlightenment. Kings like Ashoka followed Buddhism built a lot of stupas and structures here that are focused on Buddhism. It is also famous for the Ashoka pillar which is now the country’s national emblem. Sarnath is not only a buddhist pilgrimage but also for Jains.
The temples are the most important heritage of the city that enhances the beauty and spirituality of Varanasi.
THE SILK SHOPPING OF VARANASI
Varanasi is best known for its Banarasi Silk also. It is a dream of every single woman to have a Banarasi Silk collection in her wardrobe. Every bride wants to shop from Varanasi for her wedding. Brides from all over the world arrive here for the Banarasi collection. Every ritual seems incomplete without wearing a Banarasi Silk sari. There are many places in the Varanasi where you can find the best Banarasi collection from saris, dupattas, dress materials etc. to everything that a woman desires for. Trust me you can’t stop yourself to shop from Varanasi especially the silk collection. The collection is really very amazing here. Some places which are famous for the silk collection in Varanasi are the Peelikothi area of the city, the whole sale shops in Thateri bazar, Vishwanath gali, Madanpura, etc. where you can get the best material with best prices. You should not forget to shop from the Varanasi at any cost because your closet would be incomplete without any Banarasi silk collection.
FOOD OF VARANASI
Varanasi is famous for its sweets and street food. The tea, coffee, Lassi, Chaat, Bati-Chokha and what’s not, everything is so delicious and amazing in the city. No one can deny this fact that the food and sweets are the best here. Every single person will surely become a fan of the food after eating it here at once. There are some famous places that one should not miss during his trip to Varanasi such as Kachoris of Kachori Gali, Lassi of Vishwanath Gali etc. there are too many that we can’t even count.
EDUCATION IN VARANASI
Varanasi has been the centre of education in India also attracting the students from not only India but from all over the World. It has one of the best universities of the whole world i.e. Banaras Hindu University (BHU) founded by Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya. There are many other universities in the city too, such as Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, Sampurnanand Sanskrit University etc. Moreover, various engineering colleges also have been established in the outskirts of the city. The city has now become a hub of education with various schools, colleges and coaching centres.
PLACES TO VISIT IN VARANASI
Apart from Ghats and Temples, city has many more places to visit. There are many museums and forts to visit in the city such as Ramnagar fort, Archaeological museum etc. Also, there are many waterparks, malls, shopping complexes, theatres etc. where you can visit for your recreation.
So, I hope that you all enjoyed reading the blog and now you all want to visit the city if you haven’t visited it yet or visit there again if already visited. So don’t forget to share your experience of Varanasi trip with us. Waiting for your comments.
- Penned by: Mansi Sethi