Sightseeing in Varanasi
Tulsi Manas Temple -|- Durga Temple -|-Vishwanath Temple -|- Ram NagarFort & Museum -|- Bharat MataTemple -|- Golden Temple -|-Sarnath -|- Chunar Fort -|- Tulsi Ghat -|- Dandi Ghat -|- Kedar Ghat -|- Mansarover Ghat -|- Dasaswamedh Ghat -|- Manikarnika Ghat -|- Dattatreya Ghat -|- Panchaganga Ghat -|- Manmandir Ghat -|- Harishehendra Ghat -|- Assi Ghat -|- Trilochan Ghat -|- Bachraj Ghat
Varanasi is located in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and extends latitude 25°20' N and longitude 83°00' E. Sandwiched between the rivers Varuna and Ashi as they join the Ganges, Varanasi takes its name from its location. It is also called Kashi, the city of light, but the British, in an endeavor to simplify matters, had coined their own name for the place-Benaras.
For a relatively short period, while under Mughal rule, Varanasi was also known as Muhammadabad. Modern-day Varanasi is situated along the west bank of the Ganges (also Ganga) and extends into a myriad collection of narrow lanes that form an integral part of it. The city winds itself around these vines of communication, stretching from one ghat to the other.
Almost midway in its long journey from the slopes of the mighty Himalayas to the inflamed shore of Bay of Bengal, the muddy waters of the Ganges flow by a city that is five centuries older than Christ. The city finds mention in the great epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. It was already an old city when Rome was founded, and was a flourishing center of trade when Buddha came to Sarnath, some 10 km away, to preach his first sermon in 500 BC. It is a city of temples and for more than 2,500 years, it has attracted pilgrims from near and far.
According to Hindu belief, Benaras or Varanasi as it is known, is the cosmic center of the Universe. The renowned American novelist Mark Twain once wrote, "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together." Down the ages, Varanasi has stood as a symbol of Hindu renaissance. Swathed in an aura of history, religion, and tradition, Varanasi preserved the rituals and traditions of Hindu philosophy. From a time stretching beyond human memory, pilgrims from distant lands have come to Varanasi in search of divine blessings.
Major Attractions of Varanasi
Ghats Of Varanasi
The numerous ghats along the bank of the Ganges present a varied scene from dawn to dusk. A ghat is a series of well-paved steps that lead to the water. A ghat in Varanasi usually has small temples built into its side, while the larger structures, housing the powerful gods and goddesses from the Hindu pantheon, form a formidable backdrop to the serene beauty of the meandering river.
These ghats numbering more than a hundred, with their entourage of temples, form the axis on which the city developed. For centuries, the Hindus considered it very auspicious to bathe at the ghats of Varanasi. Everyday at dawn thousands of pilgrims can be seen offering salutations to the Sun God in waist-deep water, secure in their conviction that the muddy waters of the Ganges will wash away all the accumulated sins of their life. The oil lamps (diyas) and flowers set afloat on the river at dusk make a fascinating sight.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is popularly known as the golden Temple due the Gold plating done on its 15.5 meter high spire. One tonne of gold donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh has been used in the gold plating of the spire. The temple was destroyed in the various invasions and was rebuilt in 1776 by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore.
Bharat Kala Museum
The Kashi Hindu university has a museum which has a very rich collection of precious and rare historical artifacts, statues, pictures, paintings and manuscripts. This small but very well maintained museum gives an over view of the ancient city of Varanasi. Entry in the museum is free but check out the timings.