The Holy City of – Varanasi

Written by Shirshendu Sarkar

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The Holy City of Varanasi

The first thing that comes to mind on mention of Varanasi is the sacred Ganges (Ganga) and Lord Shiva. Have you been to Holi city of Varanasi? If not then you should visit at least once in your life and if you have already visited then you should visit again to experience the serenity and purity of the city.

Varanasi, also known as the holy city of Kashi and Benaras is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and is counted as the spiritual capital of India.

Now coming to its location- Varanasi is located in the south-eastern part of Uttar Pradesh along the left bank of the Ganges (Ganga)River. It is said to have the finest river frontage in India shops with miles and miles of extending Ganges and Ghats along the bank of the river, array of shrines, temples, and palaces rises in tiers from the water edge. For centuries history and myths of this sacred place have attracted pilgrims and tourists all over the world.

A dwelling place of several ancient domes, myths, ashrams, priests, narrow lanes with filled with Benarasi saris, Varanasi or Benaras represents the fascinating India of your dreams. Just taking a walk along the busy alleyways or watching the sunrise and sunset from a boat in the middle of the Ganga can turn this place as a favorite sanctuary of yours.

Varanasi is said to be the place where intimate rituals of life and death takes place simultaneously on the ghats along the sacred Ganga. It is still believed that if someone dies in Varanasi they attain salvation and are freed from the cycle of life and death.

The person who have taken bath in the holy water of the Ganga once in his /her life is said to be free of all his/her sins.

Varanasi is considered as  the centre of Buddhist learning as well. Lord Buddha is said to have preached his first sermon after enlightenment in Sarnath, about 10km from Varanasi.

For a full fledged tour of Varanasi you need to have the list of all the places you can’t miss during your tour. Let us help you a bit with it.

  • The very first place to visit is the Shri Kashi Viswanath Temple, a huge architectural excellence bearing the “Shiva Linga”. The temple earned the title of “ The Golden Temple” for its striking spire-plated in some 800 kg of pure gold
  • Next comes the famous Ghats of Varanasi, each of which has their own stories to tell.
  • Dasaswamedh Ghat, known for boat operators who can give you a long tour along the Ganga in their beautiful and colorful boats and ‘Sadhus’. Not to miss the holy Ganga Aarti which takes place every evening for at least 30-45 min and is a sight to behold. Just a small suggestion, if you want to beat the huge crowd which gather every evening to witness the aarti, then don’t forget to get to the ghat a couple of hours early and secure a great spot to enjoy the ceremony.
  • Assi Ghat, having the holy Shiv Linga beneath a sacred fig tree
  • Manikarnika Ghat, the holy place for cremation. It is believed that cremation in the Manikarnika Ghat leads to attainment of Moksh by the departed soul
  • Darbhanga Ghat
  • Shivala Ghat and many more having their different significances
  • Dhamek Stupa in the village of Sarnath where Lord Buddha preached his first sermone and the ‘eight fold path’ of Buddhism after attainment of enlightenment is one of the most visited places by tourists.
  • Other places include – Vishnu Tea Emporium offering some magical combination of spices for masala tea that can melt down daylong stress in a single sip, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple, Ramnagar Fort, Sri Durga Temple and many other places along the alleys of Varanasi.

When you get tired during the tour, don’t forget to taste the kachoris, baati chokha, chaat, lassi and not to mention the varieties of world famous benarasi paan.

Tour through Varanasi is incomplete if you leave Varanasi without a Benarasi  Saree. One of the finest sarees made in India with intricate gold and silver zari embroidery work woven on silk.

Varanasi is well connected to all parts of India through Railways and Air services. There is actually no such best time to visit the sacred city, throughout the year people from all parts of the world visit there however winter season is preferred more to avoid the hot and humid weather during summer.

So stop thinking much and book your tickets for the place where Lord Kashi Viswanath resides, the Varanasi.

You can visit any other places in India.

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Shirshendu Sarkar

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