Varanasi is the oldest and the most sacred place for the Hindus. Varanasi, also known as the holy city, combines in itself the cultural essence and mysticism of India. Varanasi stands on the banks of river Ganges, considered the holiest of all Indian rivers. Varanasi is a unique city where the past and present, eternity and continuity live side by side. According to Legends Varanasi was founded centuries before the birth of the Christ. Mark Twain once wrote that :-
‘Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together’.
Varanasi is situated between the two tributaries of River Ganga – Varuna to the north and Assi to the south. Varanasi combines the name of both these rivers. Varanasi is mentioned in Holy Scriptures like Puranas, Buddhist texts and in the Mahabharata. It is the only city of India having four government universities and is known as the City of Learning and Burning as People come here to die in the Hope of Salvation. The most fascinating part of this holy city is that almost all the activities seem to revolve around Ganges. Life on the banks of the Ganges begins before dawn, when thousands of pilgrims come to the river for the holy dip. It is believed that the sacred river will cleanse them of their sufferings and wash their sins away.. With the sun rise the Ghats burst into activities. Brahmins recite passages from sacred texts and priests perform various kinds of holy rituals. Perhaps Varanasi is the only place that stirs an individual to reflect about life, to contemplate about creation and the irrelevance of temporal wealth in the face of death. The burning Ghats at the edge of River Ganga keep reminding people that life is mortal. At the same time, the rising sun and the morning and evening rituals at the Ghats bring hope and optimism to thousands of beleaguered people. This is the essence of Varanasi- “the Gateway to Moksha.”
Pilgrimage Attractions of Varanasi:-
Beauty Of Ganges Ghats cannot be described in words. There are around 84 Ghats in Varanasi and whole day Ghats burst with Activities. The best view of Ghats can be experienced in the Morning, If possible try to be present there before Sunrise. You can also witness the Morning Aarti at Assi Ghat that starts before sunrise around 0430 hrs and can witness Subah-e-Banaras. It is better to take a Boat trip in the Morning from Dashashwamedh Ghat (Main Ghat) to Manikarnika Ghat (Burning Ghat) to Harishchandra Ghat. The boat trip will cost you around ₹200/person and depends on How good you are in Bargaining!! Better to Keep the women front, I think they can do it well.In the evening you can witness the World famous Ganga Aarti at Main Ghat that starts around 1800hrs in Summer. You can witness The Aarti ceremony by sitting on the boat for a better view, which will cost you ₹50/person.Important Note:- Try to Bargain everywhere. Beware of Snatchers and keep a water Bottle with you while going for a walk.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple:-
The Kashi Vishwanath temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, The creator of This City. This is among the 12 Jyotirlinga of Shiva. The Best time to worship is in the Morning, You can take a dip in the Ganges and move to the Temple. Temple opens at 0400 hrs and you may have to wait in a long queue to get inside the Temple as it Attracts thousands of Pilgrims each day. Afternoon Bhog timing is 1130hrs to 1200 hrs. Again in Evening from 1900hrs to 2030 hrs, Temple is busy for Saptarishi Aarti. After 2100 hrs You cannot go Inside the Temple. There are some major Temples near to it that You should not miss – Annapurna Temple and Brihashpati Temple.
After Worshipping in these Temples you can get the free food near Annapurna Temple that is run by Annapurna Temple Trust.Important Note:- Non-Hindu or foreigners are not allowed inside the Temple. If Possible Buy Prasad from far places. Prasad is very costly near Temple. You can take Flower from nearby shops and keep your sleepers at Shop by paying ₹10/Person.You can also book your Sugam
Darshan booking online by going on the official website. (Charge – ₹300/Person)
Bharat Mata Temple:-
The Bharat Mata temple is the only temple dedicated to Mother India. The Bharat Mata temple was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt. This temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936. The statute of Bharat Mata is built in marble and is a replica of undivided India in three dimensions which depicts the mountains, plains and oceans.
Tulsi Manas Temple:-
The Tulsi Manas Mandir (temple) is dedicated to Lord Rama. The temple is believed to be built at the place where Tulsidas composed the ‘Ramcharitamans’. The walls of this temple are adorned with “Dohas” from Ramcharitramanasa.
Sarnath is the place where Lord Buddha gave his first teachings of Dharma. Sarnath is at a distance of about 10 kms from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. The main places are the Archaeological Museum and the excavated area. The main attraction also includes The Lion Capital, the top of the Ashoka Pillar preserved in the museum. The excavated area is very huge possessing the evidence of large number of Buddhist monasteries and Stupas.Many Buddhist monuments and ancient large buildings are present in Sarnath. Some of them are the Dhamekha stupa, the Chaukhandi stupa and monasteries and temples of different Buddhist schools of Japan, China, Thailand, and others. There is a park around the temple maintained by the Indian Buddhist society. You can also witness the tooth relic of the Buddha in the Mahabodhi Temple. Every year a number of pilgrims from all parts of the world visit this divine place.
Important Note:- Timing to visit Sarnath is from 0900hrs to 1700hrs. Please keep in mind that Museum is Closed on Friday.
Entry ticket for Indians:- ₹20/person for Ruins and ₹5/person for Museum.
Entry ticket for Foreigners:- ₹300/person for Ruins and ₹5/person for Museum.
Banaras Hindu University :-
Banaras Hindu University is situated in Varanasi and serves as an attractive study destination for students hailing from all parts of India. The University came into existence in the year 1916 and Currently it is the 3rd ranked university of India. This is the largest Residential University of Asia with more than 20000 students. It has around 90 hostels inside the University Campus.
It was the great Madan Mohan Malviya who is credited with the founding of the University. Banaras Hindu University in recent years has managed to create a reputation in promoting interdisciplinary research. University has a replica of Vishwanath Temple popularly known as VT which is worth visiting. The greenery and peaceful environment of College will attract you more than anything else. The university also has an Archaeological Art Museum known as Bharat Kala Bhavan.
Important Note:- If you are roaming alone in University Campus then it is better to take tuktuk from the main gate. It will cost you ₹10/person for going anywhere inside the campus. Otherwise You can book a Cycle Rickshaws for ₹20 .
Entry Ticket for Bharat kala Museum:- ₹10 for Indians and ₹150 for Foreigners.
Museum Timing :- 10 AM to 4:30 PM, Closed on Saturday, Sunday and University Holidays .
Ramnagar fort :-
It is 14 km from the main city. You can witness a Museum and two Temples here. Ancient car and weapons are attractions of Museum but they are not well maintained. Best time to visit this place is during Ramlila.
Important Note:- Entry Ticket is ₹50/person and it is opened from 0900hrs to 1700hrs.
10 things to do in Varanasi:-
Link Coming soon.
You can choose from a wide range of Hotels to stay –
How to reach Varanasi:-
The approachable airport to the city is Babatpur which is approximately 22 km away from the city center. One can easily get a direct flight to Varanasi from cities like Delhi, Agra, Khajurao, Kolkata, Mumbai, Jaipur and Udaipur .