Varanasi / Kashi - Hindus Pilgrimage Center
Varanasi, the 'eternal city', is located in Uttar Pradesh,
one of India's northern states. For Hindus it is one of the most
important pilgrimage center in India as well as an auspicious place to
die, ensuring Nirvana and an end to the cycle of rebirth. Aside from
being a religious mecca, Varanasi is also an important cultural
center as the home of the Banaras Hindu University, Ravi Shankar,
and many Hindu poets.
Varanasi's original name Kashi, is said to have been derived
from the word 'Kasha' meaning bright which defines its significance
as the 'city of light' or
its spiritual luminance. The present name is believed to be
a combination of Varuna and Asi, the two rivers on its northern
and southern periphery. Varanasi
today, is also a centre of education, art and craft. As a centre
of art and craft it has a vast repertoire, right from silver, brass,
copper artifacts to
perfumeries and trinkets. Varanasi is most reputed for its
silk brocade sarees and carpets. A city that should be visited
at least once by everyone.
Varanasi can be reached by road, train or air with equal ease.
765 Kms from Delhi, Varanasi is connected to all major cities by
The Ghats - The bathing Ghats that line the holy city
of Varanasi are best visited by boats that offer a regular service. The most
famous among these Ghats are Dasaswamedh, Kedar and Manikarnika.
Vishwanath Temple - This temple, erected by Rani
Ahalyabai Holkar of Indore in 1776, is the centre of devotion of the city. The
domes of this temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, are lined with gold.
Ram Nagar Fort - This fort was the 17th
century home of the Raja of Benaras. Now converted into an interesting museum,
this fort houses the royal possessions.
Gyanvapi Mosque - Emperor Aurangzeb, in the 17th
century destroyed the Vishweswara Temple and built this mosque over it's
Banaras Hindu University - This
university is housed in an area of nearly 2000 acres. Perhaps the largest
residential university in Asia.
Other Temples - Other important temples worth visiting are the Tulsi Manas,
Durga Kund, Bharat Mata and New Vishwanath Temple.
Apart from visiting these
famous places, you can shop for brocades, brassware, ivory-ware, carpets and
gold jewellery. Main shopping areas are Chowk, Vishwanath Lane, Gyanvapi,
Thatheri Bazaar and Lahurabir.
Varanasi has some mouth watering spread of
sweets. One should definitely try the "Kachauri" and the vegetarian breakfast.
And, of course, don't forget the "Banarasi paan" (Betel leaf).
festivals are Buddha Purnima, Chetganj Nakkataiya and Ganga