Varanasi

Varanasi Varanasi or Kashi, which literally means the ‘City of Lights’, is a great place for spiritual purification.

Introduction

The holy city of Varanasi or Benaras is located on the banks of the River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh. The abode of Hindu God Shiva, Varanasi is one of the oldest living cities in the world. It is a famous pilgrimage which derives its name from the rivers Varuna and Assi. The beauty of its various ghats cannot be explained merely in words. The place is equally revered among Buddhists and Jains as Lord Buddha preached his first sermon after attaining enlightenment in Sarnath. It is also considered to be the birthplace of Parsvanath, the 23rd Jain Tirthankar. The sacred land finds a special place among Hindus as it is believed that taking a holy dip in the River Ganges here remits sins. Varanasi is also renowned for its silk industry, Banaras Hindu University and of course, its paan.

Attractions

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Devoted to Lord Shiva, Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the most famous and sacred destination among worshippers. It is the place where one of the 12 Jyortinglingas of Lord Shiva is enshrined. The temple is also referred as ‘Golden Temple’, for its domes plated with gold. Built by Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in the 18th century, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is still believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva.

The Ghats

The ghats are the identity of Varanasi. According to popular Hindu belief, Kashi liberates one from the endless cycle of life and death. There are about 100 ghats, and among them, Asi ghat, Dasashwamedh ghat, Manikarnika ghat and Panchganga ghat are most important. Watching the morning and evening aartis at these ghats is a unique experience.

 

Banaras Hindu University

It is the largest residential university in India which was founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya in 1917. It covers an area of 1300 acres and houses Vishwanath temple built by the Birlas in 1966. There is also an art museum, Bharat Kala Bhavan, which contains a huge collection of scriptures, miniature paintings, sculptures and old photographs of Varanasi. Ramnagar Fort

The fort once served as the residence for Maharaja of Varanasi which was built by Maharaja Balwant Singh. Set up by Vibhuti Narain Singh, the last Maharaja of Banaras, this has a museum showcases royal palanquins, dresses, swords, guns, vintage cars, expensive coaches made of ivory and antique clocks, etc. Inside the fort, there is also a temple dedicated to Ved Vyasa. Made of red stones, the palace is a splendid work of Hindu architecture.

Sarnath

It is 10 km from Varanasi and holds a very significant place among Buddhists. After attaining enlightenment, Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon in Sarnath. It is also famous for the Ashoka Pillar, which was erected by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka. There are many Buddhist structures like monasteries, stupas, temples, inscriptions, sculptures and other antiquities which were built from 3rd century B.C. to 12th century A.D. Tulsi Manas Temple

The temple is dedicated to Lord Rama where Tulsidas, a great poet-saint, wrote the epic "Shri Ramcharitmanas". The walls of the temple are inscribed with the epic’s verses. The temple is made of white marble.

 

Luxury hotels

The Gateway Hotel Ganges Varanasi

The luxury hotel promises a comfy stay to its guests. The rooms here are spacious and equipped with modern facilities. Sprawling in 40 acres of lush gardens, the hotel flaunts its amazing interior and royal décor complimented by top class hospitality.

Radisson Hotel Varanasi

The Radisson Hotel Varanasi is a 5 star property with 116 rooms renowned for its unparalleled services and grand hospitality. The hotel is popular among leisure as well as business travellers. It offers praiseworthy services and spacious accommodation. Offering multiple dining outlets, on-site spa along with other facilities; the hotel is a certainly a good choice.

Hotel Rivatas by Ideal

The luxury hotel has rooms in the categories of deluxe rooms, executive suites and epicurean suites. This non-smoking hotel offers unbeatable services and a perfect delight for guests looking for luxury and comfort.

 

In addition, Ramada Plaza JHV Varanasi and Hotel Clarks Varanasi are notable hotels with modern architecture and contemporary amenities.

Luxury trains

Luxury train tours covering various destinations are synonym for sophistication and elegance. A tour on Royal Rajasthan on Wheels and the Indian Panorama of Maharaja Express covering the holy city of Varanasi is a journey full of royalty and grandeur.

Food

Mouth-watering food of Varanasi will make your trip more exciting. Hot kachoris, lassi, sweets, paan and thandai; here tourists get many varieties of food to satisfy their taste buds.

Best time to visit: It is recommended to head for a tour to Varanasi from October to March when the temperature ranges between 5 to 15 degrees Celsius.

Going there

By Air: Varanasi Airport is well-connected to all major cities.

By Rail: Varanasi and Kashi are major railway stations.

By Road: Varanasi is easily accessible with good network of roads. One can easily get buses run by state government and private operators.

Varanasi - a city with divine grace
 
The ancient city of Varanasi is an important pilgrimage showing the real India.

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