Also called Kashi among the Hindus, Varanasi or Banaras is one of the most ancient living cities in the world. Throughout the history, this city has retained its piousness among its pilgrims, who come here to take the charm glimpse of the dazzling temples and attend the world famous Ganga Aarti.
Varanasi or Banaras (also called Kashi), which has its unrevealed actual fame in Hindu mythology, is one of the most ancient living cities in the globe. “Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as ancient as all of them put together”, once wrote Mark Twain, the English author of literature, who was fascinated by the sanctity and the legend of Benaras.
As per the reference of the Vamana Purana, the Assi rivers and the Varuna got their origination from the body of the initial person at the starting of time itself. People consider the tract of land situated between them as Varanasi, the most sacred of all pilgrimages. The word ‘Kashi’ has been derived from the word ‘Kas’ having its meaning – to shine. Kashi, which is steeped in mythological legacy and tradition, is the ‘original ground’ made by Shiva and Parvati to stand on at the starting of time. Having the classical culture with its sanctity of religion and the glory of myth and legend, the city of Varanasi, which has always drawn the attention of a large number of worshippers and pilgrims from unknown time, is the microcosm of Hinduism. A visit to Varanasi provides one the feeling of getting the self-discover of an eternal oneness of the body and soul. Varanasi provides every visitor a breathtaking experience of the rays of the dawn glimmering across the Ganges, the lofty banks, the shrines and temples along the banks intermingled in a golden hue soul stirring mantras and hymns along with the fragrance of incense enriching the air and the refreshing diving in the sacred waters softly splashing at the Ghats. In the land of Varanasi, pilgrims get the ultimate bliss of the experience and discovery.
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the prime deity of the city, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is also called the Golden Temple. People say that Varanasi is the point of the first Jyotirlinga, the fiery pillar of light, by which Shiva announced his supremacy over other gods, exploded through the crust of the earth and flared towards the paradise. The Shivalinga established in the temple more than the Ghats and even the Ganga keeps the devotional focus of Varanasi city.
A nice temple of Devi Annapurna, believed as the ‘Goddess of Food’, is located close to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
Sankata Devi Temple, which is a significant temple of ‘Goddess of Remedy’, Devi Sankata, is situated close to the Sindhiya Ghat. A large statue of a lion can be seen inside the premises of this temple. Nearby to this temple, you can also visit nine temples of nine planets.
Situated close to the Head Post Office at Visheshar Ganj, Kalbhairav Temple is an old temple of Varanasi. One can stay in Kashi only with the permission of God Kal Bhairav, believed as the ‘Kotwal of Varanasi’.
Open to everybody without any regard of caste or creed, New Vishwanath Temple, which is a modern place of worship constructed by the Birlas and planned by Pandit Malviya, is located in the premises of Banaras Hindu University.
This temple of Lord Shiva is located on the way of Daranagar to Kalbhairav Temple. You can visit a well having much religious significance just nearby to this temple. People say that the water of this well is the blend of numerous underground streams and excellent for removing various diseases.
Home to one perfect relief map of India, carved out of marble, Bharat Mata Temple was gifted by the nationalists – Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta (Bharat Ratna) and Shri Durga Prasad Khatri, leading antiquarians and numismatists and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936.
Constructed in the 18th century, this temple is commonly known as the ‘Monkey Temple’, having a nice stonework, a fine example of Nagara architecture. People believe that Goddess Durga is the symbol of Power and Strength, which rules the whole globe. Close to this temple, you can see a pond known as ‘Durga Kund’.
Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Varanasi, which provides a good connection with the other major cities, is situated in Babatpur at a distance of approx 22 kms from the Varanasi city center.
Being the main point of the North-Eastern rail network, Varanasi Junction Railway Station (popularly known as Varanasi Cantt Railway Station) is well-connected to the main cities of India. To visit the city, a taxi or a cab can be hired from the railway station.
Varanasi is well-linked to main cities of Uttar Pradesh and adjoining states by state-operated buses. Private air-conditioned buses can also be availed from the neighboring cities to Varanasi.