Varanasi or Banaras or Kashi, are names of the same holy city in northern India. One of the oldest cities in the world, Varanasi is also considered one of the most sacred places in India by the Hindus. This city with the consecrated river Ganga flowing through it, the pious babas in their orange robes, and the many temples scattered around are a few of the myriad faces of Varanasi. This city is at once exceptionally old-world and freshly contemporary and is one of the major educational centres in the world since time immemorial.
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is considered the holiest temple in India and is one of the most popular in this city of temples. Not only does this temple embody tranquil mysticism, it also flaunts a harmonious co-existence with a Mosque in the same premises. The divine vibes and vintage charm of the whole city is reflected in this temple so it’s no wonder as to why hundreds of visitors throng the Vishwanath Temple every day. The opulence and sanctity of this temple is something that even history has recorded, and your trip to Varanasi will be outright incomplete without visiting this holy place.
Said to be the place where Gautam Buddha first taught the Dharma, Sarnath or the deer park has a museum and Buddhist temples built by several Asian countries following their architectural styles. Extremely peaceful and sublime, Sarnath flaunts world-renowned and ancient structures like The Dhamek Stupa, Ashoka Pillar, Chaukhandi Stupa and Dharmarajika Stupa that are so imposing that they will make your troubles seem inconsequential and at the same time, you will feel strangely relaxed.
The Varanasi ghats are famous all over the world for the utter culture and devotion they invoke. These ghats are basically steps leading down to the river Ganga, used by pilgrims and bathers. The sacred aura that these ghats exude is something that will stay with you all your life. There are several ghats in Varanasi – Panchganga Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Dasaswamedh Ghat, Kedar Ghat, Tulsi Ghat and many more. All these beatific ghats are known for their spiritual ambience. Boat rides from one ghat to another are the major attraction here.
The Assi Ghat is placed at the confluence of the Rivers Assi and Ganga and is famous for the large Shiva Lingam installed under a peepal tree. It has immense religious importance and has been mentioned in the Puranas and various legends as well. Assi Ghat is the heart of Varanasi and the locals, as well as, the tourists flock there to enjoy the pleasant weather and the amazing view of the sunset and sunrise at the Ganges. The Ghat has been a famous spot among the local youths to while away their time in the evening. Recently, the Ghat started having Aarti in the morning which is a must watch if you want to experience the true feel of Varanasi. Also, the tourists generally travel from Assi to Dashaswamedh Ghat in the evening by boat, to see the famous aarti conducted there every evening which is an experience like none other.
Nestled on the opposite bank of the river Ganges, Ramnagar Fort is a red sandstone fort that encompasses a long history and graceful opulence. This eighteenth century monument is the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Banaras, and has a temple and a museum within its grounds. Reflecting a Mughal-era structure, Ramnagar Fort is a glorious picture in elegance and extravagant flair. Visit this place during Dussehra and you can witness the month-long Ramlila inaugurated by the Maharaja of Kashi. You will be enthralled by the sheer energy and vibrant colours that the city is cloaked in during this period.
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