VaranasiVaranasi is also known as Benares, Banaras, or Benaras or Kashi or Kasi is a famous Hindu holy city situated on the banks of the River Ganga. It is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, dating back thousands of years and contemporaneous with the Sumer civilisation.
The city is called Kasi, "the luminous" in the Rigveda. It is often also referred to as "city of temples and learning".
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is also known as the Golden Temple. It is dedicated to Lord shiva, the presiding deity of the city. Varanasi is Said to be the point at which the first jyotirlinga, the fiery pillar of light by which shiva manifested has supremacy over others gods, broke through the Earth’s crust and flared towards the heavens. More than the Gaths and even the Ganga, the Shivalinga installed in the temple remains the devotional focus of Varanasi.
The Annapurna Temple is near the Kashi Vishwanath temple. This is a nice temple of Devi Annapurna, believed as the "Godess of Fooding".
Sankatha Temple is the important temple of “Godess of Remedy” near the Sindhia Ghat of Devi Sankatha. Inside the temple premises there is a huge statue of a Lion. Also there are nine temples of nine planets nearby to this temple.
Kalbhairav Temple is the ancient temple of Varanasi near the Head Post Office, VishesharGanj. God KalBhairav is believed as "Kotwal of Varanasi", without his permission no one can stay in Kashi.
Mritunjay Mahadev Temple
Mritunjay Mahadev Temple lies on the route of Daranagar to Kalbhairav temple. This temple is of Lord Shiva. Just besides this temple there is a Well of much religious importance, whose water is said to be mixture of several underground streams and good for eliminating several diseases.
New Vishwanath Temple
New Vishwanath Temple is situated in the premises of Banaras Hindu University. The Temple is now a modern place of worship planned by Pandit Malviya and built by the Birlas. Open to all, irrespective of caste or creed.
Durga Temple is commonly called the ‘Monkey temple’. The temple was built in the 18th century. There is nice stonework done of the temple. Goddess DURGA is believed to be as the symbol of Strength and Power which govern the entire world. There is a pond adjacent to the temple called "Durgakund".
Tulsi Manas Temple
Tulsi Manas Temple is constructed by family of Varanasi, this modern temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. It is situated at the place where Tulisdas, the great medieval seer, lived and wrote the epic "Shri Ramcharitmanas", which narrates the life of Lord Rama, the hero of the Ramayana. Verses from Tulidas’s epic are inscribed on the walls. It is just nearby to Durga Temple.
Sankatmochan Temple lies besides the Assi river stream, on the way of Durga Temple to Banaras Hindu Temple. The Sankatmochan Temple is well known temple of Lord Hanuman. Lord Hanuman is also known as "Sankatmochan" the god who protects from the troubles. This temple is founded by Goswami Tulsidas. This temple is also known as "Monkey" temple, as lots of monkeys are there inside the premises.
Bharat Mata Temple
The Bharat Mata Temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936 and houses one perfect relief maps of India carved out of marble. The Temple was gifted by the nationalists Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta (Barat Ratana) and shri Durga Prasad Khatri, leading numismatists and antiquarians.
The holy city of Varanasi has 84 ghats. Some of the important ghats are :
Bharat Mata Temple
Assi Ghat is a clay banked ghat. The Ghat is in the southernmost in the sacred city. The Ghat is at the confluence of the Assi and the Ganges, pilgrim’s bath prior to worshipping at a huge lingam under a peepal tree.
Tulsi Ghat is one of the Varanasi’s oldest Ghat which was earlier known as Lolarka Ghat. The Ghat was renamed after the saint Tulsidas, who lived here in the 16th century.
Dasashvamedha Ghat is a centrally located ghat. Dashashwamedha is Varanasi’s most popular and accessible bathing ghat, with rows of pandas sitting on wooden platforms under bamboo umbrellas, masseurs plying their trade and boatmen jostling for custom. Its name, "ten horse sacrifices", derives from a complex series of sacrifices performed by Brahma to test King Divodasa : Shiva and Parvati were sure the king’s resolve would fail, and he would be compelled to leave Kashi, thereby allowing them to return to their city. However, the sacrifices were so perfect that Brahma established the Brahmeshvara lingam here. Since that time, Dashashwamedha has become one of the most celebrated tirthas on earth, where pilgrims can reap the benefits of the huge sacrifice merely by bathing.
How to reach
By Air : The nearest airport is Babatpur, 22 km from Varanasi and 30 Km from Sarnath. Direct flights for Varanasi are available from Delhi, Agra, Khajurao, Calcutta, Mumbai, Lucknow and Bhuvaneshwar airports.
By Rail : Varanasi and Mughal Sarai (one of the main railway stations of Varanasi) are the important rail junctions, with train connections to all major cities of India. Some important trains are :
By Road : Varanasi, on NH 2 from Calcutta to Delhi, NHZ to Kanya Kumari and NH 29 to Gorakhpur is well connected to the rest of the country by good motorable roads. some of the major road distances are :
Agra - 565 km, Allahabad - 128 km, Bhopal - 791 km, Bodhgaya - 240 km, Kanpur - 330 km, Khajuraho - 405 km, Lucknow - 286, Patna - 246 km, Sarnath - 10 Km.