Varanasi is the holy shrine of pilgrims all over India. This city which is the cultural capital of India provides ‘moksha’ or ‘nirvana’ to the people coming here from all over the world. It is your moment of solace, and a way to attain salvation in this life! Varanasi which is also known as Banaras or Kashi offers you a chance to get in touch with your spiritual life!
One can witness an interesting amalgam of philosophy, Hinduism and spirituality. The city of lights is full of ashrams, ghats, temples and other holy places! The present of holy river Ganga which is considered sacred by Hindus makes Varanasi a perfect spot to discover salvation!
It is also believed that to wash away your sins one should come to the holy city of Varanasi and take a dip in one of its hundreds of Ghats spread across all over the city! Thousands of people throng this place every year for various reasons. Some of the main tourist attractions of Varanasi are
There are more than 100 Ghats in the city. One can take a dip on the riverbanks which boasts of concrete steps that go right into the river Ganga. Many tourists visit the Ghats on numerous occasions like Kumbh, Ekadashi, Grahan for a bath in the holy waters. Some of the popular Ghats of Varanasi are Dasaswamedh, Man Mandir, Asi, Lalita and Manikarnika.
Dasaswamedh Ghat– most popular Ghats known for its eternal beauty and spiritual aura
Manikarnika Ghat– one of the oldest and holiest of Ghats across Varanasi
Asi Ghat-the southernmost Ghat of the city, people specially take a dip here before offering prayers at lingam
Varanasi is a hub for more than 2000 temples! One can find most of these temples located quite conveniently on the Banaras Ghats. The city is also called the museum of temples of India. Some of the famous holy temples of Varanasi are Kashi Vishwanath, Durga temple, Sankat Mochan, Tulsi Manas, Bharat Mata and Nepali temple
Kashi Vishwanath Temple– This is one place one shouldn’t miss while in Banaras. It is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Sankat Mochan Mandir– This is a temple of Lord Hanuman is also quite famous amongst pilgrims. People visit the temple especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays
Bharat Mata Mandir– Perhaps the most unique temple in Varanasi, it doesn’t house any idol but a map of India. This temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi himself!
This is a small town 10 kms away from Varanasi. It is believed that Lord Buddha gave his first ever lecture after receiving enlightenment at Bodhgaya. King Ashoka when to took to Buddhism, built many stupas across the town. It hold special meaning to Buddhism and Jainism followers.
Ramgarh fort and Chunar Fort
Ramgarh fort was built in eighteenth scenery and was the home of then King of Kashi i.e. Varanasi. Chunar fort was built by Vikramaditya [king of Ujjain]. One can find reminiscent of royal life spread across both this historical forts
Other places to visit in Varanasi- St. Mary’s church, Bharat Kala Bhavan, Nepali temple, Lakhania Dari caves, waterfall, etc.
Besides this one can shop in its colorful bazaars for handicrafts, brass pottery, souvenirs and of course Banarasi saris. The place is brimming with different varieties of this world famous sari. One can buy zari, shatter, georgette, Tarbana, silk, Kincab, Amni or any other Banarasi sari. This art of sari weaving is quite old and in existence since Mughal era.
Banaras surely is a heaven for shoping for traditional Indian dresses. It is the only place in the world where the real art of sari manufacture is still fully preserved!