Varanasi Vacations - Get going to the city of light, Varanasi. Holiday at the ghats of the great Ganges through vacations - India. Discover inimitable India at its religious best.
Varansi - The Spiritual and Cultural Centre of India
Varanasi, also known as Benaras or Kashi, the "City of Light," is the oldest living city in the world and one of the most significant religious and cultural centers in India. Varanasi is one of main spritual and cultural cities of India. There are many temples and ghats most of which built between eighteenth and nineteenth century. Each of the hundred ghats, big and small, is marked by a lingam and occupies it's own special mark in the religious geography of the city. All these get crowed early in the morning with the first ray of sun.
You can see here morning bathers, brahmin (priests) offering puja and people practicing meditation and yoga. Hindus regard the river Ganges here as "Amrita". It is believed that Gangajal (water of river) is like a tonic of life, which brings purity to the living being and salvaion to the dead soul. This town also has its place in history with many events and incidents being related with it. From time immemorial Varanasi has been the center of education, religion, art and culture.
For every visitor Varanasi has different experiences to offer. The shimmering red and golden water of the Ganges when rays of dawn falls on them, the high banks, the temples, the Ashrams, the pavilions all are an experience in themselves. Chanting of Mantras, the hymns along with the fragrance of incense in fills the air with mysticism which entrails every person. The refreshing dip in the Ganges with the splashing of water along the ghats-- in Varanasi discovery and experience takes to the ultimate bliss.
The Ghats Of Varanasi
In this ancient city of pilgrimage, the bathing ghats are main attraction. People flock here in large numbers every day to take bath and worship in the temples built beside the river bank. Centuries old tradition to offer puja to the rising Sun is still maintained.
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple / Gyanvapi Mosque
This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is popularly known as the golden Temple due the Gold plating done on its 15.5 meter high spire. One ton of gold donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh has been used in the gold plating of the spire. The temple was destroyed in the various invasions and was rebuilt in 1776 by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore.
St. Mary's Church
Situated in the cantonment area of Benaras (Varanasi) the St. Mary's Church has a low tower, spire and projecting poitico. Instead of windows tile, church has louvred doors to the sides and hooded ventilation slots beneath the cornice.
Bharat Mata Temple
This temple is dedicated to Mother India. Just one kilometer from the Varanasi station. The temple is built in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth which was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt. This temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936 so that the citizens could respect Mother India in statue form. The statute is built in marble. The statue is a replica of undivided India in three dimension which has the mountains, plains and oceans in right proportion.
Benaras Hindu University
This is the largest and oldest university in north India. Spread over an area of 2,000 acres, this great place of education was established by Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya. Today the campus has faculties of Arts, Science, Music, Sanskrit, Languages, Engineering, Statistics and Medical to name a few of them. The university also has the huge Vishwanath temple which was built and maintained by the Birla family.
Ram Nagar Durg
2 kms from the Kashi Hindu university, across the Ganges is located the ancestral house in the fort which was built by the former rulers of Kashi. In one of the sections of the fort is the museum which displays the royalty which was once part of the kingdom. This museum gives an insight into the grandeur which once prevailed in the fort. On the Ramnagar Pandav road is a beautiful Durga temple. This temple has very delicate and intricate carving done on stone. These carvings are worth giving a look.
About ten kms from Varanasi, is the place where lord Buddha after enlightenment gave his first sermon or as the Buddhist say set the wheel of dharma or law rolling. Today Sarnath is considered as one of the richest place to have antiques since the Ashoka period to the 12th century.
In 1360 Feroz Shah built this town to guard the eastern side of his Delhi sultanate. Jaunpur is located 65 kms from Varanasi. Jaunpur is bisected by the river Gomti and the two sides are connected by the massive Akbari Bridge. This bridge was designed by an Afghan and was built in the 16th century. The fifteen stone arches of the bridge have withstood earthquakes and floods. On the southern end of the bridge is the sculptures of a lion tussling with an elephant.
The mention of this town can be seen in the Mahabharata. It is said that the Pandav brothers lived here. Budhha visited this place many times and the gave sermons after his enlightenment in 6th and 9th century. Kaushambi developed as a major center for Buddhism. The ruins of an old fort tells the saga of the towns antiquity. Kaushambi is 185 kms from Varanasi.
Fairs & Festivals
A festive experience like none other awaits you at Ganga Festival at Varanasi.
Celebrated in the month of November-December is the sacred day, when the ghats of Varanasi come alive with thousands of brightly-lit earthern lamps.
This festival is celebrated with pomp and gaiety in Sarnath. This day Lord Buddha was born. A large fair is held in Sarnath and the relics of Buddha are taken out in a procession for public viewing on this day. Buddh Purnima is celebrated during the month of May.
Though Mahashivratri is celebrated throughout India, Varanasi has some special charm in the celebration the festival. During the festival a procession is taken out from the Maha-Mritunjaya temple to Kashi Viswanath Temple.
Varanasi or Banaras, since ages has been famous for the handicraft items. The delicate and intricate work on the sarees, carpets, wooden works are unmatched. The famous Banarasi Silk Sarees and Brocades are every women's dream.
The local silk weavers produce the silk which are in demand not only in India but across the world these silk items are in great demand. The Bhadohi carpets can match the delicacy of weaving in any part of the world. Banaras has been famous for the 'Gharanas' in the Classical Music and Singing. These styles of singing and music have been amply supported by the musical instruments which are manufactured in Varanasi.
Apart from the Silk Sarees, Brocades and Carpets Banaras also offers you Brassware, copper ware, Ivoryware, stone inlay work, Glass beads and bangles, wood and clay toys, Zari work and exquisite gold jewellery. The main shopping areas of the city are the City chowk, Godoulia, Vishwanath lane, Gyan Vapi, Thatheri Baazar, Dasashvamedh, Goldhar and Lahurabir. The Emporia and Souvenir shops approved by the UP tourism are good place to look for genuine and good stuff too purchase.
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