Varanasi

Varanasi

At a Glance
Population
1.202 million
Area 82.1 sq.kms
Geo Location
North
Average Climate
23 °C - 32 °C
Best time to visit
Throughout the year

Located on the banks of River Ganga, Varanasi, the cultural capital of India, is centre of religious tourism in India. Kashi Vishwanath is one of the twelve most revered Shiva temples (Dwadash Jyotilrlinga). Sarnath, at the outskirt of Benares, is one of the four most sanctimonious Buddhist pilgrimages. Ganga, Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh ghat, morning boat ride on the Ganga in the morning, cremation ghat of Manikarnika, Subah-e-Benares at Assi ghat, lively narrow alleys, traditional lifestyle etc attract tourists from all across the globe. Details regarding top things to do, shopping, religious rituals, temples, ghats, institutions, forts, palaces, mosques, lifestyle, best time to visit, transportation mode to reach Varanasi etc will serve as excellent travel guide of Varanasi.

"Varanasi is a city of no mean antiquity. Twenty-six centuries ago at least, it was famous, when Babylon was struggling with Ninevah for supremacy; when Tyre was planting her colonies, when Athens was growing in strength, before Rome had b-come known or Greece had contended with Persia, she (Varanasi) had already risen to greatness" said Rev. M.A. Sherring. The grand old city, Varanasi, is mentioned (as Kashi, its old name) even in the Atharva Veda, one of India's oldest scriptures. The word Varanasi comes from the Varuna and, Asi, the two tributaries of the Ganga between which the city is situated.

Situated on the banks of holy river Ganga (the Ganges), the spiritual capital of India- Varanasi is known by several names like Benaras ( as local people call it), Kashi ( desrived from 'Kashika' meaning the shining one referring to the light of Lord Shiva), Avimukta (meaning never forsaken by Lord Shiva), Rudaravasa (meaning abode of Lord Shiva) and Anandavana (meaning forest of bliss). Varanasi is one of the holiest of the pilgrimages of the Hindus. Being on the banks of the Ganges, the most sacred and venerated river in India, Varanasi becomes all the more pious spiritual centre among religious Hindus. Its name Varanasi is derived from its being on the confluence of two rivers- Varuna and Asi. Though Varanasi is the world's oldest living city but its oldest monument is not older than 300 years because of inimically destructive invasions of Muslims. Varanasi is a prominent business and trade centre as well since the ancient times.

Gautama Buddha delivered his first sermon in this city. According to the Jain tradition, the founder of the faith, Parsvanath, was the son of a king of Kashi. Varanasi is the seat of Lord Shiva. Its greatest attraction is the Vishwanatha Temple. The city goes festive during the Dussehra or the Durga Puja in September-October. Episodes from the Ramayana are presented through plays and dances, for the Dussehra celebrates Rama's victory over Ravana. On the Vijaya Dasharni, the tenth and concluding day of the period of the Puja, a procession is taken out, actors enacting the main characters from the epic. On the Buddhapurnima, the full-moon day in May, a large fair is held at Sarnath. Varanasi is connected by air with the major cities and by rail and bus with many more. By road, the distance between Delhi and Varanasi is 710 km. The population of Varanasi district is 3.7 million.