Varanasi is the holy place of India. It is also called Benares, Banaras or Kashi. It is also known as "the city of learning", "the city of temples", "the city of lights" and "the holy city of India". It is situated near the bank of the river Ganga in Uttarpradesh. Lucknow is the capital city of Varanasi. Among the seven sacred cities, Varanasi is one of them. People believe that if they die in Varanasi they will get salvation. It is a very old city.

benaras ghat

Facts

  • Varanasi is famous for the temples and Ghats.
  • The saris of Varanasi especially the Banarasi sari is very famous.
  • The very famous and old temple known as Kashi Vishwanath Temple is situated on the outskirts of the Ganga river.
  • One can enjoy the boat ride on the Ganga River.

People, culture and the lifestyle

People are very much devoted to Lord Shiva. In every house one can find the Shiva Linga and people worship it in the morning and evening. They also join in the Ganga aarti every evening and take holy bath in the Ganga River. People here enjoy the festivals followed by the classical and folk culture. People here speak Bhojpuri, Hindi, English, Urdu and Bengali. People here enjoy the sweet dish.

Varanasi gharana is very popular. Varanasi is famous for the silk saris. Benarasi sari especially worn during the marriage purpose by the Bengali bride is very famous and reasonable. Tourists who visit this holy city purchase Banarasi sari and suits from the local markets. Varanasi has culture of arts and literature. Many great Indian writers spend their life in this holy city.

Weather

The weather remains very hot during the summer months and cold in winter. Cold wind blows during the winter months.

  • Summer- mid April to October
  • Monsoon- July to August
  • Winter- December to March

Best time to visit

It is best to visit Varanasi in winter season. Try to visit the place int he month of February when the weather remains very pleasant.

How to visit?

Varanasi is well connected by rail, road and air.

By rail

Varanasi is well connected by rail services from all major cities of India. Many trains arrive everyday from almost all the major stations. The nearest station is Varanasi station and the Mughal Sarai station.

By bus

From Nepali border, there are daily buses, which pass through this city. Buses are also available from Lucknow, Allahabad and Kanpur.

By air

It is also connected by proper air service from almost all major cities of India. Varanasi airport is situated 25km away from the city. One could reach the city from the airport by taxi, auto rickshaw or by bus.

Paces to visit in Varanasi

Varanasi is a holy place to visit. Many things are here to see while visit to the place. Some major places, which one must visit, are:

  • Vishwanath Temple- It is one of the oldest temples of Lord Shiva, situated in the market area. The temple has tight security. No inflammable articles, bags, pen, mobile, camera and leather material are allowed inside the temple.
  • Kaal Bhairav Temple- It is also the temple of Lord Shiva. People while their visit to the temple purchase black thread, which they tie on their hand or put around the neck. It is said that this black thread protect from the evils.
  • Nepali Temple- It depicts the culture and art of Nepal. The temple is built in the Nepali architecture. It is situated near the Lalita Ghat.
  • Banaras Hindu University- The very old University that was constructed during the Indian freedom struggle. The campus is very big and it is surrounded with trees and plants. One could visit the art and archeology museum inside the university.
  • Sarnath- It is located 13km away from Varanasi. After getting the enlightenment, Buddha gave his first sermon to his disciples. It is also known as Deer Park.
  • Ram Nagar Fort- It is the old fort of the king of Kashi and is situated on the opposite side of the river Ganga.

Ramnagar Fort in Varanasi

  • Gauri Mata Temple- This is the temple of the sister of Kashi Vishwanath. While leaving Kashi people first visit this temple and offered seashells and take holy bath in the Ganges.
  • Sankat Mochan Temple- In this temple Lord Hanuman is worshipped. Many monkeys could be seen in this temple. Nothing is allowed to carry inside the temple. One must be very careful from the monkeys as they snatch everything from the hands.

Ghats

Varanasi is famous for the Ghats. The Ghats simply means many stairs, which reach to the Ganga River. People gathered in the Ghats to take holy bath and enjoy the aarti here. Some famous Ghats are:

  • Panchganga Ghats- It is known as Panchganga because five rivers meet together here.
  • Manikarnika Ghats- This Ghat is famous for the cremation. One has to maintain silence here. Photography's are not allowed.
  • Dasaswamedh Ghats- This Ghat is famous for the evening aarti. It is not very far from the city. One could reach by walking.
  • Kedar Ghats- This Ghat is very beautiful and often very crowded. This Ghat is famous for taking holy bath in the Ganga.
  • Narad Ghats- There is a myth that couple are not allowed to take bath in this Ghat together.
  • Tulsi Ghats- From this Ghat one could watch the water purification plant.
  • Assi Ghats- The scenic view can be watch from this Ghat. Many small and big restaurants, cafe and hotels are situated near the Ghat.
  • Harischandra Ghats- This is also the cremation Ghat where Harischandra last cremated his son.
  • Other Ghats are Rana Ghat and Shivala Ghat.

Festivals

  • Diwali- It is celebrated in a grand way. Many temples organize special puja and aarti during Diwali. The Ghats are beautifully decorated.
  • Maha Shivaratri- It is the main festival of Varanasi. For three days the classical music are performed in every corner of the street. A procession of Shiva is taken out known as "Shiva Barat" every year. Roads are blocked on this day. People wear new clothes and gathered near the Ganga Ghats and worship Lord Shiva. Especial aarti is held during this day. Lots of tourist gathers here on this day.
  • Hanuman Jayanti- The birthday of Lord hanuman is celebrated on this day in the temple of Sankat Mochan. Various cultural programme are organized by the local people. Public processions are taken out on this day.
  • Nag Nathaiya- It is celebrated int he month of October- November. It is celebrated because Lord Krishna won the victory over the serpent Kaliya. On this day people, plant the branch of the tree Kadamba on the banks of the river Ganga and the young boy jumped into the river and played the role of Krishna. People gather near the Ghats to watch this play.

          Nag Nathaiya festival in Varanasi

  • Ganges Festival- this festival continues for five days. The banks of the Ganges are beautifully decorated with colorful lights and people join the aarti and float candles on the river.

Things to do

  • Bathing- People here could enjoy the bathing on the river Ganga. Bathing in the Ganga River is believed to be very holy. 

ganges image at sunset

  • Boating- People could also enjoy the bat ride on the Ganga river. The best time to have a boat ride is at sunrise or sunset. The boat man can charge high rate from the tourist. However, never forget to do bargain. Normally a boat cost rupees 30 per person for one hour. However, they charge different rate from the foreigners.

Food

People here can enjoy a variety of foods. The "dum aloo" and "sweets" are very famous. One can enjoy the malai lassi from the shop of "Shiva Lassi Bhandar". The exotic chats can be enjoyed from the shop of "Kashi Chat Centre. One can enjoy the sweets like Rabri and Malai from the shops situated near the Godowlia crossings. The special leaf called "pan" is famous here. Every tourist enjoys the taste of the "Beetle leaf or Pan". Other dishes like the Chinese, South Indian and even Bengali dishes are also available in the restaurants.

Shopping

banarasi saree

Varanasi is famous for the bangles and silk saris. One can purchase bangles from the city shops or the shops situated in the lanes of the Vishwanath Temple. Varanasi is also famous for the weaving centre. The handmade carpets known as " Bhadohi' is very famous. The brocade saris and dress material are very reasonable. Saris like tanchoi, banarasi, silk, cutwork, tissue etc are very famous and popular.

Hotels

Many luxury and budget hotels are situated around the city. Many guesthouses are also available. Some budget hotels are:

  1. Hotel Ganges- This hotel is situated near the Vishwanath Temple. It has serves with both A/C and Non A/C rooms. The hotel is clean and well maintained.
  2. Lord Vishnu Rest House- It is situated near the Pandey Ghats and the rooms serves with hot water and the hotel has power back up service.
  3. Hotel River View- This hotel is situated very close to the Dasaswamedh Ghats.
  4. Tiwari Lodge- It is situated close to the Assi Ghats. It has small temple on the site. It is well maintained and very reasonable.

Luxury hotels

The Gateway Hotel, Radisson Hotel and Hotel Surya these are the five star hotels with all facility one needs.

Other nearest places to visit

While visiting Varanasi one must visit the nearby places like Gaya, Sarnath, Agra, Nepal and Lucknow.

Stay Safe

The roads of Varanasi are very dark and clumsy. Try to avoid roaming during the night. Especially in the lanes. The lanes are very narrow and are uneven and rough. The women should be very careful as the local people try to grope in the dark. Beware of the rickshaw puller, the taxi and the auto driver as they always look for their benefit and try to carry the passenger to those hotels and lodge from where they earn commission. Try to purchase goods from the fixed rate shop and avoid street vendors.

Image source- Wikipedia


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