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Varanasi :: City Information

 

 

Varanasi - Weather

Best Travel Duration

Summer : Max 43C, Min 32C.
Winter : Max 15C, Min 5C.
Rainfall : 111 cms

October to March

 

 

About Varanasi

History

Varanasi is one of the most important pilgrimage in India and also a major tourist attraction. Situated on the banks of the sacred Ganges, Varanasi has been a center of learning and civilisation for over 2000 years. 25 centuries ago Lord Buddha preached his message of enlightment for the first time in Sarnath which is just 10kms away from Varanasi.

Later Varanasi became a great Hindu center, but was looted a number of times by Muslim invaders from the 11th century on. These destructive visits climaxed with that of the Mughal emperor, Aurangazeb, who destroyed almost all the temples and converted the most famous one into a mosque. Varanasi has also been known as Kashi and Benares, but its present name is restoration of an ancient name meaning the city between two rivers - the Varuna and Asi. For the pious Hindu the city has always had a special place.

Besides being a pilgrimage center, it is considered as auspicious place to die, ensuring an instant route to heaven. To this day Varanasi is a center of learning, especially for Sanskrit scholars, and students flock here from all over India. The well - known novelist Prem Chand and the literary figure Bharatendu Harischand have played their parts in this development. Tulsi Das, the famous poet who wrote the Hindi version of the Ramayana known as the Ram Charit Manas, also lived in this city for many years.

 

 

Places to Visit

Ghats

Description: Ghats

Life in the city of Varanasi revolves around its over one hundred Ghats (river landings). The River Ganga flows from north to south, and the city forms a circular shape from the Asi ghat in the south up to the confluence of the Varuna river with the Ganga.

The Asi River meets the Ganga at Asi Ghat. There is a lingam under a peepul tree and a marble temple to Asisangameshwara (lord of the confluence of Asi). An ancient tank dedicated to sun worship, the Lolarka Kund (pool) lies 15 metres below the ground and is approached by a steep flight of steps. The Tulsi ghat, dedicated to the 16th century poet saint Tulsidas is crumbling now. Further north is the Harishchandra ghat, one of the two important cremation grounds in Varanasi. Named after the king Harishchandra, it is considered the most sacred cremation ground.

Description: Ghats

The Kedar ghat has links with the Kedarnath shrine located in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. The Dhobi ghat is a washerman’s area, while the Chausathi (64) ghat has a shrine dedicated to Chausath Yoginis, the multiple manifestations of the female force Durga.

 

Vishwanath Temple

Description: Vishwanath Temple

The Vishwanath temple, or Golden Temple, is the most sacred temple in Varanasi and is dedicated to Vishveswara-Shiva as lord of the universe. The original temple was destroyed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, and the present temple was built in 1776 by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore . 800kg of gold plating on the towers, which gives the temple its colloquial name, was provided by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore some 50 years later.

 

 

Tulsi Manas Temple

Description: Tulsi Manas Temple

Only 150m south of Durga Temple is the modern marble shikhara-style Tulsi Manas Temple, built in 1964. Its two tier walls are engraved with verves and scenes from the Ram Charit Manas, the Hindi version of the Ramayana. Its author , poet Tulsi Das, lived here while writting it.This Temple is on the spot where Saint Tulsidas composed the Ramayana in Hindi (The Ramacharitamanas).

 

 

Durga Temple

Description: Durga Temple

The Durga temple is one of the most important temples in Varanasi and is built in the 18th century, by Bengali maharani and is stained red with ochre . This temple is built in north Indian Nagara style with a multi-tiered shikhara (spire). The shikhara of the temple is formed by many small spires which are built one on top of the other. Durga is the 'terrible' form of Shiva's consort Parvati, so at festivals there are often sacrifices of goats. It is commonly known as Monkey Temple due to many frisky monkey that have made it their home.

 

 

Ram Nagar Fort & Museum

Description: Ram Nagar Fort & Museum

On the opposite bank of river, this 17th century fort is the home of the former maharaja of Benaras. It looks most impressive from the river, though the decrepit planking of the pantoon bridge you cross to reach it is somewhat of a distraction. During the mansoon access is by ferry. The intresting museum here contains old silver & brocade palanquins for the ladies of the court, gold-plated elephant howdahs, an astrological clock, marcabre elephant traps and an armoury of swords and old guns.

 

 

How To Get To Varanasi

By Air:

 

Indian Airlines flights to Babatpur airport which is 22 km. from Varanasi and 30 km. from Sarnath There is a. direct, daily flight connection between Varanasi and New Delhi. It also connects Varanasi to Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho, Calcutta, Mumbai, Lucknow and Bhuvaneshwar. For travel reservations contact Indian Airlines.

 

 

By Rail:

 

Varanasi is an important and major rail junction. The city is served by trains from all metros and major cities across the country. New Delhi, mumbai, Calcutta.

 

 

By Road:

 

Varanasi, on (National Highway) NH2 from Calcutta to Delhi, NH7 to Kanya Kumari and NH29 to GoraKhpur is connected literally to the rest of the country by good motorable, all – weather roads. Some important road distances are: Agra 565 km., Allahabad 128 km., Bhopal 791 km., Bodhgaya 240 km., Kanpur 330 km., Khajuraho 405 km., Lucknow 286 km., patna 246 km., Sarnath 10 km., Lumbini (Napal) 386 km., Kushi Nagar 250 km. (via Gorkhpur), UPSRTC Bus Stand, Sher Shah Suri Marg, Golgadda Bus Stand.