Varanasi (also known as Benares and Kashi) is one of the oldest surviving cities of the world. According to Hindu mythology, Varanasi is considered to be one of the holiest cities in India. It lies along the banks of the Ganges, and it's believed that taking a dip in it washes away all the sins and purify the soul. Millions of devotees come to this place to take a dip in the sacred Ganges and pray in the famous temples of Varanasi.
Visiting this holy town can be an experience in itself. The site of the Ghats full of activity can refresh the mind and soul.One can see the devotees taking a dip in the holy river, priests chanting the hymns and mantras and religious customs and traditions in full swing all over the place from morning to dusk.
Varanasi is also famous for its rich heritage of music, art, culture and its traditional art of silk weaving, the Banarsi silk Saris are famous all over the world. Banarsi ‘Pan’ is also famous all over India and is chewed by people across India.
River front, known as 'Ghats'
Kashi Vishwanath Temple The city of Varanasi lies along the sacred Ganges River. The river front is about 4 kilometres long.The Ghats are best viewed at dawn and are best approached by the ‘Dashashwamedha’ ghats.
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple (also known as Golden Temple) is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva, who is considered one of the most powerful Gods according to Hindu religious belief. ‘Shivlinga’ installed in this temple is considered to be sacred and attracts people from all parts of the country to this historic city.
Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies
This institute was established by Dalai Lama in 1971 and it is amongst the few institutes of world which imparts education in Tibetan language. This institute has a rare collection of Buddhist test and Tibetan manuscripts.
Bharat Kala Bhawan
Has a rare collection of miniature paintings of various schools of art, like the Rajasthani style, Pahari style, Nepalese and Tibetan style of painting.
Banaras Hindu University
This university was established in 1916 and it has grown into one of the most reputed universities of India.
Sarnath is just 10 kilometres from Varanasi. It is the place where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon after he attained enlightenment. Sarnath has a rich tradition of Buddhist culture and its history dates back to the 2nd century BC when the great Indian Emperor Ashoka.
Ramnagar is a for that is 14 kilometres from the city of Varanasi has a museum which contains items ranging from the medieval kings to the period during which India was under British rule.
Chunar Fort is an imposing fort that gives a splendid view of the Ganga river is about 40 kilometres from Varanasi.
Chandra Prabha Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in the forests of Chandra Prabha is around 70 kilometres from Varanasi. This is a must visit for nature lovers for a relaxing day in forests which also has a couple of beautiful waterfalls.
Bharat Milap, usually held in the month of October/November is an important festival typical to the city of Kashi or Varanasi. Bharat Milap is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Ram to Ayodhya after spending 14 years in exile and his subsequent reunion with his brother, Bharat. The essence of this festival is the victory of truth over evil.
Weather in Varanasi is very hot in the summer months (April-June) when the heat can be unbearable at times. The rainy season is from July to October, and Varanasi receives a good amount of rainfall. The winter months (November-February) are the best time to be in Varanasi when the temperature drops down and there is very little rainfall and skies are generally blue
Getting To Varanasi
Varanasi Airport (VNS) can be reached from Delhi and Mumbai.International connections include Kathmandu with Indian Airlines,Bangkok with Thai Airways International and Jet Airways, and Colombo with Mihin Lanka.
Varanasi has good train connections with rest of India. Varanasi Junction is the main train station, however the station of Mughal Sarai which is on the main Delhi-Kolkata line can also be easily reached by Auto Rickshaw. Mughal Sarai lies on the other bank of the Ganges river.
Taxis can be hired for traveling to Varanasi from nearby cities.
State Transport Corporation has regular bus service from other major cities of Uttar Pradesh to Varanasi.
Food In Varanasi
Varanasi has a wide range of cuisines to offer starting from Indian local food to Korean, Japanese, Italian etc Sitting by the ghats one can taste a small cup of masala tea with some Kachoori's.