Varanasi - Land of Moksha
Varanasi dates back to the mythological times to be one of the world’s oldest living cities. It has two other names like Benaras and Kashi. People from Benaras chew betel leaves as a custom and offer others too. People from all over India visit this place as a spiritual pilgrimage spot in the state of Uttar Pradesh especially during major festivals.
Major Attractions of Varanasi:
River Ganga :
Several people from all over India go to the glorious River to take a Holy Dip. The Ganges is the conjunction of Alaknanda and Bhagirathi major rivers. The water of the Ganga is sacred to many Indians as they believe her as a Goddess. The Mighty River originates from Gangotri Glacier and flows through several Indian states making it the world’s largest basin.
Ramnagar Fort :
This fort overlooking the mighty Ganges was built by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh with a combination of Indian and Islamic design. The Varanasi Ghats ahead gives the best scenic view. There is also a rare vintage collection of American cars in Saraswati Bhawan that is inside the fort. Visit during Dusshera as the place is decorated with colorful lights.
Jantar Mantar :
Maharaja Jai Singh built a mighty astronomical observatory as he had a passion towards science. There are various structures and shapes in this gigantic edifice for various astronomical measurements. Made to calculate height and time of a place based on the sun’s movement, the planetary movements and stars and also to know about eclipses.
Bharat Kala Bhavan :
Within the Banaras Hindu University stands the Bharat Kala Bhavan History Center showcasing India’s rich heritage. Those interested in archaeological materials /historic treasures can see paintings, costumes, miniature Hindu, Mughal and Buddhist sculptures and manuscripts too. Several art galleries like Sculpture Gallery, Archaeological Gallery, Nidhi Gallery, Mahamana Malviya Gallary, Chhavi Gallery, Nicholas Roerich Gallery, Decorative Art Gallery.
Bharat Mata Temple :
You may have heard of various temples around the world but this temple is unique. This is a temple with five pillars signifying Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Supreme Power. There are no idols /sculptures inside as this is dedicated to patriotism along with spirituality. A marble carved Mother India showcases beauty of undivided India through oceans, rivers, landscapes, mountains and plains. This was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi and is inside the premises of the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth Institute.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple :
Several people from all over India throng this popular Jyotirlinga Pilgrim Center. The Aarti ceremony is an unforgettable experience in the patron deity of Varanasi, Shiva. The present temple was built by Rani Ahalyabai Holkar in Indore. Shiva temples are decorated all over Varanasi during the months of February /March.
Best Time to Visit Varanasi
Most of the visitors are pilgrims who visit for religious purposes during festivals or auspicious occasions. For visitors winter months like November to March is the best time to visit as it is neither too hot nor raining due to monsoons.
How to Reach Varanasi
Varanasi Airport connects flights to major cities in India like Delhi and Mumbai. Travellers can board connecting flights from Delhi airport which is well-connected to all the major cities in the Country.
Varanasi Railway station has well connected rail services to various cities. Indian Luxury train is also connected to the Varanasi. By choosing the Indian Panorama journey of Maharajas Express train you can reach Varanasi on the 6th Day.
There is State run bus service, interstate and intercity busses too. You can also hire a taxi or car to get around city.
Shopping in Varanasi :
Select items are brass water pots called ‘kamandalam’ that saints used for carrying water. Many purchase or carry away holy waters from River Ganga for rituals, lampshades and masks of Hindu and Buddhist deities.
Banares Silks & Zari Brocades :
There is a well known silk weave in India known as Banaras Silk that got its name from here.
Katta- Meetha Langda Aam :
In summer, shop for these unique variety of mangoes that taste sweet and sour, musical instruments, specially made hand knotted carpets of Mirzapur. Go in for fine silks, shawls, wall hangings, zari brocades etc. at famous Varanasi shopping hotspots. These are Dashswamedh Gali also called Godoulia, Lahurabir, Golghar, Chowk, Vishwanath Gali, Gyan Vapi and Thatheri Bazar.