Welcome to Varanasi (Banaras)
Varanasi, also commonly known as Benares or Banaras and Kashi, is a district in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is situated on the banks of the River Ganges. It is regarded as a holy city by Buddhists and Jains, and is the holiest place in the world in Hinduism (and center of earth in Hindu Cosmology). It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and probably the oldest of India.
The culture of Varanasi is closely associated with the River Ganges and the river's religious importance. The city has been a cultural and religious center in North India for several thousand years. The Benares Gharana form of Indian classical music developed in Varanasi. American writer Mark Twain wrote: "Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together."
Alamgir Mosque, built by the Mughal Emperor Aurangaseb, has the unique distinction of being the largest structure located on the banks of the river Ganges in Varanasi. It is believed that the Mosque is placed at a place where a majestic Krishna temple was located. This temple was destroyed and the Mosque was constructed at that place during Mughal invasion in India.
The Mosque is at a picturesque location overlooking Panchganga Ghat and is bordered by the majestic Ganges. The architectural style of the mosque is a blend of Hindu and Persian styles of construction and is very imposing. The edifice is magnificent with carved pillars, turrets and marvelous domes.
Annapurna Devi Temple
Annapurna or Annapoorna is the Hindu Goddess of nourishment. Anna means food and grains. Purna means full, complete and perfect. She is form of Parvati, the consort of Shiva. The most well-known temple dedicated to Goddess Annapurna is in Varanasi, U.P., India. Adjacent to the Sanctum of the Goddess is the Kasi Viswanath temple. The two are separated by only a few yards. Annapurna is regarded as the queen of Varanasi alongside her husband Vishweshwar (Shiva), the King of Varanasi. In the temple, at noon time, food offerings to the Goddess are distributed to the elderly and disabled daily. During the Autumn Navaratri food is distributed on a larger scale.
Asi Ghat, the Ghat located at the confluence of Assi River and the holy Ganges, is the southernmost Ghat in Kashi. The Ghat is renowned for a spectacular and large Shiva Lingam placed under a Peepal Tree.
This is a favorite spot for Hindu devotees to offer their prayers to Lord Shiva after taking holy dip in the river.
This religiously important place got its reference in many puranas, including Matsya Purana, Kurma Purana, Agni Purana and Padma Purana. Legendary stories describe this Ghat as the place where Goodess Durga thrown out her sword after killing the Asura demons Shumbha- Nishumbha.
The place breasts one more ancient Shiva temple enshrining a Shiva lingam famously known as Asisangameshwar lingam. It was at this place the renowned saint poet Tulasi Das completed the famous literary work Ramcharitmanas. Hindu devotees throng to this Ghat to take holy dip in the confluence and it is a very busy place with performance of Hindu religious rituals all through the year.
Banaras Hindu University (BHU)
Banaras Hindu University (BHU), is a Central university, located in Varanasi, India, which is also the largest residential university in Asia, with over 12,000 students living on its campus. BHU was founded in 1916 by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya. The campus spread over 1350 acre (5.5 km?) campus was built on land donated by then Kashi Naresh.
It has 140 teaching departments and more than 55 hostels for boys and girls. The total enrollment in the University stands at just over 15000, including students from all over India and abroad. Several of its colleges, including engineering (IT-BHU), science, linguistics, journalism and mass communication, law and medicine (IMS-BHU), Faculty of Management Studies, are ranked amongst the best in India.
Bharat Kala Museum
The Kashi Hindu University has a museum that has an excellent collection of precious and extraordinary historical objects, statues, pictures, paintings and documents. Museum is small but very well maintained and gives an over view of the very old city of Varanasi
Dashaswamedh Ghat, a much acclaimed religious spot, is a very favorite among the Hindu devotees and is considered as the main Ghat. It is believed that Lord Brahma performed his victorious Dasa_Ashwamedha (ten-horses) sacrifice in this spot. Legends claim that a similar kind of ten horse sacrifice was done here in the second century by Bhara Shiva Naga rulers.
The Ghat was renovated by Bajirao Pesava I in 1740 AD and later by the Queen of Indore, the princess Ahilyabai Holkar in 1774. This place attracts huge inflow of tourist everyday. Dashaswamedh Ghat has credited with many religious temples and destinations nearby. This is one of the safe ghats with well laid steps and perfect platforms for the devotees to perform the rituals.
The Durga Mandir (Temple) is situated in Ramnagar of Banaras (or Varanasi). It is believed that it was built 500 years ago which is under control of royal family of Banaras State currently. This temple is devoted to Hindu deity Durga. The temple has a large stone built pond with it. The Durga Mandir boasts of its fine stone works, which is a fabulous example of north Indian stone work arts.
The temple is based on square shape. It has a square campus. The main building of temple is built of a square shaped stage. The shape of building is also square. The stage of the temple contains rooms in it, which are used for temple's staff purposes and sometimes, for Yagya. The campus is a green campus with trees and plants. Visitor can walk around the main temple building in the campus. It's useful since, some worshippers walk around the building of temples for religious reasons in Hinduism.
The temple has a huge square pond in front of it. The pond is with stone stairs in all sides and four watch pillars on each corner. There is a shade made of stone also at one side of the pond. The stone work on the walls of temple building also emphasizes the square shape. The temple wall has designs built in square shaped blocks and ornamental scrawls.
Hanuman Ghat, earlier known as Ramesvaram Ghat, is situated at a holy spot famed as Juna Akhara in Varanasi. Legends say that this Ghat was built by Lord Ram himself and hence this Ghat is dedicated to Lord Hanuman, the most favored disciple of Lord Ram. This Ghat is an impressive attraction among the wrestlers and body builders as Lord Hanuman is a synonym of strength.
A renowned Vaishnava Saint, Vallabhacharya, taught his disciples magnificent stories and the glories of Lord Krishna at this place. A temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman and another temple founded by saint poet Tulsi Das are main attractions in this Ghat
Harischandra Ghat is one among two cremation grounds with burning facilities in Varanasi. This is named after the King Harishchandra, who spent his part of the life as a keeper of a crematorium to preserve his truth and virtues. This Ghat existed here many centuries and it was in 1740, a Hindu saint named Narayana Dikshit renovated it. Many people bring the mortal remains of their relatives and friends to this place to pyre. It is believed that one can attain 'Moksha' (Salvation), if cremated in this place. An imposing temple is adorning this place. The temple encloses beautiful structures of Harisdchandra, Vriddha Kedara and Adi Manikanteshwra.
It is the ancient temple of Varanasi near the Head Post Office, VishesharGanj. God KalBhairav is believed as "Kotwal Of Varanasi" , without his permission no one can stay in Kashi.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located in Benaras, the Holiest Place of Hindus (and center of earth in Hindu Cosmology) where at least once in life a Hindu is expected to do pilgrimage and if possible pour the remains (ashes) of cremated ancestors here on the River Ganges.
The temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganges, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva temples. The main deity is known by the name Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara meaning the Ruler of the universe. The temple town that claims to be the oldest living city in the world, with 3500 years of documented history is also called Kashi and hence the temple is popularly called as Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Due to this 15.5m high golden spire, the temple is sometimes called as the Golden Temple, similar to the Golden temple, a Sikh Gurudwara at Amritsar.
The temple complex consists of a series of smaller shrines, located in a small lane called the Vishwanatha Galli, near the river. The linga the main deity at the shrine is 60 cm tall and 90 cm in circumference housed in a silver altar. There are small temples for Kaalbhairav, Dhandapani, Avimukteshwara, Vishnu, Vinayaka, Sanishwara, Virupaksha and Virupaksh Gauri in the complex. There is a small well in the temple called the Jnana Vapi (the wisdom well) and it is believed that the Jytorlinga was hidden in the well to protect it at the time of invasion. It is said that the main priest of the temple had jumped in the well with the Shiv Ling in order to protect the (Jyoti-r)Ling from the invaders.
It is the most important Shiva temple of the city. The stone linga here is said to have emerged spontaneously. The myth narrate that a pure hearted devotee of Shiva prayed for a chance to visit the famous Kedareshvara Shiva temple in the Himalayas. Shiva, who is the god of destruction is always kind to his bhaktas (devotees). Shiva was touched by his bhakta's piety and instead of bringing him to the mountain, Shiva brought his image to the bhakta. This image (linga) emerged out of a plate of rice and lentils. It can be still seen by the believers on the rough surface of the natural stone linga.
Manikarnika Ghat, also known popularly as Mahasmasana, is one of two burning Ghats in Varanasi. The other Ghat where burning is allowed is Harishchandra Ghat. Manikarnika Ghat is the prominent among the two and is dating back to many centuries. The mythology points the relation of this Ghat to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. The popular belief is the burning the dead bodies in this cremation ground is a religious way to attain Moksha, the salvation.
A Shiva Durga temple, built in 1850 by Maharaja of Awadh, is a sacred shrine at this Ghat. A sacred pond known as Cakra-Pushkarini Kund is also adorning this holy place. It is believed that this pond was dug by Lord Vishnu and was existed before the origin of holy Ganges
Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple is one of the sacred temples of Hindu god Hanuman in the city of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. The word Sankat Mochan means deliverer from troubles. In the mandir, special offerings are sold like the special "besan ke ladoo" (sweets). Also Hanuman ji is offered with marigold flower garland. Outside the temple, there are many vendors who sell pendants, rings, incense and holy flowers to the devotees. The temple is unique in a way that both Rama and Hanuman statues face each other
Located seven kilometers from the Varanasi station, the Tulsi Manas Temple has a traditional and cultural history. It is established in that very place where the great Indian epic `Ramayana` was written. It was Goswami Tulsi Das who composed Ramayana in Hindi and named it `Ram Charit Manas`. Lord Rama is the deity worshipped at this temple. Tulsi Das actually created a god out of Rama. Beforehand, Rama was considered as a king who was unparallel. The temple is simply constructed. Verses from Ram Charit Manas spatter the walls of the temple. The complex philosophies of the Ramayana are described in sheer simplicity of words.