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Kashi Vishwanath Mandir

The history of Vishwanath Temple that is also called Golden Temple at times is full of ups and downs. The temple and city has always been on the receiving end of the invaders be it Afghans, Turks, Rohila or Marathas. The temple has been built and razed to the ground several times in the history. It was first destroyed by Bakhtiyar Khilji in the 13th century and was later rebuild. Emperor Akbar donated several acres of villages to the trust that was later cut down substantially by Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb was a fundamentalist who hated every possible religion and sects in India including Sufi and Shiite order among the Muslims. Rani Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore built the present temple that stands in Varanasi, in the year 1776. Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore donated the 800-kilogram Gold-plating of the towers that gives the temple its colloquial name .

Durga temple

The Durga temple is considered one of the most important temples in Varanasi. Built in 18th century the Durga temple is stained in Red with ochre. Though the temple might have Bangla influence spiritually, it is built exclusively on the North Indian pattern called Nagara. Multi-tired spires that decrease in diameter in horizontal pattern mark this style. Actually separate spires are clubbed together one over another to give this feel. Though this style looks less attractive than the South-Indian Gopuram pattern, it has a feel of its own. Lately, people have started calling it Monkey Temple due to the menace created by the monkeys that inhabit the campus of this Temple. At the time of Navaratri there are very mush crowd for the worship.

Tulsi Manas Temple

Tulsi Manas Temple has a very historical as well as cultural importance for not only Varanasi but also for the whole of India. This is precisely because the place is connected to an event that still rules the Indian Psyche. The famous Hindu Epic of Ramayana was composed at this very place. Goswami Tulsi Das was the man who composed Ramayana in Hindi in the form of "Ram Charit Manas". Prior to that, Ramayana was only available in Sanskrit and that is why it was out of the reach of general masses. .

Bharat Mata temple

The Bharat Mata temple at Varanasi is the only temple dedicated to Mother India. It is located in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth campus near railway station. The Bharat Mata temple was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936. The statute of Bharat Mata is built in marble and is a model of undivided India, depicting the mountains, plains and oceans. The most peculiar thing about the Bharat Mata Temple is that instead of the customary gods and goddesses, it houses a relief map of India, carved out of marble.

Sankat Mochan Mandir

Sankat Mochan Mandir do not have much historical significance but is a good place to visit at least once. No body knows who established this temple. It was actually very small in its early phase. In the due course various 'Mahants' collected funds to upgrade the structure and today it boasts off a fairly large complex. The temple has every possible facility for the devotees. There is an inn too where devotees can stay overnight. The must attend religious function of this temple is the famous "Pratah Aarti" or dawn offering that takes place at 5 AM in the morning. The "Sandhya Aarti" or the evening offering is performed to Lord Sankat Mochan at around 8:30 in the night. "The Rathri Aarti" is performed at around 10 PM after which the gates are closed. .

Ghat

The city's life revolves around its seven km long sweep of about 100 bathing ghats that skirt the west bank of the Ganges. Most of them are used for bathing. Some are used for cremating bodies. The most sacred ghats are the Assi, Dasashwamedh Ghat, Manikarnika and Panchganga. Pilgrims who bathe in each one consecutively believe their prayers will be fulfilled. A short boat trip from Manikarnika Ghat can be an interesting introduction to the river. It is believed that cremation at Manikarnika ghat ensures a safe place in Heaven, as the cremators of this ghat are believed to have the patronage of Shiva. The furthermost upstream ghat is Assi Ghat, which marks the confluence of the Ganges and the Assi rivers. Nearby is the Tulsi Ghat, where Goswami Tulsidas lived till his death in 1623A.D. Dashashvamedh Ghat, Varanasi's liveliest bathing place was constructed by Peshwa Balaji Baji Rao. It's name indicates that Brahma sacrificed (medh) 10 (das) horses (aswa) here. It's one of the most important ghats and is conveniently central. Nearby is the grand Man Mandir Ghat (1637) and an observatory both built by Sawai Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur in 1710.

BHU

BHU is the largest residential university in Asia. It has been developed as a center for education in Indian art, music, culture and philosophy and for the study of Sanskrit. The campus also houses the Bharat Kala Bhawan that has a fine collection of miniature paintings and sculptures that dates from 1st to 15th centuries. The 5-square kilometers campus of BHU, houses as many as 55 hostels. The campus has other attractions too such as the Birla Mandir that is popularly called VT. Close by is an airstrip and a flying club. The central library named Sayajirao Gaekwad Library is also worth a visit. Apart from various manuscripts and periodicals, it houses as many as 14 lacks or 1.4 million separate volumes. There is a 1000 bedded hospital too. It is called Sir Sunder Lal Hospital. Apart from concrete buildings, the campus features open spaces, greenery and peacocks, the national bird of India, which are found roaming around almost every part of the university.

Sarnath

10 km. from Varanasi is the site where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon "Maha- Dharma-Chakra Pravartan" (in Buddhist terminology, ‘turned the wheel of the law’) after his enlightenment. Sarnath is one of the richest in Buddhist antiquities ranging in date from the times of Ashoka downto the 12th century A.D Ashoka built here the Dharmarajika Stupa and near it erected a pillar surmounted by the magnificent capital of four adorsed Lions, which today forms the national emblem of India.Among other structures at Sarnath are the ruins of the brick temple representing the Mula- Gandha Kuti, ruins of stupas and monasteries. Among the more imposing ones is the Dhamekh Stupa, adorned with delicate floral carvings in the lower part, the Chaukhandi Stupa and Mahabodhi Society's Mulgandha Kuti Vihar Temple. Sarnath has also yielded an extremely rich collection of Buddhist sculptures comprising of numerous Buddha and Bodhisatva images which can be seen at Archaeological Museum, Sarnath.

Buddhist Temple Sarnath

Visitors to Sarnath usually wind up their visit by going through the main stupas and the museum at Sarnath. But beyond the main excavation site in the narrow lanes are some exquisite Buddhist temples set up and run by followers from countries like Japan, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, China etc It is a treat to visit these temples. There are amazing artifacts and ancient maps that trace the spread of Buddhism.

How to Reach Varanasi

  • By Air :

    The holy city of Varanasi is well-connected and accessible by flights. It is well connected to major Indian cities and tourist spots like Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho, Jaipur, etc.

  • By Rail :

    Varanasi Railway station is well linked with major cities like Delhi, Bodhgaya, Patna, Mumbai, Kolkata, etc.

  • By Road :

    Varanasi is well-connected with major cities like Patna, Bodhgaya, Agra, Kanpur, Allahabad, Kanpur, Bhopal, Lumbini, Kushi Nagar, Gorakhpur, Khajuraho, etc.


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