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Varanasi Travel

Ghats in Varanasi
Location: North India in state of Uttar Pradesh
Famous As: Main Pilgrim center of Hindus
Places of Interest: The Ghats, Benaras Hindu University, Bharat Mata Mandir, New Vishwanath Temple, Ramnagar Fort, Sarnath.
Area: 73.89
Temperature: summer: Max. 46, Min. 32, winter Max. 15.5, Min. 5
Ideal Time to Visit: Throughout the year, but preferably October to March.
Language: Hindi, English, Bengali

An Over All View Of Varanasi
Varanasi is one of the holiest pilgrimage centers of Hindus in India. Perched on the banks of Holy River Ganges, Varanasi is also referred as Benaras and has been a school of knowledge and wisdom form past 2000 years.
Located in north India in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi is one of the most significant centers of Hindu pilgrimage, the city is rhapsody where chants of mantras, the chime of the temple bells, generate a sense for achieving divine beatitude.

Historic Perspective
One of the ancient surviving cities in the world, Varanasi is an ultimate destination of all Hindu pilgrims searching for moksha from the cycle of birth and re-birth. The city is also sainted for being the abode of Lord Shiva and Parvati and the flowing of the mighty river Ganges. It is the holy belief of the devotees that Ganges in Varanasi has the boon to wash away the sins of human race. Thousands of pilgrims throng to Varanasi, the sacred city to atone their sins. According to legend, Varanasi is the first created spot on the universe, where one can desire for attaining nirvana by chanting mantras and devoting oneself to feet of God.

Mark Twain, the English author, who was engrossed by the tradition , sacredness and legends of Banaras once wrote:
"Banaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together."

Charms of Varanasi
The Ghats
On the bank of river Ganga lies the18th -19th century temples. Thousands of devotees flock the city to take a holy bath in Ganga. Idle time to visit Ganga is just after the sunrise. The bank is thronged with many Ghats. The Dasaswamedh Ghat or the 'ghat of ten sacrificed horses' is associated with a legend, here Lord Brahma made a sacrifice to macadamize the way for the return of Shiva after his exile. Devotees assemble here not only for a ritual bath, but to do yoga, get a massage and offer blessings.

Flecked around the ghats are copious temples, the significance being the Golden Temple with its astonishing golden towers.
Boat rides can also be arranged from Dasashwamedh Ghat and ends at Manikarnika Ghat along the sacred Ganges. Famous Ghats are Asi Ghat to Kedara Ghat, Chauki Ghat to Chaumsathi Ghat, Dashashwamedha Ghat, Vishwanatha Khanda.
Temples in Varanasi
Golden Temple
Vishwanatha Khanda is an old city of Varanasi and is famous for its magnificent temples. The temple Visheshwara commonly known as the 'Golden Temple'is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Maharaja Ranjit Singh donated one tone of gold for plating on its 15.5-m high spire. Today, due to security reasons, metal detectors are placed throughout the temple. Another attraction of the temple is the shivalingams, which is hidden behind the wall, can be approached through the most unpretentious gateways. Thousand of devotees visit the temple every day. Besides, there are other temples like the Tulsi Manas Temple, dedicated to Lord Rama, and the Durga Temple, which are prime attractions for the devotees.

Sankat Mochan Temple
The temple is located on the Durga Kund Road. The word Sankat Mochan means remit from troubles. The temple is dedicated to God Hanuman a monkey face God of Hindus and an incarnation of Vishnu. The best time to visit this temple is in the early evenings.

Benaras Hindu University
Benaras Hindu University (B.H.U) is one of the biggest and oldest universities in North India. It spreads on an area of 2000 acres. Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya founded this largest university in the year 1917 A.D for the study of Indian art, culture. Just at the entrance of the university there is the statue of Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya and amidst lies the Vishwanath temple. The colossal temple was constructed in 1966 is adorned with 677 m high white cenotaph, a beautifully carved structure attracted by thousand of pilgrims.

Bharat Kala Bhawan/ Museum
Amidst the pleasant lush green surroundings of Benaras Hindu University embellished the Bharat Kala Bhavan. The museum was established in 1920A.D and treasures diverse accumulation of paintings, Hindu and Buddhist sculptures. Mughal miniature paintings, scripts and other assets of archeological studies are present in the museum.
Timing 10.30 A.M. to 4.30 P.M.

Ram Nagar Fort and Museum
Once the residence of the Kashi Naresh former Maharaja of Varanasi, Ram Nagar Fort is perched on the bank of river Ganga. The fort was built in 1750 A.D also treasures lot of incalculable riches. The museum is embellished with the royal dresses of maharajas their swords etc. The royal collection also includes classic cars, royal chariots, ivory work and antique clock. The Durga Temple and Chhinnamastika Temple are also located at Ramnagar and are very famous shrines. Dussehra the famous festival of Ramnagar is celebrated with lot of pump and show.
Timings: 0900 t0 1200 and 1400 - 1500.

Stupas of Sarnath, VaranasiExcursions
Sarnath famous as a Buddhist pilgrimage center lies 40km. Northeast of Varanasi. Buddha after achieving enlightenment at Bodhigaya arrived in this holy city to preach his message "Maha-Dharma-Chakra Pravartan" (turned the wheel of the law). Later on the great Emperor 'Ashoka the Great' a follower of Buddhism built the Dharmarajika Stupa and towered a pillar transcend by 4 majestic lions, that forms today the national emblem of India. There is also a museum, which displays artifacts dating back to 3rd century BC.

Chunargarh 40km from the city gave birth to the famous novel 'Chandrakanta', the classic novel based on fictions and fantasy written by Babu Devakinandan Khatri. Now days the place is more commonly known as Chunar and is renowned for its impressive fort crowning on the Kaimur Hills.

Wildlife Sanctuary
At a distance of 70km amidst dense forests of Chandraprabha lies wild life sanctuary. The wild life sanctuary is surrounded by enchanting waterfalls of Rajdari and Deodari, and is an abode to many wild life species.

Vindhyachal/ Kausambhi
At 90km are located the famous temple of Vindhyavasini Devi, Ashtabhuja Devi and Kalikhoh and are the major sites of tourist interest. Vindhyachal is one of such peeths or center of Shakti. Budhha visited this place many times and the deliver sermon after his enlightenment. Kaushambi developed as a major pilgrimage center for Buddhism during 6th to 9th century. Kausambhi Fort reminding the ancient times of Mahabharata is located at a distance of 185km.

Some other fabulous excursions from Varanasi are_ Agra - 565 Km, Allahabad- 122, Delhi- 765 Km, Khajuraho- 406 Kms, Gaya- 246 Kms, Kanpur- 315 Kms and Patna- 246 Kms.

Festivities of Varanasi
Kartik Purnima
The festival arrives in (November-December) is full of enthusiasm and excitement. The holy ghats of Varanasi brighten up with thousand of lilted terra-cotta lamps. It's a grand festival of Hindus.

Buddh Purnima
Celebrated in month of May, this festival is celebrated with splendor and vivacity in Sarnath devoted to Lord Buddha, as it is marked as a birthday of Buddha. A huge fair is organized at Sarnath, processions of the residue of Buddha are taken out for public viewing on this day. It is the main festival of Buddhist.

The Ramlila
The Ramlila at Ramagar is a month festival celebrated with great enthusiasm depicting the episode from the holy book of Hindus, the Ramcharitramanas written by Tulsidas. The festival is quite famous through out India and normally comes in month of October - November.

Mahashivratri, The Dhrupad Mela and Ganga Festival are other famous festivals celebrated in Varanasi with great pump and show.

Since ages Varanasi City is very famous for its handicraft items. The dainty work of thread and gold wire on the sarees, carpets is quite famous worldwide. The famous Banarasi Silk Sarees and Brocades are not only famous in India but abroad also.

Apart from the Silk Sarees, Brocades and Carpets Banaras also have diverse variety of Brassware, copperware, Ivory-ware, clay toys, Zari work and exquisite gold jewelry. The Emporia and Souvenir shops approved by the UP tourism are good place to look for genuine and good stuff too purchases. The main shopping areas are City Chowk, Vishwanath lane, Thatheri bazaar, Godoulia , Dashswamedh Gali, Golghar and knotted carpets of Mirzapur.
Specialty of Banaras-'Langda Aam', a variety of mango, famous all over the world

BanarasGetting Around
Air: Indian Airlines connects the city to Bhubaneshwar, Lucknow, Agra and Delhi. Varanasi has an International Airport and has flights to Kathmandu. Indian Airlines connects Varanasi with Delhi, Agra, Mumbai, Bhubaneshwar and Lucknow.

Rail: Varanasi is connected by rail with all the major cities in India. Mughal Sarai railway Junction is one of the nearest railway junction in the city with almost all the trains from the East, North East and some trains for South and Western region crossing the station.

Road: Good bus service connects Varanasi to major cities in India. Important highways: Delhi- 710kms, Mumbai- 1550kms, Agra- 610 kms, Bodh Gaya-240 kms, Khajuraho- 406 kms, Lumbini- 320 kms and Patna 270 kms.

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