Varanasi is one of the oldest cities of India situated on the banks of River Ganges. People used to mean this city as one of the holiest cities from India. The place is believed to be a sacred city with very old tradition and culture. Varanasi or Banaras is a place which still yet hasn’t flown down by the western culture. It is still very orthodox but also booming as modern cities. The city has all those major amenities which a modern advance city requires.
Varanasi is famous for spiritualism, mysticism, Indian philosophy and Hinduism. All these are reflected in numerous sects, temples, Ashrams and Ghats. Varanasi is associated not only with Hinduism but also with Buddhism and Jainism. Varanasi also boasts of Buddhist Stupas and Jain temples. Varanasi is mainly associated with Hinduism, temples form the main attraction. The Ganges Ghats (river fronts) are the main center of religious activities and rituals and also form one of the main attractions of Varanasi. The most important temples of Varanasi are Durga temple, Vishwanath temple, Sankat Mochan temple, Tulsi Manas temple and the Bharat Mata temple.
Temples of Varanasi
Varanasi is a place can be considered as the place especially for different temples. The place has great spiritual importance with so many other attractions. Varanasi is home to about 2,000 temples, and also known as the city of temples. Many important and famous temples are located at the Ghats of Ganges. The holy river Ganges in the place is like icing on the cake. Varanasi is also called Kashi, “the City of Light”. The “Kashi Vishwanath temple”, located near the Ganga Ghats, is the most famous and important temple of Varanasi.
Spiritual life in Varanasi revolves around the ghats, the long string of bathing steps leading down to the water on the western bank of the Ganges. Most are used for bathing but there are also several ‘burning ghats’ where bodies are cremated in public. The main burning ghat is ‘Manikarnika’. There, one can often experience watching funeral processions threading their way through the backstreets to this ghat. The best time to visit the ghats is at dawn when the river is bathed in a mellow light as pilgrims come to perform puja (literally ‘respect’; offering or prayers) to the rising sun, and at sunset when the main ‘ganga aarti’ ceremony takes place at Dasaswamedh Ghat. One can explore a trip from Dasaswamedh Ghat south to Harishchandra Ghat and can have a great knowledge about the place Varanasi.
Varanasi is mainly popular for these ghats and the spiritual environment over here. People here come to explore about the Hindu culture, tradition and religion. Thus this place is very famous and caters a good quantity of visitors every year.
Banaras Hindu University:
The Banaras Hindu University or BHU is an internationally reputed University and is situated in Varanasi. The great nationalist leader, Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, founded the Banaras Hindu University in the year 1916. Dr Annie Besant also played an important role in the formation of the BHU. The Banaras Hindu University played an important role in the Indian independence movement. Over a period of time, it has developed into one of the greatest centers of learning in India. The BHU has produced many great freedom fighters and Nation builders. It has immensely contributed to the progress of the nation through a large number of renowned scholars, artists and scientists.
Buddhists wordwide look upon India as the land of the Buddha and a visit to this country means a pilgrimage to those places sacred to the memory of the Enlightened One. After the Bouddha attanined enlightenment in Bodh Gaya he came to sarnath. Here in the Deer Park, he delivered his first sermon, or in religious language, set in motion the wheel of Law (maha- Dharmachakra Pravartan). On the day before his death Buddha included Sarnath along with Lumbini, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar as the four places he thought to be sacred to his followers. The Emperor Ashoka, who spread the Buddha’s message of love and compassion throughout his vast empire, visited Sarnath around 234BC,and erected a stupa here. Several Buddhist structures were raised at Sarnath between the 3rd century BC and the 11th century AD, and today it presents the most expansive ruins amongst places on the Buddhist trail. Sarnath is 10 km from the holy city of Varanasi, and is an exceedingly tranqiuil place. The ruins, the museum and temple are all within walking distance.