Varanasi or Banaras, mentioned in the scriptures as Kashi, is less of a city and more of a dreamy experience. It is a paragon of Indian culture, philosophy, traditions and spiritual ethos since times immemorial. It is among the Sapta Puries, meaning seven sacred cities of Ancient India. The city is located on the bank of River Ganga which has two tributaries in the city: Varuna and Assi; hence the name Varanasi. The combination of Kashi – the holy city, Ganga- the sacred river and Shiva- the supreme God, makes Varanasi an immortal destination. Today, Varanasi remains the hub of cultural and holy activities. In the field of learning, especially of Religion, Philosophy, Yoga, Ayurveda, Astrology, Dance and Music, the city is certainly unparalleled. The Banarasi Silk Sarees and Brocades are known worldwide for its elegance. Varanasi is full of surprises abounding every corner; the more one explores it, the more one falls in love with it!
Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple is a major sacred attraction, dedicated to Lord Shiva, the presiding deity of the city. The temple houses a Shivalinga, which is said to be one amongst the twelve Jyotirlinga, the fiery pillar of light, by which Lord Shiva beckoned his divine supremacy, broke through the earth’s crust and gleamed towards the heaven. The present temple was built by Rani Ahailya Bai Holkar of Indore in the year 1776, however, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple was existent even before the present one. About 800 kg of gold being used to cap the spire by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, hence it is also known as the Golden Temple in Varanasi. The temple has been built and re-built several times over the past centuries. The temple derives its name from Kashi, another name for Varanasi. This tirth also finds mention in old religious texts like Skanda Purana. The devotional atmosphere here is almost palpable. For the pilgrim who may have travelled thousand miles, the sanctity of the temple is only heightened by the teeming crowds, chanting of mantras and the continuous ringing of bells. Within the courtyard stands many smaller shrines, and a 2.1 metre high figure of Shiva’s bull, Nandi. The aarti held here is one of the most overwhelming experiences you can have on your trip to Varanasi.Read More
The Sankat Mochan Temple is one of the oldest temples in the city dedicated to Lord Hanuman. It is situated on the banks of Pauranic River Assi. Goswamiji has specifically named the deity "Sankat Mochan" which means reliever from troubles. In the temple, "besan ke laddoo" are served as an offering to Lord Hanuman and his idol is decked with a pleasant marigold flower garland. This temple has the unique distinction of having Lord Hanuman facing his Lord Rama, whom he worshiped with steadfast and selfless devotion. It is said that Tulsidas wrote Ramcharitmanas here. According to Hindu mythology, one who visits the Sankat Mochan temple regularly gets their wishes fulfilled. It is considered that the temple was built from the time when Goswami Tulsidas had a vision of the Lord Hanuman. The temple was established by the great saint Goswami Tulsidas.Read More
Lalita Ghat is named after the most renowned Goddess of the city, Goddess Lalita. There are variety of rituals and beliefs of the people about the Goddess Lalita Devi (embodiment of the Goddess Durga) who blessed the entire world. This Ghat is one of the most venerated Ghats of the Kashi for devotees from various corners of the country it is one of the main Ghats on the Ganga River in Varanasi. The Ghat is named after Hindu Goddess Lalita and was built in early 19th century by King of Nepal, Rana Bahadur Shah. The Ghat houses the famous Nepali Mandir and Lalita Gauri Mandir. Lalita Ghat, renowned for its Ganga Keshava shrine of Vishnu and the Nepali temple, a typical Kathmandu-style wooden temple which houses an image of Pashupateshvara – Shiva’s manifestation at Pashupatinath in Nepal – and sports a small selection of erotic carvings. This Ghat is dotted with several temples. The well-known 'lingam' of Ganga Keshav and shrines of Gangatitya, Kashi Devi, Lalita Devi and Bhagirath Tirtha are affiliated to Lalita Ghat.Read More
Jainism in Uttar PradeshThe Jain literature refers to Kashi or Varanasi as a Jain Tirtha (Holy Place), as four of the Jain Tirthankara’s were born in Varanasi. According to Jain tradition, Varanasi is the birthplace of Sri Suparshavanath, Sri Chandraprabhu, Sri Sreyansnath and Parshavanath -- the 7th, 8th, 11th, and 23rd Jain Tirthankaras.Sri Suparshavanath Sri Suparshavanath was born in “Bhadaini” which is situated on the banks of River Ganges in Varanasi. Also known as “Jain Ghat” this place is about 1.5 km away from Bhelupura. Sri Suparshavanath was the 7th Jain Tīrthankara who was born to King Pratistha and Queen Prithvi at Varanasi on the 12th Jestha Shukla in the Ikshvaku clan. This makes the “Bhadaini” very sacred not just because Sri Suparshavanath was born here, but also because he took Diksha and was enlightened with true knowledge here. It is also said that he attained moksha at Sikharji on the sixth day of the dark half (Krishna Paksha) of the Hindi month of 'Phalguna'. At present, there is a white colored idol placed and worshiped by the believers of Shwetambar sect. On the other hand, a black idol is placed by the believers of Digambar sect. The Dharamshalas of Shwetambars and Digambars is also present in this area. Sri ChandraprabhuSri Chandraprabhu the 8th Jain Tirthankara was born in Chandrapuri, a town which is located on the banks of River Ganges, about 20 km away from Varanasi. Sri Chandraprabhu was born to King Mahasena and Queen Lakshmana Devi of the Ikshvaku dynasty. According to Jain texts, his birth-date was the 12th day of the 'Paush' Krishna month of the Indian calendar. Chandrapuri has a white idol which is worshiped by a majority of the Shwetambars. Lord Chandraprabhu took Jain Diksha (initiation) and got the light of true knowledge at this place. He is said to have become a Siddha (a liberated soul).Sri ShreyansnathSri Sreyansnath the 11th Tirthankara of Jain Religion was born at Singhpuri, which is near Sarnath in Ikshvaku Dynasty. According to Jain beliefs, it is said, he became a Siddha, a liberated soul which has destroyed all of its karma.Lord Sreyansnath was born to King Vishnu and Queen Vishnudri Devi of Ikshvaku Dynasty. His birth date was the twelfth day of the 'Falgun' Krishna month of the Indian calendar. Sri ParshavanathSri Parshavnath the 23rd Tirthankara of Jain religion was born in Bhelupura. He is the earliest Jain Tirthankara who is generally acknowledged as a historical figure. Bhelupura has a white and a black idol. Sri Parshavanath is credited with starting the tradition of "four fold restraints" for monks – don't kill, don't steal, don't lie and don't own property.Read More
Built in 1964 the Tulsi Manas Mandir is one of the most famous temples in Varanasi. It is made up of white marble and the beautiful garden adds to its attractiveness. The temple is dedicated to the Lord Rama and was constructed by the Sureka family of Banaras. The temple has beautiful images of the Lord Ram, Mother Sita, Lakshman and Lord Hanuman. The wall of the temple has various scenes depicted from the epic Ramcharitmanasa. There is a museum in the premises which has a rare collection of manuscripts of the Ramayana and other artefacts.Read More