The spiritual capital of India: Varanasi

Varanasi – One of the major reasons why people around the world travel to India is to feel the divinity, the actual spirituality which they cannot find in their busy money-making lives or countries.

When it comes to India, spirituality is in the roots of our culture. We believe in Karma and it is written in Bhagwat Gita “Even if you were the most sinful of the sinners. You could cross beyond all sin by the raft of spiritual wisdom”.

Varanasi is the place of Lord Shiva, the destroyer of the universe but the most humble deity.

It is a story in Hindu Mythology that Lord Shiva used to reside in the Himalayas before marriage, but after getting married to a princess, she wished him to leave the Himalayas to live in a more beautiful place. At that time Kashi (Varanasi) was the most beautifully built city and Shiva, being a supportive husband, walked down to the plains on the land of Varanasi in winters.

Holy Ganga
The Ganges at the ghat for the festival, Varanasi / Benares, India

People believe that anyone who dies in Varanasi gets freed from the life cycle and Lord Shiva takes the soul in his divinity.

It is also said that Varanasi is the oldest city in the whole world. According to Hindu mythology,  it is even older than any Hindu mythology book and scripture. But what does this oldest city feel like?

The divinity of the Ganges River could be seen during its worship in the morning and in the evening.

Varanasi ghats are renowned to have the most beautiful views. For example, taking a dip in the river to wash off your sins and then witnessing the enchanting ‘aarti’ along with the beautiful sunset on the Dashashwamedha ghats is one of the most magnificent experiences of the trip.

Anyone who visits this place lives in the moment without thinking of what will happen tomorrow and what happened yesterday as the vibes of Varanasi are completely positive.

If culinary is art then one can find an artist at every corner of this city. People are making traditional and tasty food for generations. Malaaiyo, BaatiChokha, DahiChaat, etc. are a few of the most popular dishes of Banaras.

Varanasi
Architecture in the city of Varanasi of India on the Ganges River

Along with the rooted culture, Banaras is leading the league of education and science sector. BHU (Banaras Hindu University) is the dream of numerous students. It is the largest university in Asia and the university’s students have expertise in any and all kinds of advanced technology in the world today.

Varanasi is also the leading city when it comes to the number of temples which is more than 2000 and Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the 12 Jyotra lingas. One should definitely visit this after stepping on the land Kashi.

Holding its ancient culture along with modern sciences (it is also known as the epicenter of sciences), Varanasi beautifully delineates the preserved culture of India having devotion, art, and all the great knowledge.

Temples Of Importance

 Shri KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE

This temple is also known as the Golden Temple and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The Shivalinga in this temple is the most revered and devotional focus of this city.

MAA ANNAPURNA TEMPLE

Close to Kashi Vishwanath temple, there is a beautiful temple of Devi Annapurna who is worshiped as the “Goddess of Food”.

SANKATHA TEMPLE

Close to the Sindhia Ghat is the temple of Devi Sankatha also know as the “Goddess of Remedy”. You will find a statue of a big Lion on the premises.

KALBHAIRAV TEMPLE

This is one of the Ancient temples in Varanasi and is near to the Head Post Office of Visheshar Ganj. God Kal Bhairav is also known as “Kotwal Of Varanasi” and without his permission, you cannot stay in Kashi.

MRITUNJAY MAHADEV TEMPLE

On the way from Daranagar to Kalbhairav temple, you will find this temple devoted to Lord Shiva. The famous well is situated next to the temple and has religious importance.  It is believed that its water is a mixture of several underground streams and helps in healing several diseases.

NEW VISHWANATH TEMPLE

This temple is in the premises of the Banaras Hindu University. Its a modern worship place and is planned by Pandit Malviya (built by the Birlas).

TULSI MANAS TEMPLE

This modern temple is devoted to Lord Rama. It is at the place where Tulsidas who was the great medieval seer lived. Tulsidas wrote the epic “Shri Ramcharitmanas” here which illustrates the life of Lord Rama.

SANKATMOCHAN TEMPLE

On the way from  Durga Temple to Banaras Hindu Temple is this famous temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Lord Hanuman is called “Sankatmochan” which means the God who protects us from all troubles.  There are many monkeys in this temple and also know as the Monkey temple.

DURGA TEMPLE

This temple was built in the 18th century. It’s famous for its beautiful stonework.  Goddess DURGA is worshiped as the Goddess of Strength and Power. There is small a pond next to the temple which is called “Durgakund”.

BHARAT MATA TEMPLE

This inauguration of this temple was done by Mahatma Gandhi in the year 1936. The temple does not have the traditional statues of gods or of goddesses, it has a huge map of India carved in marble stone. The temple is dedicated to Bharat Mata (Mother India) and is the only one of its kind in the world.

Is Varanasi safe for tourists?

Yes, Varanasi is safe to travel to even as a solo female traveler. Like any other place in the world, you need to take precautions and not go to unknown, lonely places or do not eat or drink from strangers. Always check travel advisories before traveling. Check out Government official site for details.
Varanasi
Dhamekh Stupa in Sarnath, Varanasi, India

HELPLINE NUMBERS

  • CM Helpline UP: 1076
  • Child Helpline: 1098
  • Women Powerline: 1090
  • UP Police Helpline: 112

How to Reach?

Varanasi is a famous tourist place and is accessible from every part of India.  It is well connected by road, rail, and air.

Flights

Many airlines have flights from the LBS airport of Babatpur which is around 22 km from Varanasi and around 30 km. from Sarnath. Babatpur Airport has both Domestic and International flights.

Railways

Varanasi is a major railway junction. The city has trains from major cities in India like New Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Gwalior, Meerut, Indore, etc. The Railway Enquiry number is 135.

Local Transportation

You can hire Private taxis from travel agencies or from hotels.  In addition, you can also travel by e-rickshaws, cycle rickshaws, or three-wheelers which are easily available.  But on some routes especially the old Varanasi areas of temples and markets, one-way traffic is maintained.

Private vehicles like cars/taxis/four-wheelers basically charge for 4,8,12 hours or for the full day.  8 hours trip the charges are between Rs. 1400 to 2200 for four seated cars.

You can also hire Prepaid Taxi from LBS airport in Babatpur. The charges for a reserved autorickshaw is between Rs.10 to Rs. 15 per Km (depending on routes).  It is recommended to agree on the fare before traveling.

There is a list of Police stations in case you need help.

Here is Map of the district

Also Read: The Story of Shri Ranganathaswamy Temple

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