Varanasi is the oldest and the most pious city of India, situated on the banks of river Ganges. It was previously known as Banaras or Kashi, and is famed to be the ‘Gateway of salvation. The common belief of the Hindus is that if a person breathes his last in Varanasi, s/he is sure to attain ‘Moksha’, that is, s/he will be saved from the cycle of birth and death. The city is crowded with saints and sadhus, who live and die in this sacred city to attain salvation. This is a city, which is widely famous for several holy shrines, and is visited by countless Indians and foreigners every day.
- Vishwanath Temple
The most famous temple of the Hindus, Vishwanath temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is situated in Varanasi and is the shrine of first Jyotirlinga. This temple is flooded with followers of the Hindu mythology on Mondays and Shivratri.
- Sankatmochan Temple
A famous temple of Lord Hanuman, the Hindus believe that Lord Hanuman relieves you of all your problems. The followers of the Hindu religion come here with an ardent faith that Lord Hanuman will relieve them of all their problems.
- Durga Temple
Dedicated to Goddess Durga, this temple was built in the 18th century. People come here to see the wonderful stonework and to seek blessings of the Goddess of strength and power. Durgakund is a pond adjacent to the temple, which adds to its glory.
- Tulsi Manas Temple
Goswami Tulsidas, the famous Epic writer, and the narrator of the sacred ‘Granth’ of Hindus, Ramcharitramanas, is believed to have written the epic in Varanasi. Tulsi Manas temple is situated at this place and has been named after the famous epic writer. Verses, which depict the life of Lord Rama, are inscribed on the walls of this temple.
There are a number of other famous temples in Varanasi such as the new Vishwanath temple situated in the premises of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and Bharat Mata Temple, which was inaugurated by the father of the nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Adding to the attraction and splendor of this temple is a relief map of India carved on the marble.
A Peculiar Feature of the City
Being a very ancient city, the lanes are extremely narrow. In certain places, they are so narrow that no four wheelers are permitted to enter the area. Except for some modern construction, the whole city comprises of very old buildings.
Besides the religious aspect, Varanasi is well known for the world famous Banaras Hindu University. Scholars from all over the world come to this place to gain knowledge in various fields. The foreigners are attracted to the Ghats along the side of the river Ganges. An unforgettable sight is the rising sun as it looks as if Ganges is bathing in the first rays of the days and the steps of the ghats are engulfed in the sunshine at dawn. Similarly, the awesome sight of the Ganges and the ghats on moonlit nights cannot be put into words.
The most famous ghat of Varanasi, Dashwamedha Ghat, is crowded by people from all over the world, some for the religious purpose of attending the daily Aarti, while others come to witness the beautiful sight of the floating lighted Divas on the holy water.
Flourishing Textile Industry
Varanasi is also famous for hand woven cloth and there is no match to Banarasi silk, organza’s chiffons and brocades. These sarees and dress materials not only adorn Indian females, but are much appreciated by foreigners as well. There are a good number of exporters who carry flourishing export of brocades and silks with different countries, making Varanasi famous all over the world.
It would not be wrong to say that Varanasi not only holds religious charm for the staunch believers of God, but also fascinates the young crowd with alluring designs of hand woven dress materials. The city attracts foreigners from far off countries to mingle with saints and chant ‘Hare Krishna Hare Rama’ with them.