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About Varanasi
Welcome at "THE HOLY CITY VARANASI". Varanasi, or Banaras, (also known as Kashi) is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Varanasi`s Prominence in Hindu mythology is virtually unrivalled. Mark Twain, the English author and literateur, who was enthralled by the legend and sanctity 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". The land of Varanasi (Kashi) has been the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus for ages. Often referred to as Benares, Varanasi is the oldest living city in the world. These few lines by Mark Twain say it all:
Varanasi UP
"Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together". Hindus believe that one who is graced to die on the land of Varanasi would attain salvation and freedom from the cycle of birth and re-birth. Abode of Lord Shiva and Parvati, the origins of Varanasi are yet unknown. Ganges in Varanasi is believed to have the power to wash away the sins of mortals.
Ganges is said to have its origins in the tresses of Lord Shiva and in Varanasi, it expands to the mighty river that we know of. The city is a center of learning and civilization for over 3000 years.
Varanasi is among the holiest of all tirthas – "crossing places", that allow the devotee access to the divine and enable gods and goddesses to come down to earth. It has attracted pilgrims, seekers, sanyasins and students of the Vedas throughout its history, including sages such as the Buddha, founder of the Jain faith Mahavira and the great Hindu reformer Shankara.
Sightseeing:
Bharat Mata Temple
Bharat Mata Temple - Dedicated to 'Mother India', this temple has a marble relief map of India instead of usual images of gods & goddesses. The map is said to be perfectly in scale, both vertically and horizontally. the temple was opened by Mahatma Gandhi.
 
Tulsi Manas Temple
Only 150m south of Durga Temple is the modern marble shikhara-style Tulsi Manas Temple, built in 1964. Its two tier walls are engraved with verves and scenes from the Ram Charit Manas, the Hindi version of the Ramayana. Its author , poet Tulsi Das, lived here while writting it.This Temple is on the spot where Saint Tulsidas composed the Ramayana in Hindi (The Ramacharitamanas).
 
Durga Temple
The Durga temple is one of the most important temples in Varanasi and is built in the 18th century, by Bengali maharani and is stained red with ochre . This temple is built in north Indian Nagara style with a multi-tiered shikhara (spire). The shikhara of the temple is formed by many small spires which are built one on top of the other. Durga is the 'terrible' form of Shiva's consort Parvati, so at festivals there are often sacrifices of goats. It is commonly known as Monkey Temple due to many frisky monkey that have made it their home.
 
Vishwanath Temple
The Vishwanath temple, or Golden Temple, is the most sacred temple in Varanasi and is dedicated to Vishveswara-Shiva as lord of the universe. The original temple was destroyed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, and the present temple was built in 1776 by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore . 800kg of gold plating on the towers, which gives the temple its colloquial name, was provided by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore some 50 years later.
Benaras Hindu University
Varanasi has long been a centre of learning and that tradition is continued today at the Benaras Hindu University (BHU) built in 1917. It is considered to be the largest residential university in Asia. It was founded by the great nationalist Pandit Malaviya as a centre for education in Indian art, music, culture and philosophy, and for the study of Sanskrit. The five sq km campus houses the Bharat Kala Bhavan which has a fine collection of miniature paintings, sculptures from 1st to 15th centuries.
 
Ram Nagar Fort & Museum
On the opposite bank of river, this 17th century fort is the home of the former maharaja of Benaras. It looks most impressive from the river, though the decrepit planking of the pantoon bridge you cross to reach it is somewhat of a distraction. During the mansoon access is by ferry. The intresting museum here contains old silver & brocade palanquins for the ladies of the court, gold-plated elephant howdahs, an astrological clock, marcabre elephant traps and an armoury of swords and old guns.
 
How to reach Vanarasi
Varanasi is the cultural capital of India and the melting pot of Indian civilization. Varanasi or Benaras has a well-developed transport network and is well connected to all the major Indian cities and states by air, road and rail.
By Air: Varanasi is well connected and accessible to major Indian cities and tourist spots. There are daily domestic flights to and from Varanasi to several cities in India. Apart from the state owned Indian Airlines, there are many private air taxi operators that offer their services from Varanasi to other Indian cities. In fact, the daily flights on Delhi-Agra-Khajuraho-Varanasi route are quite popular among the tourists.
By Train:Since Varanasi lies in the heartland of the North Indian plains, it is well connected to Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and other parts of India. There are two railway stations in Varanasi, the Kashi Junction and the Varanasi Junction (also known as Varanasi Cantonment). Rajdhani Express from Delhi or from Calcutta passes through Varanasi too. One can also catch trains from Mughalsarai, just 10 km south of Varanasi.
By Road: Situated in the flat Ganga plains, Varanasi has a good network of roads. frequent public and private buses and road transport to all the major towns of Uttar Pradesh and nearby areas.
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