Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Varanasi - the religious capital of India :The holy city of Varanasi also known as the city of temples and learning is a place of great historical and cultural significance. This religious capital of India is situated on the banks of the holy river Ganges and is presided over by Lord Shiva. It is the soul of India and an exemplification of the union of cultures, religions and races. The river-front of the city is ornamented by hundreds of well built ghats which is a unique feature. The holy Buddhist place, Sarnath (15km) is another marvel to see.Varanasi is the prime place of oriental learning which simultaneously keeps pace with modern advanced knowledge. The city possesses three universities namely a Tibetan Institute and an Institute of Arabic Studies and the Banares Hindu university. The city is known for silk fabrics, perfumes, artistic brass and copper wares and a variety of handicrafts. It is a prime center of literature, art and culture. This land has given birth to great poets, writers, musicians and scholars. This vibrant city encompassing joy, knowledge and liberation has a magical attraction for people all over the world.Famous for - the Bathing Ghats :The famous ghats offer an amazing experience as one either walks along or brave the waters. This is the real Varanasi, with the sadhus clad in saffron, the echoes of the shlokas, bathing pilgrims with prayers on their chilled and stuttering lips, the shoreline with flames flickering towards the sky, where the heaven awaits the arrival of the good souls - a thousand sights and smells overwhelm you. The more visited Ghats are the Dasashwamedha, Manikarnika, Assi, Panch Ganga and Harishchandra Ghats.Connectivity :By Air: The airport is situated 22 km from the city. Varanasi is connected with regular flights from Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho, Kathmandu (during tourist season) and Mumbai.By Rail: Varanasi is connected to all major cities and towns in India such as Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Patna Calcutta, Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Additional Highlights of the City :Vishwanath Temple: Built in 1777 by Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore, the temple allows entry only to Hindus. The temple dedicated to lord Shiva was destroyed by Aurangzeb and then rebuilt on the same site which gave it a historical significance. The temple is famously referred as the 'Golden Temple' because 800 kgs of gold adorn its shikharas and the roof was gold-plated by the blessing of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1835. In the inner sanctum, the Shivalinga is enshrined on top of a golden altar.Bharat Mata Temple: This temple is dedicated to India as it has a marble relief map of India and other related memorabilia. The temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi.Benaras Hindu University: The BHU, as it is popularly called, was founded in 1917 by well-known nationalist Pt Malviya. The biggest residential university in India, it has an excellent Sanskrit School, a museum within its campus, the Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum. The Museum offers a beautiful assortment of old manuscripts, ancient sculptures and paintings.Sarnath: One of the major Buddhist centers, Sarnath, lies at a distance of 15 km from Varanasi. Lord Buddha preached his first sermon here after attaining enlightenment and later Ashoka, the great Buddhist emperor build grandiose stupas and monasteries here. Muslim invaders destroyed it and in 1836 the British archeologists excavated Sarnath and it regained it's lost glory.

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