Varanasi is the oldest and the most sacred place for the Hindus. Varanasi, also known as the holy city, combines in itself the cultural essence and mysticism of India. Varanasi stands on the banks of river Ganga, considered the holiest of all Indian rivers. Varanasi or Kashi is both an exalted place of pilgrimage and a microcosmic centre of faith. A large number of pilgrims visit the holy city from all parts of India and the world. Varanasi is a unique city where the past and present, eternity and continuity live side by side.
Legends have it that the holy city of Varanasi was founded centuries
before the birth of the Christ. Varanasi is situated between the two
tributaries of River Ganga- Varuna to the north and Asi to the south.
Varanasi combines the name of both these rivers. Varanasi is mentioned
in Holy Scriptures like Puranas, Buddhist texts and in the Mahabharata.
The most fascinating part of the holy city of Varanasi is that almost
all the activities seem to revolve around river Ganga and its Ghats.
Life on the banks of the Ganga begins before dawn, when thousands of
pilgrims come to the river for the holy dip. It is believed that the
sacred river will cleanse them of their sufferings and wash their sins
With the sun rise the Ghats burst into activity. In the morning, the
Ghats present a charged holistic atmosphere. Brahmins recite passages
from sacred texts and priests perform various kinds of holy rituals.
Perhaps Varanasi is the only place that stirs an individual to reflect
about life, to contemplate about creation and the irrelevance of
temporal wealth in the face of death. The burning Ghats at the edge of
River Ganga keep reminding people that life is mortal. At the same time,
the rising sun and the morning and evening rituals at the Ghats bring
hope and optimism to thousands of beleaguered people. This is the
essence of Varanasi- "the Gateway to Moksha."
Pilgrimage Attractions of Varanasi
The Vishwanath temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is the most sacred
shrine in Varanasi. People from all parts of the world come to visit
this temple. After its destruction in the medieval period, the temple
was restored by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore in the 18th century.
Bharat Mata Temple
The Bharat Mata temple is the only temple dedicated to Mother India.
The Bharat Mata temple was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt in the Mahatma
Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth. This temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi
in 1936. The statute of Bharat Mata is built in marble and is a replica
of undivided India in three dimensions which depicts the mountains,
plains and oceans.
Tulsi Manas Temple
The Tulsi Manas Mandir (temple) is dedicated to Lord Rama. The temple
is believed to be built at the place where Tulsidas composed the
'Ramacharitramanas', the great epic. It provides us with detailed
description of the history and deeds of Lord Rama. The walls of the
Tulsi Manas temple are adorned with "Dohas" from
Varanasi, the holy city of India, stands on the banks of river Ganga.