Things To Do In Varanasi
Varanasi, a huge city in North India is known as a very holy place for Buddhists, Hindus and Jains. Located in the fertile land of the Ganga valley, on the banks of the river Ganga, this place is a sacred site and well known as a Pilgrimage center. This city of temples and symbol of cultures in India has been described by many reputed writers also. Being the center of silk weaving, this city offers employment to thousands of people. Tourists love to shop beautiful souvenirs here from local market. For being the religious place for Hindus and Buddhists, Varanasi faces heavy tourists footfall every year all the time and the crowd of visitors become double during the time of major festivals in India. Know more about this beautiful place of temples, ghats and lush green points further.
When To Go:
Situated in the northern part of India, Varanasi suffers extreme climatic conditions. The place can be experienced with a wide range of temperature changes and extreme seasons from humid hot summer to shivering cold winters. Climate is really not predictable and inconstant in Varanasi. You can plan a trip to the place from October to March, keeping sub tropical climate on mind. Temperature can also go down drastically and coolness in air offers you some relief from hot summers during evenings. Onset of winters is the best time to have a dip in the holy Ganga River as temperature during this period is cool but not cold.
These are the top things to do and places to see in Varanasi:
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When it comes upon the discussion about Ghats in Varanasi, many ghats are there to lie adjacent to each other but none of them are similar. Watching the grand beauty of ghats by boating is something you will not be able to forget. The lovely experience you can have in the ghat cannot be described in words. On the other hand, the Dashwamedha ghat is there to lie on the central region from the commercial point of boating. Being the king of ghats (river-bank), the Kedar ghat has reputed tea stalls nearby where people love to enjoy masala tea in winter season. A temple is there called as Kedar Linga where you will feel calm and holy environment which is full of positive vibes. Daily in evening, the Aarti of holy river Ganga is organized in this ghat.
You can visit to this place by road or can watch it during the boat ride between the Kedar Ghat and the Manikarnika Ghat. According to the folk tale, Lord Shiva came down to this ghat on request of a devotee. Kedar is another name of the Lord Shiva and that’s why, the name of this ghat is Kedar Ghat. People believe that bathing on this ghat will clean away all the sins and they will become a holy soul. Sringeri Sarada Math, Chintamani Ganapathi temple, Mansarovar Kund, Andhrashram are some place of attraction near this ghat.
Ganges River (Ganga)
River Ganga is known for its magical views from sunrise to sunset. The bank of the river represents animated scenes all the time with lots of people and colors of the nature. When you visit to the place, you should not miss the evening ceremony carried out daily in respect of the Ganga River as it is unforgettable. During day time, you can plan for boating on the river. Lots of Ghats are there having stairs on them. Ghats have been classified for bathing, laundry, ritual and cremation, watching all of these ghats is an unforgettable experience really.
Various priests under red umbrellas are there who can be hired by people for various rituals. The far side of the river undergoes flood during rainy season, that’s why no constructions and buildings are set up there. As you many feel cold in the morning and evening in Feb, you should take hand gloves, hats, winter coats to the place. Boating is the most popular activity people love in the Ganga River; far from the hustle bustle of the city, away from narrow lanes and traffic jams, ignoring all the filth strewn around, one just needs to hire a boat and sail downstream. The far shore is awesome for those who visited there for picnic while the near shore is for rituals and devotional customs etc.
This Ghat is one among the most significant Ghats in the Ganga River. Representing the real charm and importance of this one of the oldest cities of the India, the Banaras Ghat is counted in holy places of the country. Due to being known as the pilgrim point, this place attracts huge crowd every year. People love to attend the Arti ceremony in eve here and they take it as a significant and not to be missed ceremony. About 10 to 20 thousand people get accumulated for the grand arti daily there. Stairs are there in the Ghat from where you can see the arti ceremony.
The arti ceremony starts at 6 PM and lasts for an hour. Ball games, interaction with natives, kite flying and watching people carrying out various kinds of rituals are some pastimes here. Although, there is nothing much to feel as an adventure but strolling up and down on the Ghats is an interesting feeling. Hindu graffiti in this ghat covers most of the walls of the buildings. Some ancient buildings are there as well as grand palaces to get an idea about the old architecture. In this way, photo lovers will find lots of seamless opportunities to snap. Lots of beggars and touts will be there to ask for money or offer you tour, so be prepared to handle them. Overall, walking up and down on the edges of the river offers calmness and satisfaction with the promise of unforgettable pleasure.
Sarnath is a famous Indian spot where Buddha is believed to come out of silence after enlightenment. With various good monuments, stupas, temples, museums and idols depicting Buddha, Sarnath lives in the heart of Buddhists. The lord Buddha had his first set of disciples here. This place has become a pilgrim of Buddhism in this way and had been developed in an impressive way. For it’s interesting sites and historical important, Sarnath worth a trip. The temple and the courtyard with the sacred tree where Buddha preached his disciples give a religious feeling. Your travel guide will tell you more about the historical significance of Sarnath; after knowing the teaching of Buddha from available informative sources, you will feel that everything you hear gives you mental calmness and stay in your mind for a long period.
Being one among the four important places, Sarnath has also some souvenir shops. Apart from Sarnath, Lumbini, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar are other places of importance for Buddhism. The road here is full of traffic and you should be careful from beggars and robbers. You should not miss watching the huge size statues of five monks who became the first disciples of the Lord Buddha. A well maintained museum is nearby is there to tell you more about the relics and teachings of Buddhism. These relics have been obtained during excavations.
Dhammek Stupa is another part of Sarnath, thus it is also an important pilgrimage for Buddhism. The Stupa has been built by the great emperor Ashoka during the 3th century BC; it is a remarkable place where the Lord Buddha did his first preaching. Founded just during the last century through excavation, this Stupa is visited by even foreign travelers who are following Buddhism. Art lovers like to see the carvings of walls and imagine the beauty of the other Stupa, Dharmarajika Stupa that does not exist now. A mentally strong person can even sit near the place and can imagine how he or she would have felt if Buddha would had preached them. Finally, you will get lots of peace and calmness there.
Situated in a wide extension of greenery, this Stupa is closes at around 6 PM daily. It is really a great chance for you to walk through this Stupa even if you are visiting there for some religious reason. The whole building is a massive structure made up of stones and bricks. The main stone has been designed in an attractive manner in floral design. Also, you can see other excavations which are archeologically significant for Buddhism. A single word for the building is that it is absolutely wonderful and fabulous. According to belief of the local people, walking two rounds around the Stupa, one will get good luck. Pradakshina, meditation and chanting are some interesting activities carried out there.
New Vishwanath Temple
One more important tourism spot in Varanasi to see is the New Vishwanath Temple. The temple is simply elegant and receiving a dot of honor on forehead there means that one have got the God’s Blessing. In contrast to the old Vishwanath Temple, the new temple is beautiful and spacious enough for meditation. As this temple is lesser noisy, lesser bright and lesser crowded, people who are in search of calmness will love it. Built up of white marble, this is the tallest temple tower in the country. This charming building was planned by Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya and as it has been constructed by the Birla group of Industrialists in 1965, it is also called as Birla Temple.
Statues of various Hindu Lords such as the Lord Ganesha, Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvathy and Goddess Saraswati are there. Moreover, Lord Hanuman, Lakshmi Narayan, Nandi, Lord Panchmukha Mahadev can also be seen there. Hindu people go to this temple for earning ‘Punya’ (good deeds according to religious beliefs) by having ‘Darshan’ (watching at deities with great religious respect) of these Gods. If you are one to explore surprises and difference, you can plan to visit the old and the new Vishwanath temple on the same day. Situated in the campus of Banaras Hindu University, visit to this temple should not be missed at any cost during the Varanasi trip.
Golden Temple (Kashi Vishwanath)
This famous temple is significant for Hindus all over in India and also called as Kashi Vishwanath as it is situated in Kashi. Despite of being very huge and idol one, this temple nests in one of the narrow lanes of Kashi. You will reach to the deity of the God after going through three security checks and multiple levels of pundits. Also, the Golden Gopuram is a nice place to see there, don’t miss this speculating view. Rudrabhishek in this Golden shrine is really a wonderful experience; it takes about 40 minutes.
One thing you should take care about is avoiding monkeys and Pandas there. Narrow lanes and lots of crowd can make it hard for you to walk through the way. Pandas who promise you to help for reaching to the shrine directly as there is a long line of people should be avoided as they rob you in this way. Also, take care of keeping your expensive stuff in locker always so that your belongings will be secured from robbery. If you want to remember certain shop there, ask for the visiting card as all the shops are very much similar there. You can even book online for Pooja at higher price. If you don’t want to face crowd, just avoid going there on Mondays.
People who are planning a historical trip to Varanasi should not miss to add Ashoka Pillar in schedule. This will be a nice experience for history lovers to walk around the museum and check out archeological pieces here. Going to the place exactly and learning more about it will let you know that why the place is so important. Just as you touch the Ashoka Pillar, you will feel a positive vibe about the history and heritage of India. The design of this pillar has been adopted to design a side of the Indian currency (Rupee Coin).
The overall message hidden in this design is continuous progress and prosperity. Despite of had been broken in parts, this pillar has become icon of the prosperous history of India. An interesting museum is also situated nearby where you cannot expect snapping photos as photography is prohibited there. The environment surrounding this place is also a lush green beauty where nature lovers like to spend some moments of leisure. As the Ashoka Pillar is situated up on the hill, you will get the chance of spending some nice moments in natural environment. From the souvenir shops in this place, you can purchase miniatures of this pillar made up of stone or wood. The clean and well maintained garden is completely suitable for picnic.
The Nepali temple is famous all over the country for its extensive Nepalese architecture. You should not forget taking of your socks also with shoes as floor inside the temple is wet somewhere. Walking in the temple to discover beautiful carvings on wall and lovely artwork done upon the Gods’ statues, floral designs and well carved wooden windows, all together make the interior attractive and eye catchy. Aesthetically designed art pieces inside the temple are main center of attraction for everyone.
After visiting to this temple, you will experience great deal of satisfaction, calmness and mental piece. The Kathwala temple has been built by the Nepali Rajas of wood. This temple of Pashupatinath (another name of Lord Shiva) is well maintained and neat. Situated near the Manikarnika ghat, this temple offers the chance of amazing scene from the top. Vibrant colors, Nepali style architecture and extremely beautiful design make this temple an outstanding attraction to see in the central part of Varanasi. This quiet and pleasant place represents a miniature of khajuraho for natives due to intimate poses on wooden carvings of outer walls. Fantastic design of the temple offers good opportunity of taking photos.
Tulsi Manas Temple
This ancient temple in Varanasi is the real elegance of the city. Having the great Hindu Epic Ramayana inscribed on the walls of this temple, it has secured a good place in heart of people following Hinduism religion. You will also love to see a range of mechanically operated puppet dolls at the first floor. The building has been made up of white marble with lush green garden surrounding it. This neat and clean temple has been dedicated to Lord Ram, Lakshman and Sita by inscribing the entire Ram Charita Manas on inner walls. Visiting to the Tulsi Manas Temple is also good for people planning a historical tour on leading places of India. Tulsi ghat nearby this temple is another good site to see.
So you know much about Varanasi, the biggest pilgrimage in India? A trip to Varanasi make people memorize the lovely scenes and religious rituals they witness in the city. Picturesque beauty of Varanasi and beautiful environment together fill some extra excitement to visit this home to customs, cultures and rituals. Like a miniature of the entire country, this place represents various colors of the Indian cultural heritage. This is the kind of place where one can experience many Hindi customs.
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