Varanasi in Eastern Uttar Pradesh is one of the world’s oldest living cities, deeply associated with Buddhism. It was here that Lord Buddha came after enlightenment in search of his five disciples and preached his first sermon at Isipattna, now known as Sarnath. Many tourists come to Varanasi in search of the same enlightenment and also to visit this third important pilgrimage site in the Buddhist Circuit. Other reason that draws tourists to the city is the search of authentic India resting in its traditions, rituals and spirituality.
Located on the western banks of River Ganges, this city is renowned for its spiritual and cultural tourism potentials. The city is also famous for its handicrafts, and other artistic endeavours. Also, Varanasi tour is a perfect base to explore the vestiges of glorious Sarnath, the site of Buddha’s first sermon based on four-fold middle path.
A holy city for both the Hindus and Buddhists, Varanasi is seen with high esteem amongst the pilgrims and spiritualists. The lifeline of the city, River Ganges also binds the city together as the center of attraction. Most of the rituals are held alongside the Ghats or riverfronts of the pious river and offer a great spectacular attraction to the travellers. The city of lights is also known as the city of Lord Shiva, the god who is supposed to liberate the souls and achieve the desired Moksha in the city of liberation.
Tourist Attractions in Varanasi:
The Vishwanath Temple :
This is sacred Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and also the spiritual center of Varanasi. Through a narrow winding alley, one reaches the gold plated temple of Vishwanath, the lord of the universe, donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the year 1839. The temple’s center of interest is an old Shiva Lingam, an image of the Goddess Annapurna along with other Gods and Goddesses. Also, the temple has an exclusive figure of the God Shiva, whose glimpse or darshan is permitted only twice a year on special festive days.
Tulsi Manas Temple :
: Another in the series of Hindu Temples, Tulsi Manas Temple is believed to be built on the site where Sage Tulsidas lived and created Ramcharitmanas. The white marble temple, dedicated to Lord Rama and his consort, Goddess Sita is the main attraction of this temple.
Bharat Mata Temple :
Not only gods are worshipped in Varanasi, but the country’s entity is also seen with great reverence in the pious city. The Bharat Mata Temple is the living proof of the same. Open to people of all the faiths, this temple depicts the relief map interpretation of undivided India.
Banaras Hindu University :
Scattered over 2,000 acres, the Banaras Hindu University is the largest and the oldest university complex of north India. Established in 1916 by Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya, this institution consists of dedicated faculties to arts, science, language and literature, engineering, medical, humanities, music and others. River Ganges Ghats :
Undoubtedly, they are the icon of Varanasi. There are numerous ghats that touch the pious river every moment and are a center of spiritual activities in the city. Some of the ghats are very famous and remain occupied by people throughout the year. One such riverfront is Harishchandra Ghat. Named after the truthful emperor Harishchandra, the ghat is believed to be the place where the enslaved king worked as a cremation guard and when his own son was brought for cremation here, he followed his Karma instead of Dharma and asked his wife to pay the cremation charges to the ghat, unless which the cremation could not be performed. This ghat is still renowned for the funerals and it is believed to liberate the soul.
Another iconic ghat alongside the river is Dasashvamedha. The most popular ghat of the city, this is frequented by many religious Hindu pilgrims. The name, literally means 'the sacrifice of ten horses', is close to the Kashi Vishwanath temple and also features a temple of the Goddess Shitala, who is believed to cure her devotees suffering from smallpox and measles.
Excursions from Varanasi Tour :
Located merely 13 kilometers away from Varanasi tour, Sarnath is one of the major Buddhist Circuit destinations revered by the Buddhists worldwide. Here at Sarnath, Lord Gautam Buddha after attaining enlightenment preached his first sermon to the first five disciples. Here, he initiated Sangha and gave the preaching based on four-fold truths and middle path. Numerous Buddhist stupas, monasteries and temples along with the museum abound Sarnath and make it a must visit destination in the itinerary of every Buddhist pilgrim.Kaushambi :
Kaushambi, 185 kilometers away from Varanasi was visited by Lord Gautam Buddha in the sixth and ninth year after enlightenment and preached many sermons here. Due to this, a large section of natives here Kaushambi started following him and embraced Buddhism. Even today, the ruins of the ancient city narrate the golden era of Buddhism in India.Vindhyachal :
One of the major Shaktipeeths dedicated to mother goddess, Vindhyachal is highly revered by the Hindus. Located 80 kilometers from Varanasi, this small hilltop is a home to Vindhyavasini Devi temple, Ashtabhuja temple and Kalikoh temple, all of which illustrate the different forms of Goddess Durga. Ramnagar :
A historical village located 14 kilometers away from Varanasi on the other side of the holy river Ganges, Ramnagar is famous for its old heritage fort. The fort was once the residence of the Maharaja (ruler) of Varanasi and now comprises a museum displaying the royal collection of arms and weapons, old cars, palanquins, ivory works and several other antiquities. Besides this, the village also houses two major temples for the Hindus, the Chinnamastika temple and the Durga temple. How to Reach Varanasi :Air -
The Babatpur airport, 25 kilometers away, is a domestic airport and well connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Kathmandu and other major cities of India. Rail -
The Varanasi railway station is well linked with other important Indian cities directly.Road -
Varanasi is located on the National Highway number 2, which links Kolkata to Delhi via Allahabad. Varanasi can be reached conveniently by a coach, bus or a taxi.