Varanasi Pilgrimage Tour
Varanasi is one of the oldest living cities in the world and the ultimate pilgrimage for Hindus, who believe that to die in the city is to attain instant salvation. Varanasi is the tract of holy land lying between the Ganga and the Assi rivers. The Assi river also flows into Ganga. Varanasi is also known as Kashi, the city of light since one of the twelve 'Jyortinglinga's is installed here. Varanasi has been a great cultural centre, especially in the fields of music, learning and the craft of silk weaving.
Places To See :
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.
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.
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.
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 horizentally.the temple was opened by Mahatma Gandhi.
Travel information :
Air : Varanasi is connected by air with Delhi, Agra, Khajuraho, Calcutta, Mumbai, Lucknow, Bhubaneshwar and Kathmandu.
Rail : Varanasi is important railway junction having train connections with all major cities of India .
Road : Varanasi is connected by road with all parts of the state.