Varanasi is a place where people come to die….That sounds a little weird but true. Peoples in India believe that dying here and getting incinerated along the banks of the Holy Ganges enables one to break the cycle of resurrection and achieve salvation, making it a significant destination of life’s journey.
Varanasi also called Banaras or Kashi, is a city situated on the left banks of the River Ganga in Uttar Pradesh. It has been a spiritual center of northern India among pilgrims for a long time. Throughout the day, every day and, 24/7 funeral processions are bringing loved ones to the ghats. To die and cremated here is to have the chance to achieve Moksha (the end of the rebirth cycle). So this is an unfortunate fact of Varanasi where people come to die.
In Varanasi there are crowded boarding homes throughout the city full of elderly people, many of whom spend their days begging on the streets to save the money needed for funeral costs.
Varanasi is an incredible sight, the city is worldwide celebrated for its eminent temples, ghats, embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform their rituals. It attracts thousands of tourists every year not only from India but foreigners also love the place too.
Here are many places to visit in Varanasi and few of them are below.
Dashashwamedh Ghat is located near Vishwanath Temple and is the most famous ghat. As per two Hindu mythologies are related to it: According to one, Lord Brahma made it to invite Lord Shiva.
As indicated by another, Lord Brahma sacrificed ten horses, during Dasa-Ashwamedha yajna performed here. Priest’s group daily perform worship rituals in the evening at this ghat “Agni Pooja” (Worship to Fire), devotion is made to Lord Shiva, River Ganga, Agni (Fire), Surya (Sun) and the entire universe.
Tulsi Manas Temple
Among many touring places in Varanasi city, one is the Tulsi Manas Temple. This is where holy person Tulsidas composed the Hindu epic Ramayana in the Awadhi tongue of the Hindi language. The temple was built in the year 1964 with white marbles and was funded by the Birla family. A couple of stanzas and scenes from Ramcharitmanas are also engraved on the walls of the temple.
Manikarnika Ghat – Burning Ghat
The specialty of this ghat is there are frequent Hindu funerals happens and the fire of pyre on this continuously burn, never being extinguished and this process continues 24/7. Because of this reason, it is also known as Mahamashashan.
Although people do not want to go to the Shamsan Ghat, but people from abroad to come here to visit this ghat. At this ghat, it is realized that this is the ultimate truth of life. Manikarnika Ghat is one of the most talked-about ghats in 88 ghats in Varanasi.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple – A Jyotirlinga
Visit of holy places in Varanasi will be incomplete without including the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple. This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. Varanasi city is also called Kashi in antiquated time, and hence the Temple is famously called as Kashi Vishwanath Temple. This temple also has a reference in the holy scriptures.
This temple has been destroyed and reconstructed many times in history. Aurangzeb the sixth Mughal head demolished the last structure and built up the Gyanvapi Mosque on its site. Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780 built up the current structure.
What is Varanasi famous for?
Varanasi now developed as an important industrial center, well known for its muslin and silk textures, scents, ivory works, and grave images. During the time of Gautama Buddha, Varanasi was a part of the Kingdom of Kashi.
Is Banaras, Kashi or Varanasi same?
Yes, all three names refer to the same city. It’s one of the oldest living city in the world. The present name Varanasi has its birthplace in these two tributaries of the Ganges, ‘Varuna’ and a ghat of Ganga ‘Assi ghat’, which flank its northern and southern outskirts.
Which Ghat is famous in Varanasi?
Dashashwamedh Ghat is the core of the activity and the top attraction in Varanasi. It is one of the oldest and holiest Varanasi ghats, it’s the well-known place where Ganga Aarti happens every evening. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Brahma made the ghat to invite Lord Shiva.
How many ghats are there in Varanasi?
Ghats in Varanasi are riverfront steps prompting the banks of the River Ganges. The city has 88 ghats. The vast majority of the ghats are washing and puja service ghats, while two ghats are utilized only as incineration sites or burning ghat.
What are burning ghats?
Burning ghats are where cremation rituals take place. The Manikarnika and Harishchandra Ghats are dedicated to the cremation ritual in Varanasi. Pyre is burning here 24/7. About an average of 80 bodies per day cremated in Varanasi.