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Varanasi City - History, Culture, Temple & Ghat

 Varanasi - A Religious City


Varanasi is also known as Banaras and Kashi is one of the most beautiful religious and cultural cities in India. Located in Purvanchal in Uttar Pradesh, the city is known for; there is a belief in Sanatan Dharma that people who die in Kashi will go to heaven.

 

Varanasi a religious city

Varanasi - A Religious City


Varanasi is also the hometown of Bharat Ratna Bismillah Khan who lives their life on the bank of the Ganga River. Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is one of the renowned universities in India nurturing students from spirituality, culture to science and technology. If we talk about Varanasi & BHU, We cannot forget the contribution of Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya in the field of education.

 

Varanasi is located between Varuna and Assi, so this place is named Varanasi. The city's inner roads are narrow, winding, and inaccessible to motor traffic; More new outer suburbs have been set up wider and more systematically.

 

Panchakoshi - Varanasi

 

The holy city is bounded by a street known as Panchkoshi; Devout Hindus hope to walk this road and visit this city once in a lifetime and if possible die there in old age.

 

History of Varanasi


Varanasi is one of the oldest uninterrupted populated cities in the world.  Its early history is the first Aryan settlement in the Central Ganges Valley. Varanasi was a seat of Aryan religion and philosophy in the 2nd millennium BC and was a commercial and industrial center famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory compositions, and sculptures.

 

Varanasi was the capital of the kingdom of Kashi in the time of Buddha (6th century BC), who delivered his first sermon to Sarnath.

 

The three-century Muslim occupation of Varanasi was later scrapped, beginning in 1194. Several Hindu temples in the Muslim city were destroyed during the Muslim rule, and educated scholars fled to other parts of the country.  In the 16th century, the Mughal emperor Akbar brought some relief to the religious and cultural activities of the city.

 

The reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb took another push in the late seventeenth century, but later the Marathas sponsored a new revival.  Varanasi became a separate state in the 18th century and later remained a commercial and religious center under British rule.

 

Culture & Tradition - Varanasi

 

The art and culture of Varanasi are unique.  The combination of archeology, mythology, geography, art, has made Varanasi a great center of Indian culture.  Although Varanasi is mainly associated with Hinduism and Buddhism, Varanasi has many religious beliefs, types of worship, and glimpses of religious institutions. Primitive worship in Varanasi is astonishing to see the prevalence of religion.

 

A complete museum of Indian art and culture has been presented at Varanasi. One can feel the patterns and movements that have changed throughout. It has a rich and unique style of art form and folk art. 

 

Varanasi presents a unique social and cultural fabric. Cultural and linguistic pluralism and different ethnic groups are so eternal to the holy city of Varanasi.  In Varanasi, one can visit the city of rich, intellectual, oral traditions, caste and customs, personality, profession, and communal harmony.

 

Over the centuries, Varanasi has produced master craftsmen and has earned a name and reputation for its beautiful sari, handicrafts, textiles, toys, ornaments, metallurgy, clay and woodwork, and other crafts.

 

Famous Temple in Varanasi | Varanasi Temple

 

Varanasi is known for its religious importance. The site receives more than one million pilgrims each year.  Also, thousands of domestic and foreign tourists flock to this city every year and tourism-related activities serve as a significant component of the local economy. 


There are around 23000 temples estimated in Varanasi. The Kashi Visvanath Temple, Sankat Mochan Temple, and Durga Mata Temple are some famous temples. The famous temple in Varanasi is listed here.

  1. Kashi Vishwanath Temple
  2. Shankat Mochan Temple
  3. Manas Mandir
  4. Bharat Mata Mandir
  5. Kanaka Durga Mandir
  6. Sankata Devi Mandir
  7. Annapurna Devi Mandir
  8. Lalita Devi Temple

 

Kashi Vishwanath Temple - Varanasi Temple

 

Many people see it as the largest temple in Varanasi and some consider it as the most important temple in the whole country. Its story is more than three thousand five hundred years old, which is a surprising amount of time. There’s so much going on around it that it’s hard to feel overwhelmed when you visit it.

 

The then ruler of the Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was responsible for this, as it is a Punjabi tradition to cover the domes of temples with gold, such as those displayed in gold temples. Many devotees believe that a single glimpse of Shivling cleanses your soul and leads life on the path of knowledge.

 

Famous Places in Varanasi | Varanasi Tourism Place

 

For a middle-aged man living in India, visiting Varanasi at some point in his life is almost a given thing. The floor of this place has a history and religious significance as well as the architecture and art that have perpetuated its past.  Recognized as one of the holiest cities in India, it has a lot of temples and ghats that host useless lines from all over the country. Of course, it only goes through the Ganges River Varanasi.

 

Ramnagar Fort - Varanasi Tourism Place

 

It was the residence of the former king of Varanasi.  Ramnagar Fort was built in 1750 AD by the king of Benares. It was built using red stone. It becomes an astronomical wonder. The large clock in the palace shows the days, weeks, months, years and gives astronomical details of celestial objects. It has a museum, which is rich in swords, clothes, palanquins, etc. The stylish palace is a combination of architectural excellence and the brilliance of astronomy.

 

Chunar Fort - Varanasi Tourism Place

 

The Chunar Fort is located on the banks of the Ganges and is 40 km from the city in Mirzapur District. The fort is 34000 square feet wide and it is famous for its abundance. The fort was built by Ujjain King Vikramaditya for his brother Bharati.  The fort has historical significance and it served as an important post during the war between Humayun and Sher Shah. It was under the control of various rulers and the last of the rulers to control the fort was the East India Company.

 

Alamgir Mosque - Varanasi Tourism Place

 

In a list filled with temples, the Alamgir Mosque stands proudly as a representation of the Muslims who have lived here for centuries. Renowned for its incredible Islamic architecture, this mosque is unique in that it is located on the banks of the Ganges. It is believed that it was built by the Mughal Sultan Aurangzeb who was Akbar's grandfather. Emperor Aurangzeb's other name was Alamgir, which is why this mosque is called. Historically, it has been noticed that Aurangzeb was responsible for demolishing a temple for the construction of the mosque. Nevertheless, the mosque retains many Hindu influences as seen in its unique architecture and art.

 

Ghats of Varanasi | Ganga Ghat Varanasi

 

Varanasi is located at the bank of the river Ganga, thus the city is also famous for Ganga ghat. There are around 87 ghats in Varanasi. People visit these ghats for puja, aarti, ritual, entertainment, and peace. Varanasi has a few miles of ghats or steps for religious baths with the best riverfront in India. An arrangement of temples, shrines, and palaces rises from the edge of the water to the top of the pillar.

Here is the List of Ghats of Varanasi -

  1. Assi Ghat
  2. Chet Singh Ghat
  3. Darbhanga Ghat
  4. Dashaswamedh Ghat
  5. Man Mandir Ghat
  6. Manikarnika Ghat
  7. Scindia Ghat
  8. Bhonsale Ghat
  9. Panchaganga Ghat
  10. Ahilyabai Ghat
  11. Harishchandra Ghat

 

Famous Ghats of Varanasi

 

Assi Ghat - Ganga Ghat Varanasi

 

It is easily a must-visit place in Varanasi!  Located far to the south, Assi Ghat where pilgrims pay homage to Shiva by worshiping the huge lingam under the peetha tree. A ghat is a lively place, full of chaos and noise, and perfectly attracts the antiquity of Kashi. Assi Ghat is one of the most famous religious places in Varanasi. The alluring art here has made Varanasi one of the most beautiful cities in India.

 

Dashaswamedh Ghat  - Ganga Ghat Varanasi

 

dashaswamedh ghat in varanasi

Dashaswamedh Ghat in Varanasi


As the name implies, it is believed that this is the place where Lord Brahma Das left Ashvamedha. During the Kartik full moon, the sky lights up in the city - go to see Dev Deepavali. This ghat is most famous for the Ganga Aarti conducted every evening and hundreds of people visit it every day.  Seeing Ganga Aarti is an experience that cannot be explained in words. While in Varanasi, make sure not to miss this peaceful experience.

 

Ahilyabai Ghat - Ganga Ghat Varanasi

 

Formerly known as Kevalgiri Ghat, the place is famous for being the first of its kind to be named after a person like Queen Ahlabai Holkar. You can visit this ghat anytime. It is one of the best places to visit in Varanasi. The best time is when you see Hindus immersed in the belief that it will cleanse their sins and witness the beauty of the ghat.

 

Fairs & Festivals in Varanasi

 

Dev Diwali or Karthikai Deepam

 

On the 15th day of Diwali, people celebrate the festival by lighting hundreds of kerosene lamps around their homes. The river ghats will be decorated with lamps and people will float on the banks of the river.

 

Rangbhari Ekadashi

 

Some communities of Hindus started celebrating Holi from Rangbhari Ekadashi.  Rangavari is the lineage of Lord Brahma, who can wash away human sins from the soul. According to legend, after killing King Ravana, Lord Rama worshiped Rangvari to wash away his sins.

 

Food in Varanasi | Varanasi Food Tour


Famous Street Food In Varanasi

  1. Kachori Sabji
  2. Chhena Dahi Vada
  3. Bati Chhokha or Litti Chhokha
  4. Choora Matar
  5. Dahi Chatan Golgappe
  6. Tamatar Chat
  7. Banarasi Thandai or Lassi
  8. Banarasi Paan

Choora Matar


This delicious street food is a Varanasi version of the Maharashtrian Poha and Poha Chiwda in Bihar. Green peas, raisins, and saffron cooked with spices soaked in chapter rice soaked in desi ghee, Choora Matar Varanasi has breakfast and dinner time in the evening.

 

Baati Chokha

 

Baati Chokha, a favorite delicacy of Bihar, also makes a delicious street snack in Varanasi. Stuffed whole wheat flour balls are filled with roasted lamb pulses and spices. These stuff balls are known as little and are roasted on top of the charcoal.

 

Malay - Famous Sweet of Banaras

 

Makhan Malaiyyo or Nimish is a popular winter street sweet in Varanasi.  Influenced by Persian cuisine, Malaya is also made by gently churning milk to create a creamy texture.

 

Thandai

 

Varanasi has more fairs in milk and yogurt production and thus these items are found to be used extensively in most of the preparations in the city. Banarasi Thandai is famous all over India for its fresh taste and sense of celebration.

 

Government Approach to Rebuild Kashi

 

The current Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi shared details of the many projects he would inaugurate there and reiterated that his government's vision is to build quality infrastructure in the holy city for the next generation. He is working on the concept to drive the ancient Indian Culture and Traditional practices again for the current and next generations.

 

Various development projects are going on in this religious city. These projects would make the ancient name of Kashi, Varanasi, and the life of people in the east easier. He also added, "I am happy to inaugurate a conference center Rudraksha in Varanasi. This state-of-the-art center, built with the help of Japan, will make Varanasi an attractive conference venue to attract more tourists and businessmen to the city."


How many ghats are in Varanasi?

There are around 87 ghats located on the bank of the river Ganga.


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