Varanasi is called the land of Shiva. It is famous by the name Benares or Banaras and Kashi. It is in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is a holy city beside the west bank of river Ganga. Varanasi is an important pilgrimage centre of India and the epitome of vibrant Indian culture and architectural wonders. If you are in Varanasi, there are many temples, ghats and historical places to visit.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
The most visited place in Varanasi is Kashi Vishwanath temple. The Shiva Linga is considered as one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The history of this sacred temple is 3500 years old. Maha Shivratri is main festival here.
New Vishwanath Temple
This temple is constructed by Birla family inside the premises of Banaras Hindu University. The architecture had the similarity with the old Vishwanath temple and made of white marbles. There are seven temples of Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi Narayan and others.
It is located beside Lalita Ghat. It attracts visitors due to its intricate wood carving. It is believed to be built by the Ruler of Nepal and also known as Nepali Temple.
Tulsi Manas Temple
It is situated in the place where famous poet Tulsidas wrote the Indian Epic Ramayana. This temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. The text of Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas is written on the wall.
Monkey Temple or Durga Temple
This temple is Durga Temple built by a Bengali Maharani. It is known as Monkey Temple becauseof the excessive population of monkeys around. The deity of this temple is self-made. Non-Hindus are not allowed in the main sanctum of the temple.
Bharat Mata Temple
This temple is located in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth Campus. The temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936.
You can also visit other temples of Sankat Mochan, Kaal Bhairav, Markandey Mahadev, Mrityunjay Mahadev, Vishalakshi, Vyasa, Annapurna etc. and Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
Alamgir or Gyanvapi Mosque
It is situated beside river Ganga. Its exquisite architecture and scenic beauty attract visitors. But the influence of Hindu architecture can be noticed in this mosque. It was built by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, who is believed to have demolished old temple and built this mosque in its place.
Varanasi is also famous for ghats:
This ghat is famous, and it remains always crowded by the sages, devotees and others. It is renowned for its evening Aarti. The earthen lamps floated in the water by the devotees during Aarti create a beautiful ambience.
It is one of the oldest and central cremation ghats in Varanasi. As per the Hindu Mythology, the earring of Sati fell here while Mahadeva carried Sati to Himalaya. It is believed that people cremated here get Moksha.
The famous mythological character Raja Harishchandra once worked at this ghat. This ghat is also used for cremation and is believed to attain salvation by the one who cremated here.
This is the place where five rivers meet together. They are Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Dhutpada and Kirana. The five black stone idols of five river goddesses are found here.
There are other ghats also like Assi Ghat, Tulsi Ghat, Shivala Ghat, Manmandir Ghat, Darbhanga Ghat etc.
Varanasi also has historical importance. The Ramnagar Fort, Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum, Gyan Vapi well etc. are the places to visit.
Varanasi is well connected to other cities by rail via Varanasi Cantt Railway Station. The nearest airport is Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport. Varanasi is also connected to major cities by National Highway 19, 28 and 31. The local transport like Bus, Taxi, Rikshaw, Auto- Rikshaw, and Three Wheelers is readily available.
There are many places of religious and historical importance located nearby Varanasi. They are Sarnath, Allahabad, Kausambi, Ayodhya, Betla National Park, Bodhgaya, Nalanda etc.
In Varanasi, there are plenty options available for accommodation like Hotel, Dharamsala, Ashrams, Guest House and food. Banarasi khana is very delicious along with Aloo chat, Pani Puri, Jalebi, Lassi, Rabri, Malai and Pan.
Shopping in Varanasi means a huge collection of traditional items like Banarasi Bhadohi Carpets, Banarasi Sarees and Brocades, Banarasi handicrafts, i.e. brassware, copperware, ivory work, glass bangles, gold jewellery and lot more.