Varanasi – A comprehensive guide to the spiritual destination of India

Overview:

Varanasi is known all over the world for being one of the holiest and the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage centre. Settled on the banks of the mighty River Ganga, Varanasi is one of the oldest living cities in world. The entire town is immersed in deep divinity and people believe that individuals who die at this place attain salvation or moksha after death. Varanasi is the epitome of spirituality, devotion and represents ancient India in its entire splendor. Travel to Varanasi and witness some of the most important Hindu centre of worship here include, one of the 12 jyotirlinga temple i.e. Kashi Vishwanath mandir, one of the major Buddhist pilgrimage site of Sarnath, Ghats of manikarnika and Dashashwamedh among a number of other. Littered with ancient temples, vibrant Ghats, colorful marketplaces and the rich essence of the presence of the almighty, Varanasi offers a truly memorable experience.

Places to Visit:

Kashi Vishwanath Mandir

Kashi Vishwanath Mandir

Dedicated to Lord Shiva and home to one of the 12 Jyotirlinga, the Kashi Vishwanath temple is one of the most-visit sites for Hindu devotees and pilgrims. Located on the banks of the mighty River Ganga this temple is an important place of worship for all shaivites who come here from all across the globe to offer their prayers to the Lord. The site has been visited by several philosophers, saints and ascetics like Adi Shankaracharya, Swami Vivekananda, Gurunanak and Swami Dayanand Saraswati among other highly revered names. Make it a point to visit here at least once in your lifetime for an unparalleled spiritual experience.

Dashashwamedh Ghat

Dashashwamedh Ghat

Located comfortably close to the holy Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, Dashashwamedh Ghat is the main Ghat of worship on River Ganga. It is said that Lord Brahma himself performed the sacrifice of 10 horses at the Ashwamedha Yajna exactly on this Ghat making it one of the most sacred Ghats in Varanasi. At sunset by attending the puja ceremony, you will experience the vibe of spirituality with chiming bells, rhythmic singing and beating of the drums, air filled with the fragrance of incense complete with the glorious Aarti by the river.

Durga Kund Mandir

Durga Kund Mandir

Constructed in the 18th century by the Bengali Maharani, the temple is dedicated to Goddess Durga. Right next to the temple there is a beautiful pond or Kund which initially was a part of the Holy River Ganga. It is believed by the people that the image which you witness inside the temple was not manmade but it had appeared on its own. Built in a typical North Indian Nagara style the complete temple is painted in red with the insides of the temple adorned beautifully with detailed carvings and intricate engravings. This is a must-visit site for everyone seeking strength and power in their hearts and souls.

Things to do:

  1. Early morning boat ride – early morning in Varanasi is calls for taking the famous boat ride trip. Make sure you experience the refreshing and mind rejuvenating boat ride on River Ganga and kick start a day on a peaceful note.
  2. Gorge on the local food – a safe haven for foodies, the narrow streets of Varanasi is filled with food stops which offer delicious food items like, kachoris, samosas, chena dahi vada for your sweet tooth, makhan malaiyyo among numerous others.
  3. Stroll the Ghats – the entire city has Ghats lined right on the bank of River Ganga. Each Ghat has its own relevance and story. Some are used for bathing others are used for Aarti and other puja rituals but the antiquity and regality of the Ghats remain constant.

Best time to Visit – October till March (average temperature: 5 to 15 degrees Celsius)

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