Varanasi, Banaras or Kashi, there are several names by which this place is known worldwide. It has been one of the greatest religious places for Hindus from long ages. The name Varanasi was originated from two popular rivers names: the Varuna, which is still flowing in Varanasi and Assi (Which is not visible anymore but a small Nalla near Assi ghat which was once Assi river). This holy city is located around the Ganges River, in Uttar Pradesh State of India. People have the believe that river Ganga has the power to wash the sins of all living beings. It is among the oldest cities in the world and is believed to be the place of Lord Shiva and Parvati.
It is said that Lord Buddha preached his first even sermon at Sarnath, which is just 10 K.m. from Varanasi City. The name Kashi has even been mentioned in Rig-Veda (One of the oldest Sculptures in World), this city has become famous because of its temples and old learning places where philosophy, culture, knowledge and Crafts are given more importance. These all are integral part of Varanasi and are the things that make this historical city unique from others.
Because of its number of temples Mrs. Annie Besant selected Varanasi as the home for her world renowned “Theosophical Society”. The biggest university in Asia i.e. Benaras Hindu University which was build by Pandit madan Mohan Malviya is also one of the places to visit in Varanasi. It is supposed that Ayurveda (Medicine created with natural products) major inventions have been done here. Varanasi also comes into focus because of its increasing trade and commerce business, especially for smooth silks. It has always been associated with promoting Sanskrit, Yoga and spiritualism all around the world. Every year thousands of tourists gather here to learn about spirituality and yoga that changes their way of thinking about their life.
When we come to tourism places in Varanasi, there are plenty of temples, ghats, forts and places that keep you feel amazed and make you to have another visit in your lifetime at these places. Some of the popular tourism hubs in Varanasi are:
- Kashi Vishwanath Temple: The most popular temple of Varanasi, it is dedicated to the main god of the city, Kashi Vishwanath the other name for lord Shiva. This temple is dedicated to Vishwanath Jyotirlinga that is in the premises of the temple. This Jyotirlinga is one of the twelve most important Jyotirlingas in consideration to religious significance. The temple was covered by two beautiful domes which were of gold, donated by Punjab Kesari in 1839. According to the locals, view of burning Vishwanath Jyotirlinga is considered to be one of the sacred events.
- Dasaswamedh Ghat: It is among one of the prominent ghats on the bank of Ganga River. It is visited by large number of tourist due to its religious importance of ten sacrificed horses. According to historical believes it is said that lord Brahma sacrified ten horses in order to allow lord Shiva return from banishment period. It is believed that the sacrifice of horses continued at the ghat by Bhara Shiva Naga rulers during second century.
- Jantar Mantar: It is another popular tourism attraction in Varanasi. It was constructed by the Maharaja of Jaipur Jai Singh in 1737. His passion and interest towards astronomy led to the establishment of this huge building. For constructing this type of monument he sent his scholars worldwide to study the construction and design of various foreign observations. This building was constructed to measure the local time and the altitude of that place. It was also used to measure the declination of sun, stars, planets and to determine the period of eclipses.
- Bharat Mata Temple: It is one of the temple constructed in 1936 by a Gandhian follower Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt, located in the campus of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth. It was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi, the shrine is dedicated to mother india and have marvelous marble structure. The temple is licated near the Ganga River and therefore gives a beautiful view of the ghats located nearby. The temple is in shape of pentagonal cone, supported by five pillars.
- Banaras Hindu University (BHU): BHU is the largest residential university in Asia, with more than 15,000 students residing in the campus. It was founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya in 1916.The campus is spread over more than 2760 acre campus, having 140 teaching departments. Several of its colleges such as IT – BHU( Engineering), IMS – BHU (Medicine), science, naturopathy and management studies are among top ranked colleges in the country. One can see the statue of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya while entering into the gate of BHU.