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Varanasi

Varanasi Tour Operators Packages

Varanasi

one of the oldest living cities of the world, is situated on the north bank of Holy River Ganga and is located midway between Delhi and Calcutta. It is known as the religious and cultural capital of India. Its known history dates back to about 3500 hundred years, during which it has continuously been populated. However, Hindus believe that the city is eternal. Varanasi has also been known as
Kashi and Benares, but its present name is restoration of an ancient name meaning the city between two rivers - the Varuna and Asi. For the pious Hindu the city has always had a special place. Varanasi is one of the largest cities in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Products of the city include shawls, saris, gold-embroidered cloth, hand-hammered brassware, and heavy gold and silver jewellery. Varanasi is especially known for its fine silk fabrics. It is also home to the Diesel Locomotive Works of Indian Railways, one of the largest locomotive manufacturing plants in the World. The Ganges or the Ganga River is one of the greatest attractions of Varanasi. Devout Hindus make pilgrimages from all parts of India to bathe in the Ganges, whose water they believe to be sacred. Along the river, stairways have been set-up, known as ghats, from which people can bathe before saying their daily prayers. Every year, over a million pilgrims visit the city. Varanasi is also known for its large temples and its monasteries and palaces.
Varanasi Tour Operators Packages

History

The land of Varanasi (Kashi) has been an ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus for ages. Often referred to as Benares, Varanasi is the oldest living city in the world and as Mark Twain said, "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together". Hindus believe that one, who is graced to die on the land of Varanasi, would attain
salvation and freedom from the cycle of birth and re-birth. Abode of Lord Shiva and Parvati, who are believed to be the foremost citizens of the city as they lived here for sometime after their marriage and worshipped for being the holiest city along side Ganga, the origins of Varanasi are yet unknown. Ganges in Varanasi is believed to have the power to wash away the sins of mortals and thus, the innumerable Ghats of Ganga in the city are accounted for. Situated in the U.P. region, Ganges is said to have its origins in the tresses of Lord Shiva and in Varanasi, it expands to the mighty river that we know of. The city is a center of learning and civilization for over 3000 years. With Sarnath, the place where Buddha preached his first sermon after enlightenment, just 10 km away, it has been a symbol of Hindu renaissance. Varanasi has also been a leader in the promotion of Hindi language and honored authors such as the ever-famous novelist Prem Chand, Tulsi Das, the famous saint-poet who wrote Ram Charit Manas and Ravi Shankar, the internationally renowned Sitar maestro are all sons of the blessed city or have lived here for major part of their lives. Knowledge, philosophy, culture, devotion to Gods, Indian arts and crafts have all flourished here for centuries. Also a pilgrimage place for Jains, Varanasi is the birthplace of their Tirthankar Parsvanath.

Fairs and Festivals

Varanasi Fairs and Festivals

Ganga Festival

Celebrated usually in October or November, this festival at Varanasi is dedicated to River Ganga. Ganges is worshipped for her glory and ritualistic importance with ardent fervor and festivity.

Bharat Milap

Celebrating Lord Ram's return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and His reunion with His brother Bharat, the festival is held one day following Dussehra. Attended by the Kashi Naresh resplendent in regal finery, the festival attracts at least a million devotees.
Varanasi Tour

Buddh Purina

Celebrating the birth of Lord Buddha, this festival is celebrated with gaiety and rare abandon. A large fair is held at Sarnath and the relics of the Buddha are taken out for a public display on a procession, on this day.

Ramlila

This world renowned Ram Lila has been based on Goswami Tulsidas's 'Ramcharitmanas' and one can see a live demonstration of ancient rituals. A month long feast for the tourists. Ramlila is performed in the form of Ram Janmotsav, Dhanush Bhang, Surpnakha Nasika Chedan etc. at various places.

Mahashivratri

On this day every Shiv Mandir in decorated. In Varanasi a marriage procession of Lord Shiv is taken out starting from Mahamritunjaya temple, Daranagar to Kashi Vishwanath temple via chowk. Round 50,000 - 60,000 people gather to see this event.
Tour Varanasi

Panch Koshi Parikrama

It has a special importance in the ancient Parikramas of India, starting and finishing at Manikarnika Ghat. Each parikrama passes through 5 places : Kardmeshwar, Bhimchani, Rameshwar, Shivpur and Kapildhara.

Cuisine

The sumptuous and delicious but tangy and spicy North Indian food and snacks are the best options to try at Varanasi. However, one can get good Chinese, Italian, Continental and South-Indian food too. There are good number of Byzantine eateries and restaurants in the cities where one can explore for the food that suits one's tastes. The wide variety of mouth-watering sweets and snacks are just not to be missed. There is 'paapri-chaat', which plays with your taste buds with its tangy and spicy flavor of ginger and tamarind chutney and the cooling and soothing yoghurt.While talking about the specialties of Benarasi flavors, who can ever forget the sour and sweet 'Langda aam', a variety of mango available in summers and the frVaranasint 'Benarasi paan' that is often added with aromatic essences such as that of rose and 'supari' (areca-nut) along with other goodies. Chewing this 'paan' seems to be a part of the cultural identity of the people of Varanasi.

The Ghats of River Ganges, Varanasi

In Varanasi, Ghats of Ganga are perhaps the holiest spots in the city of Varanasi. These bathing ghats are full of pilgrims who flock to the place to take a holy dip in the Ganges that is believed to absolve one from all sins. There are number of temples on the bank of the river for people, thus cleansed physically, mentally and spiritually, to pray and worship. Since centuries, people go to these ghats even before dawn so that they can offer their prayers to the rising sun. There are more than 100 ghats along side Ganga in Varanasi alone but perhaps the most popular one is the Dasaswamedh Ghat situated on the western bank of the river.

How to Get There

By Air

There are daily domestic flights to and from Varanasi to several cities in India. In fact, the daily flights on Delhi-Varanasi-Khajuraho- Varanasi route are quite popular among the tourists.

Buy Train

There are two railway stations in Varanasi, the Kashi Junction and the Varanasi Junction, also known as the Cantonment Station. It is well connected to Delhi and Calcutta by many Buy Trains and also to the other significant Indian cities. Rajdhani Express from Delhi or from Calcutta passes through Varanasi too. Alternatively, one can also take Buy Trains for Mughalsarai, just 10 km south of Varanasi.

By Road

Varanasi has a good network of roads, frequent public and private buses and road transport to all the major towns of Uttar Pradesh and nearby areas.