Tour Itineraries for Varanasi :
Between the rivers Varuna and Ashi as they join the Ganges, Varanasi takes its name from its location. It is also called Kashi or the city of light, but the British had coined their own name for the place-Benaras. Modern-day Varanasi is on the west bank of the Ganges (also Ganga) and extends into a myriad collection of narrow lanes that form an integral part of it.
A Varanasi tour renders incomplete without boating in the waters of Ganges. The numerous ghats along the bank of the Ganges present varied scenes from dawn to dusk. A ghat in Varanasi usually has small temples while the larger structures, housing the powerful Hindu deities form the backdrop of the serene beauty of the meandering river. These ghats numbering more than a hundred, with their entourage of temples, form the axis on which the city developed.
History of Varanasi
Almost midway in its long journey from the slopes of the mighty Himalayas to the inflamed shore of Bay of Bengal, the muddy waters of the Ganges flow by a city that is five centuries older than Christ. The city finds mention in the great epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. It was already an old city when Rome was founded, and was a flourishing center of trade when Buddha came to Sarnath, some 10 km away, to preach his first sermon in 500 bc. It is a city of temples and for more than 2,500 years, it has attracted pilgrims from near and far. According to Hindu belief, Benaras or Varanasi as it is known, is the cosmic center of the Universe. The renowned American novelist Mark Twain once wrote, "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together."
Down the ages, Varanasi has stood as a symbol of Hindu renaissance. Swathed in an aura of history, religion, and tradition, Varanasi preserved the rituals and traditions of Hindu philosophy. From a time stretching beyond human memory, pilgrims from distant lands have come to Varanasi in search of divine blessings.
Tourist Places in Varanasi
There are five important ghats in Varanasi where the pilgrims flock to take a bath-the Assi, Dasawamedha, Barnasangam, Panchganga, and Manikarnika. Each ghat has its own history. The best time to visit the ghats is at the break of dawn specially to perform Surya Namaskar.
Although Varanasi is famous as a Hindu pilgrimage center, one cannot ignore its distinct Muslim heritage. The great mosque of Varanasi, Gyanvyapi Masjid with minarets towering 71 m above the Ganges is also to be visited while your tour to Varanasi
There is also the Golden Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. Next to the temple is the Well of Knowledge, where, as legend says the original Shiva lingam lies hidden. The Bharat Mata temple, the one of its only kind has is a marble relief map of Independent India. Benaras Hindu University is the largest residential university in Asia, a center of Sanskrit, Indian art, culture, and music. Of the numerous temples that dot Varanasi, the important ones are the Durga Temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir, Vinayaka Temple, Annapurna Temple, Kal Bhairav, Jateshwar Mahadeo, and Maha Mritunjaya Temple.
Benarasi silk sarees and brocades are famous all over India. You can also buy fine silk with very little dazzle of gold. For music lovers, the city boasts of skillfully designed sitars (a stringed musical instrument). A city with a long history of music, Varanasi also offers various other musical instruments to the tourists like-tabla, pakhawaj, shehnai, to name a few.
Fairs and Festivals
The major festivals that are grandly celebrated in Poornima, Maha Shivratri, Holi and Dhrupad Mela. The unique festival calendar goes throughout the year, giving you the liberty to plan your tour to Kashmir India anytime and everytime.
Benarasi mithais (sweets) and the famous Benarasi paan (betel leaf) are two specialties found in this magical city. Thickened milk and Nimmish are the delicacies only in winter.
How to Reach Himachal Pradesh
Varanasi is well connected by air to several cities in India. Varanasi also has two railway stations-Kashi and Varanasi Junction (also Cantonment Station). There are not many direct trains between Delhi and Varanasi, most Delhi-Kolkata trains pass through Mughalsarai, which is 10 km south of Varanasi. For local transport, city buses, taxis, and auto-rickshaws are available within the city.