Varanasi

Varanasi

Varanasi, also known as Banaras, Benaras and Kashi is holy pilgrimage destination for Hindus. It is situated n the banks of River Ganga in Uttar Pradesh of North India, 320 km off Lucknow, the state capital. Sightseeing in Varanasi is largely centered on its Ghats or river landings. River Ganga flows through the city in a semi circular form, and thousands of faithful take a dip in its holy waters and pray at the first light of the dawn. Morning boat rides down the river are very popular among the pilgrims and the tourists. Varanasi has numerous temples of religious and historical importance that have earned it many sobriquets like "The City of Temples", "The Religious Capital of India", "The Holy City of India", "The City of Learning", "The City of Lights" etc.

Holy City:

Varanasi is holy city for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and faithful of other religions. Buddha preached his first sermon at Sarnath which is close to Varanasi and moved the wheel of Dhamma about 2500 years ago. Hence Sarnath holds great significance for Buddhists and a stupa is constructed there to mark this important event of Buddha's life. Varanasi is the birth place of some highly revered Jain Tirthankars viz. Suparshvanath, Parshiva and Shreyansanath. Founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev visited Varanasi on Shivratri of 1507. Annie Besant founded Central Hindu College in Varanasi which was later converted into Benaras Hindu University. Roman Catholic Diocese of Varanasi is of significant importance for the expatriate community living here. A sizeable Muslim population lives in the city. Alamgir Mosque, also known as Beni Mahadev ka Dera and Aurganzeb Mosque dominates the skyline of Panchganga Ghat. The mosque is visited by numerous faithful every day and remains crowded on Fridays.

Panchatirtha Yatra is among the most popular tours of Varanasi which consists of sightseeing and bathing at the five most sacred Ghats of Varanasi. The five Ghats are Asi Ghat, Dashashwamedha Ghat, Panchganga Ghat, Adi Keshava Ghat and Manikarnika Ghat. Panchtirtha Yatra starts from Asi Ghat and terminates at Manikarnika Ghat. Each of the five Ghats has a Shiva Lingam and are situated on a 58 km long stretch on the coastal areas of river Ganga. The tour if covered on foot would take you 06 days to finish. Other important Ghats of Varanasi include Kedar Ghat, Narad Ghat, Hanuman Ghat, Chausathi Ghat, Harishchandra Ghat, Rana Ghat, Tulsi Ghat, Man Mandir Ghat, and Shivala Ghat.

Climate:

Varanasi experiences a humid subtropical temperature. Summer season is long that starts from April and stretches to October, though monsoon showers could be interspersed in between. Hot dry winds called Loo blow in the city during summer months. The temperature could vary from the minimum 22°C to the maximum 46 °C in summers. Cold waves from the Himalayan region cause the temperature to dip during the winter season of December to February when the minimum temperature could drop below 5 °C. Varanasi receives an average rainfall of 1100 mm.

Reaching Varanasi:

By Air : Varanasi Airport is 25 km from the city center. Daily flights run from Varanasi for Mumbai, Delhi and other parts of India.

By Train : Main railway station is in cantonment area which is just 3 km from the old city center. There is one more railway station at Mughal Sarai from where trains depart for all major destinations in India.

By Road : Varanasi is well networked with government and private buses with neighboring cities and other parts of Uttar Pradesh. Private taxis and cabs are also available in plenty for the tourists.

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