Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Kashi and Banaras are other names of the Varanasi. Nestled on the left bank of the Ganga in southern Uttar Pradesh, it is one of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism. This consecrated city has been attracting pilgrims for centuries being the spiritual capital of India.
According to Hindu beliefs, one who is graced to die on the land of Varanasi would attain salvation and freedom from the cycle of birth and re-birth. The city is the abode of Lord Shiva and Parvati, and As per stories Lord Shiva finds this city. There are around 2,000 temples along the winding roads of Varanasi.
As far as Varanasi is concerned, the city remains jam-packed with people, locals as well as tourists throughout the year. Along with being the spiritual centre, it is also a very famous city in tourist attraction. The Ganga passes through Banaras and so many Ghats holding religious values, dot the city. The most memorable experience of a person at the Ghats would be during Ganga Aarti, which is unique in itself. Almost in every corner of the city, you can find a Hindu temple.
Varanasi is a perfect combination of history, spirituality, culture, and traditions that no one could afford to not visit this holy travel destination.
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Top Tourist destinations in Varanasi
- Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple
- Assi Ghat
- Dashashwamedh Ghat
- Shri Satyanarayan Tulsi Manas Mandir
- Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir
- Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath
- Durga Temple
1. Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple – Most Visited in Varanasi
The temple of Kashi Vishwanath is one of the most sacred sites for Shaivites. It is among the 12 Jyotirlinga, shrines which have been the most sacred abodes of Shiva. The main deity at the shrine is Vishveshwar or Vishwanath, which is the name of Shiva.
Kashi Vishwanath is one of the most prominent temples in the whole country. It is also popular as the Golden Temple belongs to Lord Shiva with the gold plating of 800 kg on its tower.
No electronic devices like cameras and mobile phones are allowed inside the shrine. ‘Jnana Vapi’ or Wisdom Well is also present within the temple complex, which only Hindus can access.
2. Assi Ghat – Famous Ghat of Banaras
Assi Ghat is the southernmost ghat in Varanasi, situated at the junction of the Ganga and Assi rivers. The Ghat has been mentioned in ancient Hindu scriptures like Matasya Purana, Agni Purana, Kurma Purana, Padma Purana, and Kashi Khanda. Another name for Assi Ghat is ‘Saimbeda Tirtha’.
People visit Assi Ghat for several reasons like to soak in the spiritual atmosphere and enjoy the famous evening aarti. Here you can get a glimpse into the local culture of the holy city of Varanasi. According to the Hindu disciples, taking a dip at Assi Ghat (where two rivers, Ganga and Assi meet) is the same as taking a dip in another thousand holy rivers.
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3. Dashashwamedh Ghat
It is the main ghat in Varanasi and is located close to Vishwanath temple. Being one of the oldest and the most sacred ghats in Banaras, thousands of devotees come here to take a dip in the holiest river, River Ganga. From here, one can overlook the immense religious significance and the impressive structure of the Vishwanath temple. It attracts a large number of visitors- both locals and tourists.
The famous Ganga aarti, an elaborate and lively ceremony takes place here every evening. The aarti is performed by pandits dressed in saffron robes with incense sticks and large brass lamps. All the while, the rhythmic chanting of mantras permeates the air and positivity spreads all around.
4. Shri Satyanarayan Tulsi Manas Mandir
Tulsi Manas Mandir is one of the most famous and revered temples in Varanasi. This is a temple with great historical and spiritual importance to Hindus. Hindu poet-saint Tulsidas Goswami write The ancient Hindu epic Shri Ramcharitmanas at this place in the 16th century.
The idol of Shri Rama Mata Janaki, Signs, and Hanuman is located in the centre of the temple; along with the statue of Saint Tulsi Das which is there on the second floor. It has built completely with marble, and Seth Ratan Lal Sureka creates this masterpiece. The then-President of India Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan inaugurated the temple in 1964. The temple’s speciality lies in the inscription of Ramcharitmanas on the walls throughout the entire temple
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5. Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir
Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple belongs to the Hindu God Hanuman. The famous Hindu preacher and poet saint Shri Goswami Tulsidas built the temple on the banks of the Assi River. The temple is around four hundred years old and it’s the place where Hanuman ji gave darshan to Ram devotee Goswami Tulsidasji. After giving darshan, Bajrangbali assumed the form of clay and got established here.
They also deck the idol of Lord Hanuman with a pleasant marigold flower garland. The special sweet “besan ke laddoo” is famous for Prasad to Hanuman ji.
Here the statue of Lord Hanuman is facing his lord, Rama. This distinction is unique and makes the temple special.
6. Dhamek Stupa, Sarnath
Dhamek Stupa is a massive stupa that marks the exact location where the Buddha preached his first discourse to his five disciples. It is one of the most prominent Buddhist structures in India. They built it in 500 CE to replace the older structure from Ashoka in 249 BCE.
Its circumference has beautifully ornate inscriptions and the lower floor of the stupa has magnificent floral carvings. Built from bricks, mortar, and stone in large quantities, Dhamek Stupa is the most attractive structure in Sarnath.
7. Durga Temple
Right adjacent to Durga Kund, Durga Mandir is a renowned temple in the spiritual city of Varanasi. Rani Bhabani of Natore erected it in the 18th century, and it holds sacred significance for Goddess Durga. This temple, tinted red with ochre, is built in the North Indian Nagara style of temples and features an ornate shikhara.
As per the locals, the image of Goddess Durga is not created by anyone. It emerged on its own naturally. The Durga temple is a popular tourist site and of great importance. A visit to this temple is protect one from all problems and Devli’s eye. Durga temple is famous as Monkey Temple due to the presence of many monkeys at the shrine site.
Some Other Top Places to Visit in Varanasi – Distance from Railway Station
- Sarnath – 13 km
- Manikarnika Ghat – 3.5 km
- Ramnagar Fort – 13 km
- Bharat Mata Temple – 2.5 km
- Durga Temple – 3.5 km
- Banaras Hindu University (BHU) – 5 km
- Chunar Fort – 46 km
- Alamgir Mosque – 4.5 km
- Kedar Ghat – 2.5 km
- Nepali Temple (Kathwala Temple) – 2.5 km
- Jain Ghat – 2 km
- Gyanvapi Mosque – 2.5 km
- Ganges River Boat Ride – 2 km
- Ghat of the Holy Ganges – 2 km
- Ramnagar Museum – 13 km
- Nepali Mandir (Nepal Temple) – 2 km
- Jantar Mantar – 3.5 km
- Kriti Gallery – 1 km
- Bharat Kala Bhavan – 4.5 km
- Harishchandra Ghat – 3.5 km
- Gyan Kup (Well of Wisdom) – 3 km
- Man Mandir Observatory – 1.5 km
- Kaal Bhairav Temple – 3 km
- Bharat Mata Mandir (Mother India Temple) – 2.5 km
- Kedar Nath Temple – 2 km
- Gauri Matha Temple – 2.5 km
- Vishalakshi Temple – 2 km
- Trilochan Ghat – 2.5 km
- Lolark Kund – 3.5 km
- Siddha Peeth Shri Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir – 4 km
- Sankata Devi Temple – 4 km
- Mahamrityunjaya Temple – 3.5 km
- Gyan Vyapi Well – 2.5 km
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