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Varanasi An Ancient Holy City

VARANASI AN ANCIENT HOLY CITY











KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE 
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. The Temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganga and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva Temples. The main deity is known by the name Shri Vishwanath and also by the ancient name of deity Vishweshwara (IAST: Vishweshwara literally means Ruler of the Universe.
The city of Varanasi An Ancient Holy City has been known as Kashi since ancient times, it is mentioned in Hindu Puranas. Vara: Excellent means Supreme Lord of the Universe the Parabrahman or Parameshwara as its synonyms.
It has been destroyed and re-constructed a number of times in history. The last structure was demolished by Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor who constructed the Gyanvapi Mosque on its site. The current structure was built on an adjacent site by the Maratha ruler, Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780.
Since 1983, the temple has been managed by the government of Uttar Pradesh. During the religious occasion of Shivratri, Kashi Naresh (King of Kashi) is the chief officiating priest.




  
   

HISTORY

 Varanasi an Ancient Holy City temple has been mentioned in the Puranas including the Kashi Khanda (section) of Skanda Purana. The original Vishwanath temple was destroyed by the army of Qutb-ud-din Aibak in 1194 CE, when he defeated the Raja of Kannauj as a commander of Mohammad Ghori. The temple was rebuilt by a Gujarati merchant during the reign of Delhi's Sultan Iltutmish (1211–1266 CE). It was demolished again during the rule of either Hussain Shah Sharqi (1447–1458) or Sikandar Lodhi (1489–1517). Raja Man Singh built the temple during Mughal emperor Akbar's rule, but some Hindus boycotted it as he had let the Mughals marry within his family. Raja Todar Mal further re-built the temple with Akbar's funding at its original site in 1585.
Varanasi is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the whole world. Its early history is that of the first Aryan settlement in the middle Ganges valley. By the second millennium BCE, Varanasi was a seat of Aryan religion and was a commercial and industrial center, known for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture. Varanasi was the capital of the kingdom of Kashi during the time of the Buddha who gave his first sermon nearby at Sarnath. The city remained a Centre of religious, educational, and artistic activities as attested by the celebrated Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang, who visited it in about 635 CE and said that the city extended for about 3 miles (5 km) along the western bank of the Ganges.

Varanasi has been a city of Hindu learning through the ages. There are innumerable schools and countless Brahman pundits (learned scholars), who are responsible for the continuation of traditional learning. There are three universities, including the large and important Banaras Hindu University (1915), and more than a dozen colleges and high schools. The festival of BHARAT MILAP in October or November commemorates the reunion of Lord Rama with his younger brother Bharat after 14 years of exile. A five-day festival of dhrupad (classical Indian vocal style) in March attracts renowned artists from all over India to the city’s Tulsi Ghat along the river. According to Hindu mythology, Varanasi An Ancient Holy City was founded by Shiva, one of three principal deities along with Brahma and Vishnu. During a fight between Brahma and Shiva, one of Brahma's five heads was torn off by Shiva. As was the custom, the victor carried the slain adversary's head in his hand and let it hang down from his hand as an act of ignominy, and a sign of his own bravery.
A bridle was also put into the mouth. Shiva thus dishonoured Brahma's head, and kept it with him at all times. When he came to the city of Varanasi in this state, the hanging head of Brahma dropped from Shiva's hand and disappeared in the ground. Varanasi is therefore considered an extremely holy site.
The Pandavas, the protagonists of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, are said to have visited the city in search of Shiva to atone for their sin of fratricide and Brāhmanahatya that they had committed during the climactic Kurukshetra War. It is regarded as one of seven holy cities (Sapta Puri) which can provide Moksha; Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Kashi, Kanchi, Avanti, and Dvārakā are the seven cities known as the givers of liberation.
Varanasi has been a cultural centre of northern India for several thousand years, and is closely associated with the Ganges. Hindus believe that dying here and getting cremated along the banks of the "holy" Ganges river allows one to break the cycle of rebirth and attain salvation, making it a major center for pilgrimage. The city is known worldwide for its many ghats, embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform ritual ablutions. Of particular note are the Dashashwamedh Ghat, the Panchganga Ghat, the Manikarnika Ghat and the Harish Chandra Ghat, the last two being where Hindus cremate their dead and the Hindu genealogy registers at Varanasi an ancient holy city are kept here.


POPULATION
            
            VARANASI is a city situated in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is the supernatural capital of India. The city lies along National Highway 2, which interfaces with Kanpur, Agra, and Delhi. The city developed as a key present-day centre known for silk, fragrances and so on. Buddha is said to have developed Buddhism here in 528 BC. The city’s religious significance kept developing in the eighth century. The Pandavas are known to have visited here in search of Shiva to for various reasons and issues related to the Kurukshetra War.
To know the population of Varanasi in 2019, the population of the past 5 years has to be checked. They are as per the following.

2014 –3.92 Million
2015 –3.98 Million
2016 – 4.06 Million
2017 – 4.106 Million
2018 – 4.1552 Million

When you see the population of Varanasi from 2014-18, it has been seen that the population has gone up by 0.2352 Million in the past 5 years. Therefore, the population of the city increases per year by 0.04704 Million. The population of Varanasi in the year of 2019 is 4.1552 Million + 0.04704 Million = 4.20224 Million. In conclusion, the population of Varanasi in 2019 as per estimates = 4.20224 Million.
Varanasi Population 2019 –4.20224 Million. (Estimated)


 How to Reach Varanasi

A) By Bus- Varanasi is connected to major cities of Uttar Pradesh and neighboring states by state-run buses. Private air-conditioned buses are also available from nearby cities to Varanasi.

b) By Rail-By Train
The Varanasi railway station is connected to major cities of India via rail. From the railway station, tourists can hire a taxi or a cab to explore the city.
        
c) By Air
Varanasi airport is well-linked to some of the major cities in India like Delhi and Mumbai. International tourists can board connecting flights from Delhi airport is well-connected to all the major cities in the world.

Varanasi Flight Schedule

Airline Dep – Arr. Days Duration & Stops
DEL VNS SpiceJet (SG 2195) 6:25- 8:00 M T W T F S S 1h35m & Non Stop
DEL VNS Indigo (6E 308) 8:55- 10:15 M T W T F S S 1h20m & Non Stop
DEL VNS Air India (AI 406) 10:15- 11:35 M T W T F S S 1h20m & Non Stop
DEL VNS JetAirways(9W 2423) 10:40- 12:10 M T W T F S S 1h30m & Non Stop
DEL VNS Vistara (UK 970) 11:40- 13:00 M T W T F S S 1h20m & Non Stop
                 

FACTS ABOUT Varanasi An Ancient Holy City

    The archaeological assertion of the earlier known settlements around Varanasi in the Ganges valley proposes that they started in the twentieth century BC, which makes it one of the world’s oldest urban areas. Chandra deva, creator of the Gahadvala dynasty made the city the second capital in the year 1090.
The city of Varanasi saw a revamping of Hindu culture in the 16th century under Mughal Emperor Akbar, who put everything to make two big temples committed to Shiva and also Lord Vishnu.
In the midst of the period of Gautama Buddha, it was the capital of The Kingdom of Kashi. It is said that Buddha set up Buddhism in the city around 528 BC when he gave his first message.
The city of Varanasi was made by Lord Shiva. The Pandavas came here in a search of Shiva for numerous things and issues related to the Kurukshetra War.


RELIGIOUS SANCTITY AND SPIRITUALITY


   Varanasi An Ancient Holy City is the capital of Hindu culture and religion. With the first ray of sunlight, people on the Ghats can be seen offering their prayers to the Sun god. Temples and Ghats will fill you up with a sense of spiritual upliftment as you participate and understand the rites and rituals being performed. In Varanasi, a local resident or pundit at the Ghats or temples will be happy to give you a storytelling session on Hindu folklores. These have been passed on to succeeding generations from ancient times and explain the history of Hindu traditions and rituals.




BE PREPARED

HYGIENE CONCERNS
     Since the population of the city has increased steadily over the years, the sanitation and hygiene conditions at many places are neglected. You might come across open drains at a few places in an otherwise clean city.

BEWARE OF PICKPOCKETS
     As the city grows in fame, so do petty crimes. Beware of pickpockets while in Varanasi; don’t carry a large amount of cash in your wallets.


VISITING SCAMS
     You have to be on guard against and impersonators in Varanasi who claim to be pundits or spiritual guides. If you are a foreigner and are going to visit Varanasi An Ancient Holy City and are going to go then always take care of some things. Always hone the registered guide, more questions than any unknown person

THINGS TO DO

  Kashi Vishwanath Temple Overview
    One of the most sacred temples in India, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to Lord Kashi Vishwanath, one of the many manifestations of Lord Shiva. The temple is believed to be a dedication to Vishvanath Jyotirlingas, one of the 12 sacred Jyotirlingas in the Hindu religion.

Opening Closing Time
For Darshans: 3 am to 4 am (for ticket holders) | 4 am to 11 am (General Darshans) | 12 pm to 7 pm 9 pm (General Darshans)
Closing time: 11 pm
Entrance Fee
For Aartis: Rs. 201


New Vishvanath Temple Overview
  
 
 The new Vishvanath Temple is situated inside the Banaras Hindu University campus and is also known as the Golden Temple. Beautiful and spellbinding sculptures of Hindu deities light up the walls of the temple. The temple is open to everyone irrespective of caste, creed or religion.







Opening Closing Time
4 am to 12 pm | 1 pm to 9 pm | Open all days
Aartis: 4 am to 4.45 am | 10.30 am | 11.45 am | 12 pm | 1 pm | 6.45 pm | 7.30 pm | 8 pm | 8.45 pm |
On Shivratri opens – 4 am to 12 pm

Panchganga Ghat Overview
   As the name suggests, Panchganga Ghat is the place where five sacred rivers converge to form an overwhelming spectacle of beauty and holiness. The five holy rivers are the Ganges, Sarasvati, Yamuna, Kirana and Dhupapapa.
The Panchganga Ghat stands as an example of Hindu-Muslim harmony. The Mosque of Alamgir, also known as Beni Madhav-ka-Darera stands tall near the Ghat on a site where it is believed stood the Bindu Madhava Temple.

Opening Closing Time
5 am to 9 pm (Daily)

Dasaswamedha Ghat Overview

  The Dasaswamedha Ghat is one of the most important religious sites in Varanasi An Ancient Holy City. Mythology states that this was the place where Lord Brahma successfully performed the ritual of Dasa Ashvamedha (10 horses) sacrifice. Many temples are situated in the vicinity of the Ghat and quite a few rituals are performed there.


Opening Closing Time
5 am to 9 pm | Spectacular Ganga Aarti: 6:30 pm

 St. Thomas Church Overview

   Varanasi is a cauldron of different cultures and religions, Hinduism being the dominant flavor. But you can find other places of worship apart from the beautiful Hindu temples. St. Thomas Church is famous for its distinct louvered doors and hooded ventilation. The church has a beautiful design with a projecting portico.

Opening Closing Time
7 am to 8 pm (Daily)
Location
Near IG Police Office, Cantonment, at a distance of 2 kilometers from Cantt. The railway station, Varanasi


Tourism at Assi Ghat



    ASSI GHAT is the Southernmost Ghat in Varanasi. To most visitors to Varanasi An Ancient Holy City, it is known for being a place where long-term foreign students, researchers, and tourists live. Assi Ghat is one of the ghats often visited for recreation and during festivals. On typical days about 300 people visit every hour in the mornings, and on festival days 2500 people arrive per hour. Most of the people visiting the Ghat on usual days are students from the nearby Banaras Hindu University. The Ghat accommodates about 22,500 people at once during festivals like Shivratri.

There are a lot of activities for tourists to engage in at the Ghat. Visitors can go for a boat rides, go up in a hot-air balloon for an aerial view of Assi Ghat, enjoy the daily talent show in the evening or eat at one of the many restaurants and cafes in the area.

Old people in a group chat in the evening at Assi Ghat
Hindus believe that it was at Assi Ghat that Tulsidas left for his heavenly abode.

After the 2010 Varanasi bombing, the city-commissioned extra police to the Assi Ghat neighborhood in order to more quickly resolve problems which tourists might have.





THE SEASON YOU LIKE MOST

Peak Season
   The best time to visit Varanasi is during the winter months (November to February). Although it gets fairly cold during the winter, this is the best time when you can explore the holy city without getting tired. The average low temperature is around 5°C.

Off-Season
    You can plan a spiritual journey to Varanasi An Ancient Holy City, any time of the year but remember that summers in Varanasi last long (from April to October) and the temperature generally is on the higher side of 30°C going up to 45°C in peak summers. If you go during this time, don't forget to carry your sunscreen.


Note- Did you know? According to archaeological evidence, the settlement around 1: Google Analytics





How Safe is It Travel to Varanasi?

 
 It is safe to travel in Varanasi alone. It is a melting pot. When in Varanasi, do attend the Ganga Aarti in the morning at Assi Ghat and in the evening at Dasashwameh Ghat and is a better way to watch Aarti is from a boat in the river. You must do a stroll along the Ghats.
But after all, you need some precaution/safety. Be safe and follow the proper instruction.

NOTE: NEW RULE IN KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE IN VARANASI, 

DEVOTEES WILL NOT GET TOUCH OF GOD IN JEANS, T-SHIRT

The famous Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi has decided to implement a dress code for devotees before entering the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.
Devotees who touch the Jyotirlingas (called Adarsh ​​Darshans) in the sanctum sanctorum will now have to wear a dhoti-kurta. The temple administration has decided to this effect after meeting with the Kashi University Council (the oldest and recognized body of Sanskrit scholars and Vedic experts in the city) on Sunday evening. The Minister of Tourism and Charitable Affairs presiding over the meeting, Dr. Neelkanth Tiwari. , For detailed Darshans from time to time seeking suggestions from Councilor members so that many more devotees can touch the Jyotirlingas.

Professor Ramachandran Pandey and other council members unanimously stated that the time could be extended to 11 am. He suggested that there should be a dress code to have Adarsh ​​Darshans. After discussion, the dhoti-kurta was fixed for the male devotees and the saree for the female devotees, which was set to be an ideal Darshans.

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