"Varanasi - The City of Light" Top 5 Page for this destination Varanasi by Donna_in_India
Varanasi Travel Guide: 655 reviews and 1,524 photos
“Benares [ Varanasi ] was famous before Rome was known, and for many centuries has claimed and gained the homage of every devout Hindu. It is the Oxford and Mecca of Hinduism. Its river, its temples, its banks, are known and revered throughout India. Its very air and soil are counted holy. Residence in the city ensures salvation, death there makes salvation doubly sure”. Reverend Charles Phillips Cape described Varanasi in his book “Benares, the stronghold of Hinduism” published in January 1909.
Varanasi is considered the world's oldest city. The original name was 'Kashi,' derived from 'Kasha,' meaning brightness.It is also known as Banaras or Benaras. It sits bank of the holy river Ganga (Ganges), and is one of the seven sacred spots for Hindus. Every devout Hindu hopes to visit Varanasi at least once in his lifetime. A bath/dip in the Ganga washes away all sins and to die in Varanasi is a release from the cycle of reincarnation.
It is said that there are over 80 ghats - long flights of steps leading to the banks of the Ganges - in Varanasi. Most of the ghats are bathing ghats although there are a few "burning" or cremation ghats. Early morning is the best time to visit the ghats. Take a sunrise boat ride and you'll see the river come to life with devotees taking a ritual bath, shaving, brushing their teeth, soaping themselves up, and washing their clothes. On the river ghats you'll see people doing pujas or practicing yoga.
You can walk the whole length of the ghats - a great people-watching experience! Along with the sunrise boat ride, a dusk boat ride leading to the evening aarti is another must see. The aarti is performed at the Dasaswamedh Ghat by five young pandits/priests. The smell of the incense and the sounds of the chanting are almost hypnotic.
Other things to do in Varanasi...visit temples, head to Sarnath, visit, the fort, etc. but most of your time will be spent around the ghats. Varanasi offers a different experience to each person. Looking back now I think it deserves a second visit. The first one can be overwhelming and for me, did not live up to my expectations. Taking what I know now, I think I would enjoy it more the second time around.
- In a nutshell:It deserves a second visit.
This was a really nice 5 star in Varanasi. The hotel is beautiful. Our room was really nice and clean, bed was very... more travel advice
Small diyas with a candle and flower are given as offerings to Maa Ganga, goddess of the most holy river in India, at... more travel advice
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