Thinking of a holiday trip to visit Varanasi? It can be one of the most interesting trips for you to remember. It is a common experience that Varanasi stuns the visitors its old world charisma and the fabled divine ambiance. You must have come across many stories about Varanasi and its religious aspects which automatically generate a lot of curiosity in itself. Before arriving in this holy city of eastern India, you would find yourself tackling several unanswered questions of mysticism about Varanasi inside your head. But as you start to explore the city at a relaxed pace, all these questions dissolve and the traveler in you feels more jubilant and rejuvenated.
Going by the words of the famous author Mark Twain, Varanasi is considered the oldest city of the world with a living population. The great author remarked that the age of the city precedes all the ancient legends and traditions that can be known. Go sightseeing around Varanasi, or Benares as it is fondly called, and you would be enchanted by its unique impressions.
Varanasi is situated on the banks of the forceful streams of river Ganga. It houses many temples. Probably the most acclaimed sacred places to visit in Varanasi are the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, Tulsi Manas Temple, Bharat Mata Temple, and Durga Temple.
Among every one of these sanctuaries, Kashi Vishwanath Mandir is the most well-known one and it reveres the Jyotirlinga of Shiva. History uncovers that this sanctuary had been pulverized twice by intruders yet it stands tall with all its elegance and holiness. Another most beguiling part of Benares is its long line up of ghats or the river banks, which looks amazing at the break of the first light. At the moment when the first beam of rising sun touches the stairs of these Ghats, they seem to wake up. Such is the overwhelming mysticism of the city of Varanasi.
To see Varanasi at its best, take a pontoon and cruise through river Ganga. On the boat ride, you can spot sadhus and devotees cleaning up and performing puja to the rising sun in the morning hours. Engage the boatman in a chat and you would come to know about every detail that you can extract about the fabled ghats of Benaras, especially the Dashashwamedh ghat and the Manikarnika ghat. These ghats have exceptional centrality.
Manikarnika Ghat symbolizes the creation and devastation (it is really popular as the principle cremation ghat of Varanasi) though Dashashwamedh Ghat is more renowned for its night aarti which looks so splendid against the cover of darkness. Along these lines, at night you can take part in the aarti function and keep no qualms the experience will be totally radiant. You can take pictures for memories of this unforgettable Varanasi trip.
While meandering through the narrowing streets of Varanasi, you would hear chants of mantras by the pujaris and pandits. The place teems with devotion and sacred appeal. According to Hindu priests, one who bites the dust in Varanasi is certain to achieve salvation and an opportunity to escape from the cycle of conception and resurrection, finally attaining moksha. Such is the holiness of Varanasi. No wonder, Kashi has long been the Gateway to Salvation.
Besides roaming about the streets for a real experience of Varanasi, you can also visit the Ramgarh Fort and Banaras Hindu University (BHU) for a different experience.
Varanasi is well connected to all parts of India. Coming from western India, you can take a Mumbai to Varanasi flight. The city is about 800 km from New Delhi. The nearest major cities to Varanasi are Patna, Kolkata and Lucknow. Have a great trip!