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Tourist Places To Visit In Varanasi
Varanasi or Banaras or Kashi, are names of the same holy city in northern India. One of the oldest settlements in the world, Varanasi is also considered one of the most sacred places in India by the Hindus. This land with the pious river Ganga flowing and hermits roaming in orange robes, temples and shrines scattered and peace prevailing; is centuries old. Varanasi is at once exceptionally old-world and freshly contemporary and has been one of the major educational centres in the world since time immemorial. Here are top tourist places you must visit when in Varanasi.
The Varanasi ghats are famous all over the world for the utter culture and devotion they invoke. These ghats are basically steps leading down to the river Ganga, used by pilgrims and bathers. The sacred aura that these ghats exude is something that will stay with you all your life. There are several ghats in Varanasi - Panchganga Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Dasaswamedh Ghat, Kedar Ghat, Tulsi Ghat and many more. All these beatific ghats are known for their spiritual ambience. Boat rides from one ghat to another are the major attraction here.
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is considered the holiest temple in India and is one of the most popular in this city of temples. Not only does this temple embody tranquil mysticism, it also flaunts a harmonious co-existence with a Mosque in the same premises. The divine vibes and vintage charm of the whole city is reflected in this temple so it's no wonder as to why hundreds of visitors throng the Vishwanath Temple every day. The opulence and sanctity of this temple is something that even history has recorded, and your trip to Varanasi will be outright incomplete without visiting this holy place.
Nestled on the opposite bank of the river Ganges, Ramnagar Fort is a red sandstone fort that encompasses a long history and graceful opulence. This eighteenth century monument is the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Banaras, and has a temple and a museum within its grounds. Reflecting a Mughal-era structure, Ramnagar Fort is a glorious picture in elegance and extravagant flair. Visit this place during the festival of Dussehra to see the month-long Ramlila that is inaugurated by the king of Kashi.
Said to be the place where Gautam Buddha first taught the Dharma, Sarnath or the deer park has a museum and Buddhist temples built by several Asian countries following their architectural styles. Extremely peaceful and sublime, Sarnath flaunts world-renowned and ancient structures like The Dhamek Stupa, Ashoka Pillar, Chaukhandi Stupa and Dharmarajika Stupa that are so imposing that they will make your troubles seem inconsequential and at the same time, you will feel strangely relaxed.
Man Mandir Observatory
Located not so far away from Dasaswamedh Ghat is the Man Mandir Observatory that is a famous tourist spot. It is made up of astronomical instruments that calculate time, prepare the lunar and solar calendar, and study the movements, distances and angles of the myriad planets, stars and other heavenly bodies. This celestial place will afford you a glimpse of the old, cosmic Varanasi, and will give you tons of transcendent memories to take back home.
Assi Ghat is one of the prime pilgrim spots in Varanasi, dedicated to Lord Shiva and his incarnation Lord Rudra. Here, pilgrims are pulled to worship the Shivling that is located under a peepul tree, milk it, offer flowers and prayers. Assi ghat is a very bright, colourful place with constant chatter and buzz of activity that rivals commotion. This bank captures the perfect harmony and symphony of the ancient town of Kashi, and the Sanskrit language is widely spoken around, a rarity in India these days. If you visit early in the morning or at the time of dusk, do not miss the Ganga aarti at Assi Ghat.
Dashashwamedh Ghat is another vivid, bright place in the town, known for its flamboyant nature and a spiritual peace that go hand in hand. It is beleived that the creator of the world Lord Brahma sacrificed 'dash ashvahaa' or 10 horses here in a yajna. That is the reason this ghat is named the 'dash-ashwa-medh' ghat. Regular agni pooja and Ganga aarti are held here, and special rituals carried out on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
For those who have watched the beautiful critically acclaimed movie Masaan, you shall definitely be familiar with this ghat. The same bank where the movie was shot and written for, the bank where cremation of dead bodies takes place, carried on by the workers who are shunned and considered 'lower' by the society. Manikarnika is considered to be a pious and auspicious place to die and be cremated at. Many terminally ill people come here to die, to be burnt here, so that their smoke be filed into the air of Manikarnika and their ashes immersed in Ganga by its side. Some sights of during flesh can be scary, and frankly scarring for those who haven't seen Hindu cremation before or are weak of the heart. So prepare yourself before you venture here.