Varanasi Oldest City world

Varanasi” the essential part of all spiritualism and mysticism of India, is situated on the bank of celestial river Ganges which is the life line of thousands of Indian.Like a loving mother this holy city is pampering all the religion as Hinduism, Jainism and budhhism.While Preceding deity is Lord Shiva here yet very surprisingly Vaishnavism and Shaivism have co-existed in Varanasi harmoniously. Holy River Ganga further enhances its sanctity. River Ganga is regarded as goddess and whole religious and cultural activities revolve around Ganga and Ganga Ghats. Thousands of pilgrims come every year to take holy dip In Ganga with the deep faith that the sacred river will wash off all their sins .this is the firm faith of Hindu believers that bathing in the Ganges remits sins and that dying in Kashi will set their spirit free from cycle of rebirth. Varanasi, is estimated by myth and legend, and sanctified by religion but wonderfully it is famed as “center of education ”also because Varanasi is home to four great universities: Banaras Hindu University- the biggest University in Asia. , Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies and Sampurnanand Sanskrit University.

This city is very much associated with the life of Gautam Buddha .Lord Buddha has chosen this place to give his first sermon to his disciples, to teach truth of life. Buddha himself regarded this place as one of four sacred places of earth. It is the birthplace of Suparshvanath, Shreyansanath, and Parshva, who are respectively the seventh, eleventh, and twenty-third Jain Tirthankars thus Varanasi is a great pilgrimage centre of Jainism also. Besides being religious centre the city is also famous for musical achievement. Banaras Gharana is one of the most important parts of Indian classical dance and music. Thus one can come to Varanasi not only to satisfy his spiritual quest but also to enjoy the other beautiful facets of the city.

Legendary history

Being one of the oldest city of world Varanasi is related to various myth and legend. According to legend, the city was founded around 5,000 years ago by the Lord Shiva, which makes it one of the most essential pilgrimage destinations in the country. Many Hindu scriptures, including the Rigveda, Skanda Purana, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata, chant the glory and past of the city and consider it one of the seven sacred cities of the Hindus. Varanasi is situated between the two tributaries of River Ganga- Varuna to the north and Asi to the south. Varanasi combines the name of both these rivers. This sacred place is city of legends. During the time of Gautama Buddha (born circa 567 BCE), Varanasi was the capital of the Kingdom of Kashi. The celebrated Chinese traveler, Xuanzang, attested that the city was a center of religious, educational, and artistic activities, and that it extended for about 5 km along the western bank of the Ganges.

The most fascinating part of the holy city of Varanasi is that almost all the activities seem to revolve around river Ganga and its Ghats. Hindus regard Kashi as one of the Shakti Peethas, Hindus of the Shakti sect make a pilgrimage to the city because they regard the river Ganges itself as the Goddess Shakti. Adi Shankara wrote his commentaries on Hinduism here, leading to the great Hindu revival.

The history of Varanasi is also related to legends which closely associate the city with Buddhism .Lord Buddha himself regarded kasha as one of the four pilgrimage sites,the others being Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya, and Lumbini. In the residential neighborhood of Varanasi lies Sarnath, the site of the deer park where Gautama Buddha is said to have given his first sermon about the basic principles of Buddhism. Varanasi is a pilgrimage site for Jains along with Hindus and Buddhists. It is believed to be the birthplace of Parshvanatha, the twenty-third Tirthankar. Islamic culture has also had an great influence on Varanasi.

Ganges Aarti-worshipping the divine river

The Great Ganga aarti is most important ritual of Varanasi performed daily on the river bank. Divine river Ganga descended on earth for the sake of well being of human being. So all over in India the river Ganga is being revered as a mother and worshipped as goddess. A large number of tourist and devotees assemble on the river banks of Ganga and chant the glory and obligation of Ganga with burning earthen lamp. This ritual is called Ganaga Arti. On such occasions a tone of hymn which is called Maa Ganga aarti is being sung. Aarti is a tone of worship, love towards god. And when thousands of people sing the Aarti with burning g earthen lamps it creates such heavenly sight which can mesmerize you with paramount of spiritual joy .

The grand Aarti
Although Aarti is organized daily morning and evening yet you can enjoy grand aarti of Ganga at evening, at Dasaashwamedh Ghat, conducted every sunset by five white-robed priests. These five young men sway in apparently choreographed movements, worshiping the river goddess with incense, camphor, flowers and earthen lamps. Thousands of illuminated lamps are immersed in the waters of the holy Ganges and the floating lamps add a divine look to the river at dusk. Every evening at five, a magical aarti is performed at Dasashwamedh Ghat. Halt your boat right at the steps for the best view. The presiding priests stand on a wooden chauki in the water. To the chant of Sanskrit mantras, and the clash of cymbals and drums, the river is worshipped with flowers, incense, sandalwood, milk and vermilion. First the blazing camphor lamp and then the many- flamed aarti lamps are raised high and then arched back to the water, the dark river reflecting the golden flames as Ganga accepts the worship. People often brings with them a little cup made of dough surrounded with marigold and rose petals to make them float in river with a prayer to mother Ganga, the Himalayas.The smell of veneration is in air, with the lightning of diyas and enchanting tune all way round fills the everyone’s heart.

Pilgrimage Attractions of Varanasi

Vishwanath Temple
The Kashi Vishwanath temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is the most sacred shrine in Varanasi. It stands in the heart of this city with its full majesty. People come from all parts of seek the blessings of Lord Vishwanath(Lord Shiva). This temple makes Varanasi a place of great religious importance to the Hindus, because Vishwanatha, as one of twelve Jyotirlinga of the Lord Shiva is enshrined here. It is said that a single view of Vishwanatha Jyotirlinga is considered to merit more than that of other jyotirlingas. Millions of Indian and foreigner pilgrims swarm the temple to seek divine tranquility by the darshan of this Jyotirlinga which confers release from the bondages of inescapable entanglements from physical world. The temple becomes overcrowded during some special occacasion like Mahashivaratri,Vasant Panchmi,Makar sankranti etc. There are five daily aartis at Vishwanath Temple. Eleven priests prepare the black stone linga for the aarti amidst loud chanting . the linga is first bathed in the holy waters of Ganga, and then anointed with sandalwood paste, and an intoxicating concoction of cannabis or bhang, honey, ghee and finally milk. It is decorated bountifully with garlands of marigold, rose and jasmine, to the sound of conch shells, bells and drums, the many-flamed lamps waved before the god. The whole temple precinct is suffused with the heavy fragrance of incense. The entire place acquires a very pious feel with the chants of Vishwanath Aarti.

Bharat Mata Temple
The Bharat Mata temple is the only temple dedicated to Mother India. The Bharat Mata temple was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth. It is located in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth campus. The statue of Bharat Mata is built in marble and is a model of undivided India, depicting the mountains, plains and oceans. The most peculiar thing about the Bharat Mata Temple is that instead of the customary gods and goddesses, it houses a relief map of India, carved out of marble.

Tulsi Manas Temple
The Tulsi Manas Mandir (temple) is dedicated to Lord Rama. The temple is believed to be built at the place where Tulsidas composed the ‘Ramacharitramanas’, the greatest epic. It provides us with thorough depiction of the life and deeds of Lord Rama. The walls of the Tulsi Manas temple are adorned with “Dohas” from Ramcharitramanasa.. Constructed by family of Varanasi, this modern temple is dedicated to Lord Rama.

Durga Temple
Durga temple is also one of significant temples of Varanasi. Which is dedicated to Goddess Durga “Goddess of power” It was built at some point of time in 18th century. The structural design is of Nagara Style, which is typical of North India. The temple is accompanied by a rectangular tank of water called Durga Kund. According to legends, the present statue of Goddess Durga was not made by man but appeared on its own in the temple. Thousands of Hindu devotees visit the Durga temple during Navratri and other auspicious occasions. The temple has multi-tiered spires and is stained red with ochre, signifying the red colour of DurgaEvery year on the occasion of Nag Panchami, the act of depicting Lord Vishnu reclining on the coiled-up mystical snake or “Shesha” is repeated in the Kund.

Baba Keenaram Sthal
Headquarter and world fame Pilgrim of Aghora scet. Work place of great saint Baba Keenaram. One of the most Visiting Places, of Varanasi, by Researchers, Documentaries Maker,Writers and Tourists.

Vishalakshi temple
This temple is dedicated to Vishalakshi (means wide-eyed) or Parvati , the consort of Lord Shiva and considered as incarnation of power itself.

Sankat Mochan Temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman who has been considered as greatest devotee of Lord Ramchandra ,and his devotion towards Lord Rama Made him God himself. And it is believed that God hanuman can solve all the problems of human life and minimize the worse effect of planet Saturn that’s why the temple is very popular with the local citizens. It is a place for many yearly religious as well as cultural festivals. Temple is one of the sacred temples of Hindu god Hanuman in the city of Varanasi. Tulsidas, the author of the famous Hindu epic Ramacharitamanasa, founded the Sankat Mochan temple. Every Tuesday and Saturday, thousands of people come to temple to offer prayers to Lord Hanuman and get his blessings.

The New Vishwanath Temple
The New Vishwanath Temple, also called Birla Mandir, mainly funded by Raja Birla of the Birla family of industrialists, was built as a replica of the old Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Planned by Madan Mohan Malaviya, the temple is part of the Banaras Hindu University campus, and stands for national revival. The temple is open to people of all castes and religions.

Kalbhairav Temple
It is the ancient temple of Varanasi near the Head Post Office, VishesharGanj. God KalBhairav is believed as “Kotwal Of Varanasi”,without his permission no one can stay in Kashi.

Sarnath
Sarnath is one of most important tourist attraction of Varanasi. It is 10 Km away from the Varanasi. The place is famous as Buddha has given his first sermon about the truth and duties of life here. The celebrated Mantra, ‘Buddham Sharanam Gachhami’, owes its origin to Sarnath. Buddha included Sarnath along with Lumbini, Bodh Gaya and Kushinagar as the four places he thought to be sacred to his followers. It makes Sarnath one of the most venerated Buddhist places.

There are many Buddhist monuments and edifices in Sarnath. Some of the important Buddhist monuments at Sarnath are:

Sarnath Museum
The sarnath museum is a treasure trove of Buddhist sculpture inscription and pottery. Some of the finest images of the Buddha and panels depicting important episodes from his life can be seen here the largest collection is from the Gupta period carved in the fine grained chunar sandstone. The library of the mababodhi society has an excellent collection of Buddhist literature rare manuscripts and even some sculptures.

Choukhandi
This is believed that this stupa was construct prior to the time of Gupta kings and said to mark the actual spot where the Buddha after his enlightenment, met five ascetics who had earlier left him.

Dhamekha Sputa (dharamchakra)
Dhamekh Stupa, a 33-metre high cylindrical tower, was high cylindrical tower, was possibly built around AD 500. It was raised over older structures and archaeological excavations have revealed brickwork form earlier periods. the borders have and floral patterns, tpical of the Gupta perio The spot is believed to be exactly the place where the Buddha delivered his second sermon on anattalakana sutta to his five disciples. The monument is considered to be the most important and sacred among the structures at sarnath.

Dharamarajika stup
This stupa was built by one of the greatest emperor of India “Ashoka” and represent one of the light “ divine tower” all of them having reference to certain leading events is the life of Buddha. It has been discovered that the dharamarajika stup was enlarge six times in secession. Emperor Ashoka built the Dharmarajika Stupa at the site where the Buddha gave his first sermon. It was broken down in the 18th century by an officer of the Maharaja of Benaras who was searching for building material for a bazaar. Just behind the Dharmarajika stupa are the remains of the Ashoka pillar one of the many that emperor Ashoka erected. The monumental pillar was once crowned with the magnificent lion capital that is now in the sarnath museum. The four roaring lions face the four cardinal directions symbolizing the spread of the Buddha’s teaching. The pillar was originally 15 meters tall and the lions supported a Dharmachakra of the wheel of law. The inscription on it is a warning by Ashoka to the monks and nuns against creating division within the sangha.

Ashok’s lion-pillar
The lion pillar sarnath is the finest and the most famous of all examples of Mauryan art discovered in 1905, this consists of a shaft made of a piece of stone. This was surmounted by the famous lion-capital with a crowning Dharamchakra fitted above the heads of four lions on a contrivance into a grooved in the center

The Jain temple
This temple was erected in 1824 to commemorate the penance and birth of 11th Jain tirthankaar sreyamsamatha whose magnificent image is enshrined there. The interior of the temple is decorated with striking frescoes depicting the lord Mahavira; it is believed that this site is the part of the village simhapur in the olden days.

The Deer park
As mentioned in Buddhist literature Sarnath was known as mrigadeva (the resort of deer) and description refers that there lived hundred of deers in the time of Buddha. The present deer park has been setup as a memento of that ancient mrigadeva.

The Tibetan temple
The image of lord Buddha installed in this temple is the biggest image, one can find in sarnath. There are other images too. One astonishing item of the temple is a number of frescoes made on cloth wall hanging. They are several hundred years old but their color is still bright and fresh.

Bharat Kala Bhavan
Located inside the BHU campus, is an art and architecture museum and houses a vast collection of paintings, Hindu and Buddhist sculptures and other materials of archeological importance. The Bharat Kala Bhavan was established in the year 1920 A.D. Many images in the Bharat Kala Bhavan confirm to the existence of Krishna cult in Kashi in 15th and 16th century.Bharat Kala Bhavan also has a great collection of miniature paintings from the courts of Mughals and other Kingdoms and principalities. Some of the important sections in the Bharat Kala Bhavan are Mahamana Malaviya gallery, Nicholas Roerich gallery, Chhavi (Painting Gallery), sculpture gallery, Nidhi (Treasures) gallery, sculpture gallery, archaeological gallery, and decorative art gallery.

Jantar Mantar
Jantar Mantar is an observatory, built by Jai Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur in the year 1737. Jai Singh was a great admirer of science and technology and he was particularly passionate about astronomy. Before the commencement of construction (of observatories) he sent scholars abroad to study the foreign observatories. The emissaries returned with many manuals on astronomy. The Jantar Mantar at Varanasi was built in line with Delhi, Mathura, Ujjain and Jaipur observatories. There are Jantar Mantar Clones in Delhi and Jaipur as well.

Ramnagar Fort
Ramnagar Fort was constructed by Maharaja Balwant Singh in 17th century, is a medieval period fort located in the banks of the river Ganges. This was the royal residence of Raja of Banares, also known as Maharaja of Kashi. Still this fort continues as the residential palace of the royal family members.

The Ramnagar fort lies about 14 km. from Varanasi and is situated on the opposite bank of river Ganga. It is the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Banaras. The fort is built in red sandstone. The Ramnagar fort has a temple and a museum within the grounds and the temple is dedicated to Ved Vyasa, who wrote Mahabharata, the great Indian epic. Legends have it that Ved Vyasa stayed here for a brief period. The Ramnagar fort houses a museum displaying the Royal collection which includes vintage Cars, Royal palkies, an armory of swords and old guns, ivory work and antique clocks. The Durga Temple and Chhinnamastika Temple are also located at Ramnagar. A temple of Dakshin Mukhi Hanuman is there. Inside the giant walls of the Ramnagar fort-palace, there is a big clock. This clock not only displays year, month, week and day but also astronomical facts about the sun, moon and constellation of stars. An interesting array of ornate palanquins, gold-plated howdahs and weapons are some of the artifacts on display in the Ramnagar fort-palace museum.

Chunar Fort
The Chunar fort is one of the mystical fort which became base for many myth and legends. It is situated in the Vindhya Range at a distance of about 45 odd km from Varanasi. It is said that Maharaja Vikramaditya, the king of Ujjain established the fort of Chunar. The Chunar fort is located in the Mirzapur district. According to the Puranas the oldest name of Chunar was Charanadri as Lord Vishnu had taken his first step in his Vaman incarnation in the dynasty of Great king Bali. The Chunar fort became important for its association with the Mughal king, Babar and later Shershah Suri, who got the possession of the fort by marrying the wife of Taj Khan Sarang-Khani, the Governer of Ibrahim Lodi. In 1531 AD Humayun made an unsuccessful effort to capture this fort but later in 1574AD, Akbar the great captured this fort and since that very time it remained under the Mughals up to 1772AD. In the year 1772AD the East India Company captured the Chunar fort.

Ghats
Ghats are essential and very important part of religious activities of Varanasi. The long string of bathing steps leading down to the water is called Ghats. The tradition and culture of Varanasi is very much associated with Gaths. With the sun rise the Ghats burst into activity. In the morning, the Ghats present a charged holistic atmosphere. Brahmins recite passages from sacred texts and priests perform various kinds of holy rituals Varanasi has nearly 100 ghats. Many ghats are associated with legends or mythologies while many ghats are privately owned. Most ghats are used for bathing but there are also several ‘burning ghats’ where bodies are cremated in public. These burning ghats keep reminding people about mortality of life. The best time to visit the ghats is at dawn when the river is bathed in a peaceful light and pilgrims come to perform worshipping to the rising sun, and at sunset when the main ‘ganga aarti’ ceremony takes place at Dasaswamedh Ghat.

Dashashwamedh Ghat, the main bathing ghat located close to Vishwanath Temple, is associated with Hindu mythology. It is the place where Lord Brahma is said to have sacrificed ten horses during the Dasa Ashwamedha yagya to celebrate the return of Lord Shiva on earth. It is said that bathing here gives the same merits as received by doing the ‘ten horse sacrifice’ that were performed here.

Durga Ghat located near the Durga temple is one of the most well known Ghats in Varanasi which was built in 1772 by a saintly person known as Narayana Diksit. A small temple dedicated to Kharva Narsimha is also located nearby this ghat.

Tulsi Ghat, named after the famous 16th century poet Tulsidas is located near the Assi ghat. This poet who composed the great Indian epic, Ramcharitmanas has spent many years in varanasi till his death in 1623A.D. Legend has it that when his manuscript fell into the river Ganga, it kept floated instead of sinking and disintegrating. Earlier known as Lolark ghat, the place is a center of cultural activities. Ramlila, the stage representation of the story of Lord Rama was staged here for the first time and to commemorate this, a temple of Lord Rama was built on the Tulsi ghat. Many reminiscences of Tulsidas has been preserved here.

Mandir Ghat, is one of the oldest ghat in the city located to the north of Dashashwamedh Ghat. Originally known as Somesvara Ghat, this place by Raja Savai Man Singh has an exquisite structure of Rajput architecture with fine balconies at the north end. A small observatory founded by the Raja can also be seen in the ghat. Man mandir ghat houses temples such as Sthuladanta Vinayaka, Rameshwara and Someshwara. Someshwar temple is known for its lingam of Someshwar (the Lord of the Moon) which is the replica of that in the Gujarat Somanath temple.

Panchganga Ghat, a sacred located at the confluence of five holy rivers (Panchganga) meet. The rivers are The Ganga, The Saraswati, The Dhupapapa, The Yamuna and The Kirna. This Ghat is a major Hindu religious attraction in Varanasi.

Manikarnika Ghat, The oldest and the most sacred, Manikarnika Ghat is the cremation ghat in the city. In Varanasi, cremation is considered to be liberation and it is believed that all human beings who die here would be liberated and ensures a safe place in the abode of almighty. This ghat which symbolizes both creation and destruction is located in the heart of the city at the center of the five tirthas. A sacred well named Manikarnika Kund, said to be dug by Lord Vishnu is situated behind and slightly down river of the manikarnika burning ghat.

Assi Ghat, Located at the southernmost part of Varanasi, at the confluence of the Ganges and the Assi rivers is the Assi Ghat. It is said that after striking down demon Shumbha and nishumbha, Durga’s sword fell and created a curved ditch, which later became the Assi Channel. A huge Shiva lingam situated under a peepal tree and it is mandatory for the pilgrim to bathe at the assi ghat before paying their homage to Lord Shiva. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims take holy dip here in the months of Chaitya (March/ April) and Magh (Jan/Feb) and other important occasions like solar/ lunar eclipse, Ganga Dussehra, Probodhoni Ekadashi, Makar Shankranti etc

Harishchandra Ghat is one among the important cremation ghats (the other being Manikarnika Ghat) is the city named after king Harishchandra. Legends has it that King Harishchandra had once worked here as a Dom (caretaker of the crematorium) for the perseverance of truth and charity. According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that a person cremated at the Harishchandra ghat would attains salvation or “moksha”. The place also houses an imposing temple with beautiful structures of Harishchandra, Vriddha Kedara and Adi Manikanteshwara.

Fare and festival

As the city is cherishing so many religions in itself so it is also famed for its celebrating sprit with fairs and festivals all round the year. Almost every month, some important festival is celebrated in Varanasi. Besides festivals and holidays, many fairs are also held at Varanasi. The festive atmosphere seems never-ending in Varanasi. . At Varanasi, fairs and festivals are celebrated with traditional gaiety and zeal and give accurate manifestation to its glory.

MAHASHIVARATRI
Mahashivaratri is one of the most important festival celebrated in Varanasi and India in full zeal. As Lord Shiva is pristine deity in Varanasi so Mahashivratri is celebrated here with great conventional gaity.This festival is celebrated in month of February every year. On this auspicious occasion Shiv Mandir is decorated very beauty fully. Mahashivaratri festival is purely religious in nature and observed by all Hindus. On the day of Mahashivaratri, the main center of religious activity and worship at Varanasi is the Kashi Vishvanath temple, where devotees throng in large numbers to offer prayers to the presiding deity of Varanasi, Lord Shiva.

On the occasion of Mahashivaratri, all Shiva temples of Varanasi are decorated and then grand worshiping ritual processed. On the day Of Mahashivaratri, a grand marriage procession of Lord Shiva and goddess Gauri is taken out starting from Mahamrityunjaya Temple, Daranagar to Kashi Vishwanath . In Varanasi, people visit nearby temples of Shiva and offer prayers in large numbers. The prayers and worship continue late into the night. On Mahashivaratri, devotees offer milk, Bhang, Dhatura, flowers, coconut, fruits etc to Shiva statues and Shiva Lingams and sing bhajans in honor of Shiva. They also recite shlokas (verses) from scriptures, offer prayers in the morning and evening and many devotees observe fasting throughout the day.

GANGA MAHOTSAV
The river ganga is most scared river of India which is livelihood of millions of people of India. As the culture of Varanasi revolves around Ganga, peaple give their tribute to Ganga by celebrating ganga Mahotsav,every year.It is major the tourism festival of Varanasi celebrated every year from Prabodhani Ekadashi to Kartik Purnima in the month of Oct.-Nov. The festival celebrates the rich cultural heritage of Varanasi. It continues for four consecutive days in Varanasi. Organized by the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department, the Ganga Mahotsav invites famous artists from across India. The cultural performances by renowned Indian artists attract hordes of travelers. Usually, the event takes places at the Dasaswamedh Ghat. The concluding day coincides with the unique traditional festival of Dev Deepavali (light festivel of Gods), when more than a million erthen lamps (Diyas) are lit on the Ghats of Ganga

Dev Dipawali
Dev Deepavali is one of the most divine festival of Varanasi It is the occasion when the Ganga ghats in Varanasi are set ablaze with hundreds of thousands of lamps. As per the Hindu calendar, the Dev Deepavali Festival is celebrated on the occasion of Kartik Poornima known as the most sacred Hindu month. During the festival, people in hordes flock to the Varanasi ghats to worship the Ganga. The sight makes a great spectacle to watch for all. Dev Deepavali, celebrated on the fifteenth day of Diwali, is a tribute to river Ganga by the people of Varanasi. It is believed that on the day of Dev Deepavali, the Gods descend on Earth. On the evening of Kartik Purnima, the number of pilgrims begins to increase,pilgrims and local people decorate the entire riverbank with tiny earthen lamps which provides pure divine view on the earth.

BUDDH PURNIMA – SARNATH
This festival is celebrated in full moon nightin may which is called Buddha Purnima .the birth of Lord Buddha is celebrated with trditional religious fervor. A large fair is held at Sarnath and the relic of the Buddha is taken out for public display in a procession on this day. Buddha purnima is the biggest annual festival at sarnath in Varanasi.a big fair springs up on the occasion and the entire town celebrates with prayer meeting group meditation and processions.

RAMLEELA- RAMNAGER
The unique Ramleela of Ramnager performed in the pageant style, was started about 1830 by Maharaja Udit Narayan Singh of Banaras, and has today become famous the world over. Thousands gather to see the enactments during months of September-October. A much popular festival in entire northern India, Ram Leela of Varanasi has a unique charm. During this festival, story of the Ramayana, a popular Hindu epic, is enacted with great spiritual fervor. Sadhus also flock to participate in the festival. The presentation of epic Ramayana is a part of Ram Leela Festival. The history of this festival dates back to the era of saint poet Tulsi Das.

DHRUPAD MELA
A five days music festival of Dhrupad is performed by renowned artistes at Tulsi Ghat. It is very popular among foreign tourists.

HANUMAN JAYANTI
Jannotsav of Lord Hanuman is celebrated at Sankat Mochan Temple for five days with cultural & musical programmes by artistes from all over India.

BHARAT MILAP (at Nati Imli)
The Bharat Milap festival is held at Nati Imli, Varanasi. The annual Dussehra festival and the Bharat Milap festival is one of the greatest attractions of Varanasi city.Celebreting Lord Ram’s return to Ayodhya after 14th years of exile and his reunion with his brother Bharat, this festival is held the day following Dussehra. The celebration of Bharat Milap Festival in Kashi marks the victory of good over evil. Lord Rama, the legendary hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana, returned to Ayodhya after spending 14 long years in exile.The festival is celebrated by taking out a huge procession in the streets. Young and old alike participate. Bharat Milap, held in October/November is an important festival of Kashi or Varanasi. People pay their respect by putting Tilak on forehead and garlanding Lord Ram and his brothers. Another interesting part of the Bharat Milap celebration is the presence of Kashi Naresh (former king of Varanasi) with all his royal paraphernalia and regal finery.

NAG NATHAIYA LEELA
In a performance, Lord Krishana jumps into Ganga for Nag Nathan at the local Tulsi Ghat. It is famous as Nag Nathaiya Leela . Many people congregate to see this event, held during the months of Nov.-Dec.

How to reach

Varanasi by Air
Varanasi is of the greatest pilgrimage attraction of India. So it is well connected to major cities in India including Delhi, Mumbai and Agra. There are daily domestic flights from Varanasi to these cities. International travelers can get connecting flights from Delhi, which is 810 km away. Delhi is well linked with all major cities in India and many cities abroad.

Varanasi by Train
Varanasi is well connected with all major railway stations in India. There are two railheads nearby, namely Varanasi junction and the Kashi junction. Many express trains connect Varanasi with other major cities.

Varanasi by Bus
State owned public bus services connect Varanasi with other holy cities in Uttar Pradesh and neighboring states. Regular private bus services are available from nearby cities to Varanasi.

Best time to visit

All though this holy place remains full of crowd round the year yet Varanasi being situated in the northern part of India has a humid subtropical climate with high variation between summer and winter temperatures and as It has a continental climate Summers stretches from early April till October with monsoon season so best suggested time to Visit Varanasi is October to March.