The ancient city of Varanasi is located in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is one of the holiest cities of the country, and is dotted with temples and ghats. It is the favourite pilgrim spot of the Hindus. Thousands of tourists throng the city every year.
Varanasi tours mainly include visiting temples, ghats and the other varied tourist attractions of this holy city. There are many interesting temples in Varanasi and each one speaks its own story. Durga symbolises power and the Durga Temple is a favourite among the devotees. A characteristic feature of the Durga Temple is the profusion of monkeys, which has given the temple a not so gratifying title of Monkey Temple. The Bharat Mata temple is another unique temple dedicated to the nation. It evokes a sense of unity among the Indian tourists and reflects the diverse and rich cultural heritage of the country. The Tulsi Manas Temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. The other important temples of the city are the Kashi Vishwanath Temple and the Sankat Mochan Temple.
Without a visit to the ghats, the itinerary of Varanasi tours can never be complete. You will find many ghats near the river Ganga. Each ghat has a special significance. The Asi Ghat, Dashashwamedha Ghat and Manikarnika Ghat are some of the prominent ghats. Asi Ghat is situated in the southernmost part of Varanasi. Dashashwamedha Ghat is the busiest ghat where you can see all types of activities like sadhus performing pujas, pilgrims bathing in Ganga or a dhobi (washerman) washing clothes on the banks and much more. The pandas(informal tour operators of sorts) waiting for potential customers, masseurs and boatmen complete the busy picture in the morning, while in the twilight the lap of water gets illuminated with thousands of floating earthen lamps. The Manikarnika Ghat is another famous ghat. It is the most active cremation ground in the city. Hindu mythology states that getting cremated here can liberate the soul from the perennial cycle of births and rebirths. Here it deserves a mention that each ghat is marked by a Shiva lingam (the phallus of Shiva, which symbolises the regenerative aspects of this material universe) which has immense holy significance in Hindu belief systems. The tourists can also try some of the boat rides. Early morning, the pilgrims come up to the ghats and bathe here.
You will also find a mosque in this haven for Hindu pilgrims by the name of Alamgir Mosque. The architecture of the mosque is very appealing. Another important place to visit is the Benares Hindu University. Being one of the oldest Universities of the nation, it encourages and propagates the use of Sanskrit language in music and art. The Bharat Kala Bhavan in this University presents a treasure-trove of paintings, ancient scriptures and archaeology.
When on Varanasi Tours, you can also visit some other places near Varanasi like Allahabad, Sarnath and Kushinagar. Buddha gave his first sermon at the Deer Park in Sarnath. The town is famous for its Buddhist stupas and monuments, dating back to the times of Ashoka. Allahabad is again a favourite pilgrim centre of the tourists and is famous for its Allahabad Fort, Triveni Sangam, Anand Bhawan, Swaraj Bhawan, and also many fairs, the most famous among which is the Maha Kumbh Mela, which is being held after every twelve years. Kushinagar is also an important tourist destination, which is supposed to be the place of Mahaparinirvana or demise of Lord Buddha. Here you can visit the Mahaparinirvana Temple and get awestruck by the 20 ft idol of Gautam Buddha.
Shopping is another exciting feature on the list of Varanasi tours. The silk sarees that you get here are extraordinary and have a very classy feel to it. Apart from this, you can also shop for various ivory and brass items and gold jewellery. So make it a point to go on a shopping spree in Varanasi, for it can be an experience worth remembering.
Last Updated On: 2011/07/16