Varanasi

Mark Twain has said on Varanasi “Older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”

History

Varanasi also known as Kashi or Benares is the oldest inhabitated city in the world dating back to 3000 years and is the holiest city of the Hindus, Buddhist and Jains, considered as the city of Moksha.  The city also merits mention in all the holy scriptures of the Hindus.   Considered as the earthly abode of Lord Shiva, Varanasi is synonymous with the majestic river Ganga, on whose banks the city is situated.  The holy river Ganga also defines the cultural and religious traditions of Varanasi. Stretching over thousands of kilometers along the banks of the Ganga are the numerous bathing Ghats for which Varanasi is famous.  Bathing in these Ghats is believed to wash away all your sins   and those who meet their death here and are cremated here are liberated from the cycle of rebirths.  Varanasi is also known as the Shakti Peethas and is one of the twelve Jyoti Linga sites in India. 

Varanasi derives its name from the confluence of the two rivers Varuna with the Ganga in the north and Assi with the Ganga in the south.

Varanasi

Varanasi Information

Coordinates 25.282°N 82.9563°E
Country India
State Uttar Pradesh
District(s) Varanasi
Mayor Kaushlendra Singh
Population

• Density

1,211,891 (district) (2001)

• 1,995 /km2 (5,167 /sq mi)

Time Zone IST (UTC+5:30)
Area

• Elevation

1550 km2 (598 sq mi)

• 80.71 metres (264.8 ft)

Code
  • Pincode - 221 001
  • Telephone - +0542
Footnotes Holy City of India

Ganges River Information

Countries India, Bangladesh
States Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal
Tributaries
 - left Mahakhali, Karnali, Koshi, Gandak, Ghaghra
 - right Yamuna, Son, Mahananda
Cities Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Ghazipur, Patna, Kolkata
Source Gangotri Glacier, Satopanth Glacier, Khatling Glacier, and waters from melted snow from such peaks as Nanda Devi, Trisul, Kedarnath, Nanda Kot, and Kamet.
 - location Uttarakhand, India
 - elevation 3,892 m (12,769 ft)
 - coordinates 30°59′N 78°55′E
Mouth Ganges Delta
 - location Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh & India
 - elevation 0 m (0 ft)
 - coordinates 22°05′N 90°50′E
Length 2,510 km (1,560 mi)
Basin 907,000 km² (350,195 sq mi)
Discharge for Farrakka
 - average 12,500 m3/s (441,433 cu ft/s)
Discharge Elsewhere (average)
 - Bay of Bengal 42,470 m3/s (1,499,814 cu ft/s)

The Temples of Varanasi

Varanasi is dotted with temples, shrines and places of worship, literally every street and corner has a shrine.   It is no wonder then that Varanasi is called the ‘City of Temples’.

  • Kashi Vishwanath temple on the outskirts of the Ganga is the holiest among the holies, the place where the Jyotrilinga of Shiva is enshrined.
  • Durga Temple, where it is believed that the statue of the Goddess appeared by itself.
  • Vishalakshi Temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati, the consort of Lord Shiva.
  • Sankat Mochan Temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
  • Bharat Mata Temple, Tulsi Manas temple, are a few of the numerous temples that Varanasi is famous for.
  • Tulsi Manas Temple
  • Vishwanath Temple

Varanasi Ghats

The Ghats along the Ganga have a special significance, to the culture of Varanasi.  A ghat is a series of steps that lead down to the river where pilgrims take the holy dip.   Some Ghats are used as cremation grounds and are known as burning Ghats.  Some important Ghats are:

  • Panchganga ghat, where the five rivers meet.
  • Manikarnika ghat, a cremation ghat
  • Dasawamedha ghat, the ghat where the evening aarti takes place.
  • Rana ghat, Kedar ghat, Narad ghat, Harischandra ghat and the Tulsi ghat.
  • Kedar Ghat
  • Narad Ghat
  • Harishchandra Ghat
  • Hanuman Ghat
  • Shivala Ghat
  • Tulsi Ghat
  • Assi Ghat

Varanasi also has a great tradition of Yatras, and the most sacred yatras, is that of the Panchkoshi Parikrama, that covers the 108 temples along its route.  The other main yatra is the Nagara Pradakshina which covers seventy two temples along the yatra.

Varanasi as a seat of learning is home to four leading Universities, the Benares Hindu University, Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies and the Sampurnananand Sanskrit University , where modern and ancient learning exist side by side.

Varanasi is also home to many culturally refined artists of India and its democratic tradition allows many art forms to flourish.  Varanasi is also renowned for its exquisite Benares silk saris, Benares carpets and handicrafts.

Varanasi Climate

Climate Data for Varanasi
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average High °C (°F) 19.4
(67)
24.4
(76)
30.6
(87)
36.7
(98)
37.8
(100)
36.1
(97)
32.2
(90)
31.1
(88)
31.1
(88)
30.6
(87)
27.2
(81)
21.7
(71)
29.91
(85.8)
Average Low °C (°F) 8.3
(47)
12.2
(54)
16.7
(62)
22.2
(72)
25
(77)
26.7
(80)
25.6
(78)
25.6
(78)
24.4
(76)
21.1
(70)
15
(59)
10.6
(51)
19.44
(67)
Precipitation mm (inches) 19.3
(0.76)
13.5
(0.53)
10.4
(0.4)
5.4
(0.2)
9.0
(0.3)
100.0
(3.97)
320.6
(12.6)
260.4
(10.2)
231.6
(9.1)
38.3
(1.5)
12.9
(0.5)
4.0
(0.1)
1,025.4
(40.37)

Hotels in Varanasi

Five Star Hotels
Hotel Ramada Palaza Hotel Taj Ganges
Hotel Clarks Varanasi  
Four Star Hotels
Hotel Hindustan International
Hotel Varanasi Ashok
Three Star Hotels
Best Western Kasihka Hotel Pallavi International Hotel
Hotel De Paris  
Other Hotels
Hotel M M Continental Diamond Hotel
Hotel India  
Budget Hotels
Hotel Vaibhav Hotel Buddha
Hotel Pradeep Hotel Ajaya
Hotel Temple on Ganges Sandya Guest House
Hotel Varuna Hotel Gautam
Hotel Alka Ganpati Guest House
Hotel Barahdari Sahi Riverview Guest House
Hotel Arya Musical Guest House
Trimurti Guest House Om Vishwanath Lodge
Hotel Son Many Sita Guest House
Hotel Sunrise Shiva Ganga Lodge

 

See Also Other Natural Wonders in Asia