The 7 Best Things To Do And See In Varanasi
Monday, Mar 14, 2016
Spiritual Tourism :-
Older than history can acknowledge and the spiritual capital of India, Varanasi is a beautiful city nestled in Uttar Pradesh showcasing a vivid expansion of legendary monuments. A visit to Varanasi is a cultural bonanza for any traveler who wants to be part of India’s most exquisite ceremony – the Ganga Aarti. Famous for being a traditional city, Varanasi is located by the holy River Ganges and offers breathtaking views of natural elements, from waterfalls to pre-historic rock formations. Step inside one of India’s oldest inhabited cities – we give you an insight on some of the best activities and places to visit.
Live Darshan at Kashi Vishwanath Temple :-
Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple – which means ‘Ruler of the Universe’ – stands on the banks of the river Ganga and is one of the most famous religious centers in India. Part of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the temple has been mentioned in Hindu scriptures quite often and is one of the holiest shrines of Hinduistic philosophies. Millions come to seek benediction and inner peace in the temple, which offers a soul-cleansing experience with its various rituals like the Bhog Aarti that takes place around midday. The temple has been visited by a number of great saints like Swami Vivekanand, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Adi Shankaracharya and many other revered figures.
Vipassana Meditation in Varanasi :-
At Dhamma Cakka you can embrace a unique form of meditation known as ‘Vipassana’, one of India’s most traditional techniques that involves ‘seeing things as they really are’. More than 2500 years old and mainly popularized by S.N. Goenka and Mahasi Sayadew, this technique was part of the ‘Art of Living’ that aimed to develop mindfulness and instill a realization of a selfless being. A ten day course in the residential compartments of the Sarnath Vipassana Centre in Varanasi will spiritually enlighten you as you gain insight into sacred traditions in Buddhism. The technique has now become quite popular in Western culture.
Catch Spectacular Views at Dashashwamedh Ghat :-
The Dashashwamedh Ghat is one of the oldest and most scenic ghats in Varanasi, nestled near the ancient Vishwanath Temple. The name refers to the ‘river front of the ten sacrificed horses’, an age old myth relating to Lord Shiva. It is believed that Lord Brahma created the ghat to welcome Lord Shiva, and it was reconstructed back in the year 1740 by Bajirao Pesava I. It is a well known fact that ten horses were sacrificed as part of a ritual by Bhara Shiva Naga rulers in the second century. Popularly known for the Agni Pooja, the ghat is a wonderful place to see if you’re visiting Varanasi on a spiritual tour.
Visit to Mrigadava at Sarnath :-
Located around 12 kilometers away from Varanasi, Sarnath is one of the four holy sites that has been marked by Lord Buddha as a unique pilgrimage spot. Attracting a great number of Buddhist followers annually, Sarnath is home to the beautiful ‘Deer Park’ also known as Mrigadava, a name that withholds the legendary belief that when Buddha was born, devas came down from heaven to announce his birth to 500 holy men. Sarnath is the initial site of Lord Buddha’s journey towards enlightenment, where he delivered his first discourse, the ‘Dhammacakkhapavathana Sutta’, a central teaching that is fundamentally based upon the Noble Eighfold Path. Here you’ll come across ancient buildings embedded with intricate carvings of Lord Buddha, the Ashoka Pillar, and historical relics at the Sarnath Archaeological Museum.
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Boat Rides and Sunset Views :-
A 45 minute boat ride across the river Ganga is a splendid expedition for travelers who come to visit Varanasi for more than just a spiritual awakening. Tour past holistic rituals at Dashashwamedh Ghat, catch a glimpse of Ramnagar Fort and ride through Manikarnika, a well renowned site for the cremation ceremony which is also known as the burning ghat. Make a stop at the colorful Flower Market in Varanasi, a lane brimming with miniature stalls filled with different aromas. The magic of the boat ride ends with the breathtaking view of the sunset as the boat slowly swims back to the Dashashwamedh ghat.
Try a Delectable Yoghurt Drink at the Blue Lassi :-
Food is an integral part of the culture of Varanasi, so if you’re visiting this eclectic city in Uttar Pradesh don’t forget to gorge on piping hot samosas, spicy kachoris and refreshing paans. You cannot miss out on the Blue Lassi, one of the most famous joints in Vishwanath Gali that serves a delightful assortment of thandaais or chilled savories. They give a special touch to a glass of Lassi, enriched with fresh fruits like custard apple, bananas, pomegranate and a punch of lemon zest, served in earthen pots.
Opening Hours :-
Mon-Sun (8:30 am to 11 pm)
Say Your Prayers at the Ganga Aarti Ceremony :-
While we sing praises of the oldest city in Central India, Varanasi embraces ancient ceremonial rites every evening at the Dashashwamedh Ghat. Also known as the Ganga Aarti, Agni Pooja – an act of worship over fire – is performed as a form of showing religious reverence to Lord Shiva, Surya (the Sun God), Mata Gange (Goddess Ganga) and Agni (the God of Fire). Varanasi is visited by many pilgrims every year for the Ganga Aarti, which is considered a spiritual ritual that cleanses the soul from every kind of evil. This beautiful ritual will be the highlight of your trip to Varanasi. Performed by learned priests (Brahmins) using brass lamps, the ritual is accompanied by sacred mantras or chants voiced in the presence of hundreds of spectators and devotees.