Varanasi, Banaras, Kashi, Avimukta, Anandavana, etc all these are names for a place which is known to be the biggest holy place in the world. Starting from the ancient period “Kashi” was the first name and now it is Varanasi. The city is present near the banks of river Ganga of the state Uttar Pradesh (U.P.), India. According to the Puranas, Vedas and from almost all holy scriptures it is denoted that Varanasi is the most sacred, spiritual, religious, divine and eternal city. Devotees from all over the world come to this holy place to attain eternal peace and get rid of their sins. Tourists can also explore some great Varanasi visiting places.

There is something magical about this city which attracts everyone. The entire environment is spiritual and magical. You can feel the positive energy around you. And this is not only for the holy places in here, but you can also observe this energy flow throughout Varanasi. However, India is a land of culture, tradition, invention, arts and most importantly spirituality. The bond can be seen throughout the nation. There are many sacred places in India but Varanasi is the capital of spirituality. India and its civilization are said to be the oldest in the world. According to the scientist and conducted research the Indus Valley Civilization is around 8000 years old.

Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together.

Mark Twain

Hinduism is the primary religion that is followed in India. Majority of people are Hindu, around 80% of the total population. However, this place is not only dedicated to Hindu’s, apart from it people from all over the country regularly visit Varanasi. According to mythology, Varanasi aka Kashi is the favourite place of Lord Shiva. The entire city is completely dedicated to Lord Shiva. Several temples, Ghats, the holy river Ganga, philosophy of religion, astrology, culture and more, all these combine to make it an unforgettable experience.

Unlock the History behind this Holy City

One of the basic concept to understand any religion or culture is by practising the norms of that particular culture. Whereas in Hindu culture the scenario is completely different. To follow and understand all the expressions and customs you need to have complete knowledge about the history and culture. Like from where the Hinduism started, what are the customs, Vedas, all scriptures and many other aspects. Well, all such knowledge can be attained through gurus, by studying all scriptures and exploring about Varanasi visiting places. However, let’s get back to the history of this city.

View of the ghats of Varanasi.
Image by Rajesh Balouria from Pixabay

In India, there are seven sacred cities and Varanasi is one of them. According to the scriptures, Buddhism was founded by Lord Buddha in Varanasi. Whereas, Varanasi was founded 2000 BCE and Buddhism was introduced in 528 BCE. Lord Buddha gave his teaching from Sarnath.

Hindu Mythology says that Lord Shiva founded Kashi. Once there was a battle between Lord Shiva and Brahma, Shiva ripped one head out of five of Brahma. As per the tradition the winner carries the head as a sign of victory but one day Shiva visited the city Varanasi and accidentally dropped the head. The head of Brahma got vanished in the land of Varanasi, from that incident the city is treated as a holy place for all devotees.

What makes Varanasi a hub for Spirituality and Religion

To understand these subjects you need to deep dive in the ocean of belief and faith. And Varanasi is a place where you can attain eternal peace with wisdom. Spirituality is not a crash course, you need to understand the basics and change your thought process. To understand it fully one need to surrender the body and soul and make a connection to god. And there are many temples, sacred places, ghats, events, prayers, beautiful places/destinations from where you can start your journey.

Apart from all these, there is a huge room of belief, that makes Varanasi a spiritual and religious hub for the entire world. Everything is divided into culture and heritage. As the river Ganga is not just a river, it’s a holy river and considered as a mother for human beings. Here are some key aspects that will help you in understanding the purity and belief of Varanasi:

Saints talking about spirituality.
Image by Rajesh Balouria from Pixabay
  • Discover the integrity of Varanasi through its culture. Travel around some major attractions which will help you in understanding the roots of spirituality.
  • The city is also developed for the mode of business and transportation. Heavy industries, plants and factories are also set up in Varanasi as a modern spiritual place.
  • The discipline of surgery and modern medical science is all started here. You will ascertain the roots of Ayurveda and plastic surgery.
  • The soil of Varanasi also generates the fabrics and other cloth material which are entirely traditional as well as modernised.
  • The river Ganga is the primary aspect of everyone’s belief. Almost all events and rituals are performed here.
  • Varanasi is a mixture of belief with history, religion, faith, science and mythology.
  • A huge number of temples and Ghats is the identity of this holy city.

Major Varanasi visiting places

If you are ready to spend some valuable time in Varanasi then you should visit some of these places. If calculated properly there are thousands of places or shrine which are equally famous. In Varanasi, the total number of temples are more than 22000, around 80 Ghats and more than 10 mosques. Some of the major Varanasi visiting places that you can consider visiting are given below:

Assi Ghat

View of Assi Ghat
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Many devotees and pilgrims visit Assi Ghat to take the holy bath. It is said that whoever takes a dip or bath here will be free from all his sins and will attain Punya or the blessings. According to Hindu mythology, the accurate time to take the bath in the holy river is in the month of January and February or March and April. Assi Ghat is also mentioned in many Hindu scriptures.

Tulsi Manas Mandir

Idols of Lord Rama with Sita
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The Tulsi Manas Mandir is dedicated to Lord Rama with Sita, Laxman and Hanuman. The temple is famous for its manuscripts and some very rare artefacts which are placed in a museum which is present in the premises of this temple. Heavy usage of white marble is done for the construction of the temple, however, which makes it more beautiful and attractive.

Best time to visit: From July to August

Timing: 5:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Bharat Mata Temple

Outer view of Bharat Mata Mandir, Varanasi.
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The Bharat Mata Temple is one of its kind in the world. It is the only temple that doesn’t contain any effigies or any deity. Instead of an idol in the temple, the map of India is carved on the floor with marble. The entire map is made up of white marble. There is the support of five pillars in the temple. The reason behind five-pillar is to tell about the five-element through which the body of a human being is made. These five elements are sky, fire, water, land and air.

Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Golden tomb of Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple at Varanasi.
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The temple got its name from the old city name Kashi and the modern one Varanasi. Together it makes Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and it houses one jyotirlinga out of twelve. The history of the temple is quite rough, it was rebuilt several times. It was first built in 1776. Later during its renovation, around 800 kg of gold is used to reconstruct it. Due to which the temple is now called Golden Temple of Varanasi.

Timing: 5:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Durga Temple

Enterance of Durga Temple at Varanasi
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In Varanasi, it is the only temple of Goddess Durga where the statue of Goddess Durga appeared by itself. The idol you will see here is not made by an architect that’s why the temple is highly popular amongst the Hindus. The temple is called the Monkey Temple because several monkeys are present around the temple. The temple is situated alongside the Durga Kund. According to records temple was constructed in the 18th century. One important thing regardings its construction is that it was constructed with red stone and the entire temple is a square shape.

The Sankat Mochan Temple

Devotees visiting The Sankat Mochan Temple, Varanasi.
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It is considered as one of the oldest temples in Varanasi. The temple is of Lord Hanuman, according to the scriptures Ramcharitmanas was written here by Goswami Tulsidas. One day when Goswami Tulsidas had a dream of Lord Hanuman, he decided to construct a temple dedicated to Lord Ram and Hanuman. Devotees regularly visit the temple to fulfil their wishes.

Timing: 5:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 3:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Kal Bhairav Temple

Tourist praying in Kal Bhairav Temple, Varanasi.
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Another important temple in Varanasi is Kal Bhairav Temple. It is said that if you are visiting Varanasi then you need to visit Kal Bhairav Temple, it is sort of mandatory. According to the mythology, Lord Kal Bhairav is the guardian of Varanasi, without his wish, no one can stay for long in Varanasi. Kal Bhairav is an avatar of Lord shiva. The idol of Kal Bhairav is completely covered with flowers and garland only the face is visible which is in silver colour.

Timing: 5:00 AM – 1:30 PM, 4:00 PM – 9:30 PM

Nepali Temple

Devotees entering into the Nepali Temple.
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The Nepali Mandir is kind of replica of Pashupatinath Temple of Nepal. In the 19th century A.D., the king of Nepal visited Varanasi and he decided to construct a temple of Lord Shiva and establish Lord Pashupatinath in Varanasi. Most of the woodwork and other items are directly brought from Nepal. It took a massive amount of time to complete the entire temple.

Timing: 4:00 AM – 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM – 9:00 PM

The Dashashwamedh Ghat

Devotees performing ceremonies at the Dashashwamedh Ghat.
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The Dashashwamedh Ghat is the oldest and most ancient Ghats of Varanasi. It is present on the banks of river Ganga and it is also near to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Along this Ghat you will find some temple dedicated to Bandi Devi, Ganga, Abhaya Vinayaka, Varahesvara, Sulatankesvara, Brahmesvara. According to mythology, this Ghat is created by Lord Brahma to welcome Lord Shiva. Every day people visit the Dashashwamedh Ghat to perform prayers and other rituals.

Lalita Ghat

Tourist performing rituals at Lalita Ghat
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Lalita Ghat is present on the banks of river Ganga. This Ghat was built by the King of Nepal, he also built the Nepali Temple which is near Lalita Ghat. The Ghat is dedicated to Goddess Lalita who keeps her showering of love and blessing to this entire world. The Ghat was created in the 19th century.

Ganga Aarti

Mythology says that the first Ganga Aarti was conducted when Lord Shiva visited for the first time in Kashi (Varanasi). Then the Aarti was conducted every time whenever a King arrives in Varanasi. Thus from there, the custom has stated of conducting Ganga Aarti every evening. Tourists from all over the globe come to Varanasi to witness this magical Aarti.

All the guru's performing Ganga Aarti at river Ganga in Varanasi.
Image by Tanuj Handa from Pixabay

The Ganga Aarti or Varanasi Aarti is the prayer of Goddess Ganga which flows in a form of river Ganga. The Ganga Aarti is performed on Dashashwamedh Ghat for all total of 45 minutes. After the Ganga Aarti, the visitors are given a lamp with flowers and leaf which has to be dispersed in river Ganga.

Timing: 6:00 PM in evening & 7:00 PM in summers

Suggested post: Visiting Valley of Flowers | Things to do & Travel Tips

In the end

Varanasi is a city which is loaded with religion and customs. If you are someone who is now moving towards spirituality then it is the correct time to opt for Varanasi visiting places. Here you can experience lots of things like customs, tradition, culture, etc. which is missing in the western world. We are someone who is connected to every aspect of this nature. If you are confused regarding the objective of your life, then you must visit Varanasi. The spirituality of Varanasi will make you realise the ultimate goal and objective of your life. Just submerge yourself into the holiness of Varanasi. So for more travel-related updates do visit trip limited.

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