Non - Saiddhantika
Trika -Yamala -
* Nusantara Agama Siwa
VARANASI (Hindustani pronunciation: ( listen )), also known as
BENARES, BANARAS (Banāras ( listen )), or KASHI (Kāśī (
listen )), is a city on the banks of the
Ganges in the Uttar Pradesh
state of North
India , 320 kilometres (200 mi) south-east of the state
Lucknow , and 121 kilometres (75 mi) east of
Allahabad . A
major religious hub in
India , it is the holiest of the seven sacred
Sapta Puri ) in
Jainism , and played an important
role in the development of
Varanasi lies along National
Highway 2 , which connects it to
Agra , and
and is served by
Varanasi Junction railway station and Lal Bahadur
Shastri International Airport .
Varanasi is also one of 72 districts in the Indian state of Uttar
Pradesh. At the time of the 2011 census, there were a total of 8
blocks and 1329 villages in this district.
Varanasi grew as an important industrial centre, famous for its
muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture. Buddha
is believed to have founded
Buddhism here around 528 BCE when he gave
his first sermon, "The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of
Dharma ", at
Sarnath . The city's religious importance continued to grow in
the 8th century, when
Adi Shankara established the worship of
an official sect of Varanasi. During the Muslim rule through middle
ages, the city continued as an important centre of
pilgrimage, mysticism and poetry which further contributed to its
reputation as a centre of cultural importance and religious education.
Tulsidas wrote his epic poem on Rama's life called
Ram Charit Manas in
Varanasi. Several other major figures of the
Bhakti movement were born
in Varanasi, including
Guru Nanak visited Varanasi
Shivaratri in 1507, a trip that played a large role in the
Sikhism . In the 16th century,
Varanasi experienced a
cultural revival under the Mughal emperor
Akbar who patronised the
city, and built two large temples dedicated to
though much of modern
Varanasi was built during the 18th century, by
the Maratha and
Brahmin kings. The Kingdom of Benares was given
official status by the Mughals in 1737, and continued as a
dynasty-governed area until Indian independence in 1947. The city is
governed by the
Varanasi Nagar Nigam (Municipal Corporation) and is
represented in the Parliament of
India by the current Prime Minister
Narendra Modi , who won the
Lok Sabha elections in 2014 by a
huge margin. Silk weaving , carpets and crafts and tourism employ a
significant number of the local population, as do the Diesel
Locomotive Works and
Bharat Heavy Electricals .
established in 1964.
Varanasi has been a cultural centre of North
India for several
thousand years, and is closely associated with the Ganges. Hindus
believe that death in the city will bring salvation , making it a
major centre for pilgrimage. The city is known worldwide for its many
ghats , embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank
where pilgrims perform ritual ablutions. Of particular note are the
Dashashwamedh Ghat , the Panchganga Ghat, the
Manikarnika Ghat and the
Harishchandra Ghat, the last two being where Hindus cremate their dead
Hindu genealogy registers at
Varanasi are kept here.
Ramnagar Fort , near the eastern bank of the Ganges, was built in
the 18th century in the Mughal style of architecture with carved
balconies, open courtyards, and scenic pavilions. Among the estimated
23,000 temples in
Kashi Vishwanath Temple of Shiva, the
Hanuman Temple , and the
Durga Temple . The Kashi Naresh
Maharaja of Kashi) is the chief cultural patron of Varanasi, and an
essential part of all religious celebrations. An educational and
musical centre, many prominent Indian philosophers, poets, writers,
and musicians live or have lived in the city, and it was the place
Benares gharana form of
Hindustani classical music was
developed. One of Asia's largest residential universities is Banaras
University (BHU). The Hindi-language nationalist newspaper, Aj ,
was first published in 1920.
* 1 Etymology
* 2 History
* 2.1 Archaeological evidence
* 2.2 Ancient period
* 2.3 Medieval period
* 2.4 Modern history (1500 – present)
* 3 Geography and climate
* 3.1 Geography
* 3.2 Climate
* 4 Administration
* 4.1 Politics and law
* 4.2 Healthcare
* 4.3 Public maintenance
* 5 Demographics
* 6 Economy
* 7 Notable landmarks
* 7.1 Jantar Mantar
* 7.4 Temples
* 7.5 Mosques
* 7.6 Shri
Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan
* 8 Culture
* 8.1 Literature
* 8.2 Art
* 8.3 Music
* 8.4 Festivals
* 9 Education
* 10 Sport
* 11.1 Air transport
* 11.2 Railways
* 11.3 Roads
* 12 Twin towns – sister cities
* 13 See also
* 14 References
* 15 Further reading
* 16 External links
Traditional etymology links "Varanasi" to the names of two Ganges
tributaries forming the city's borders:
Varuna , still flowing in
northern Varanasi, and Assi, today a small stream in the southern part
of the city, near Assi Ghat. The old city is located on the north
shores of the
Ganges , bounded by
Varuna and Assi.
Rigveda , an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic
Sanskrit hymns, the city is referred to as Kāśī (Kashi) from the
Sanskrit verbal root kaś- "to shine", making
Varanasi known as "City
of Light", the "luminous city as an eminent seat of learning". The
name was also used by pilgrims dating from
Buddha 's days.
Hindu religious texts use many epithets to refer to Varanasi, such as
Sanskrit : "the shining one"), Avimukta (Sanskrit: "never
forsaken" by Shiva), Ānandavana (Sanskrit: "the forest of bliss"),
and Rudravāsa (Sanskrit: "the place where Rudra/Śiva resides").
According to legend,
Varanasi was founded by the god
Shiva . There
happened a fight between the two supreme gods ,
Brahma and Shiva, and
the succeeding combat resulted in one of the four heads of Brahma
being torn off by Shiva. It was a custom of the time that the victor
carried the slain adversary’s head in his hand and let it hang down
from his hand as an act of ignominy and a sign of his own bravery. A
bridle was also put into the mouth.
Shiva thus dishonored Brahma's
head, and kept it with him at all times. When he came to the city of
Varanasi in this state, the hanging head of
Brahma dropped from
Shiva's hand and disappeared in the ground. The land of
therefore considered an extremely holy religious site.
The Pandavas , the mythic protagonists of the
Hindu epic Mahabharata
, are said to have visited the city in search of
Shiva to atone for
their sin of fratricide and
Brāhmanahatya that they had committed
during the climactic
Kurukshetra War . It is regarded as one of seven
holy cities (
Sapta Puri ) which can provide
Ayodhya , Mathura
Bodh Gaya , Kashi,
Kanchi , Avanti , and
Dvārakā are the seven
cities known as the givers of liberation.
Archaeological evidence of the earliest known settlements in the
Varanasi suggest that such urban settlement of the area
began ca. 2000 BCE, placing
Varanasi among the world\'s oldest
continuously inhabited cities according to Kenneth Fletcher. These
archaeological remains suggest that the
Varanasi area was populated by
Vedic people . The oldest known text referencing the city, the
Atharvaveda , also dates to approximately the same period, and
suggests that the area was populated by indigenous tribes. It is
possible that additional archaeological evidence of these previous
inhabitants may also yet be discovered. Recent excavations at Aktha
and Ramnagar , two sites very near to Varanasi, show them to be from
1800 BCE, also supporting the view that the
Varanasi area was
inhabited by this time.
Varanasi grew as an important industrial centre, famous for its
muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture. During
the time of Gautama
Varanasi was the capital of the Kingdom
of Kashi . The
Buddha is believed to have founded
around 528 BCE when he gave his first sermon, "The Setting in Motion
of the Wheel of
Dharma ", at nearby
Sarnath . The celebrated Chinese
Xuanzang , also known as Hiuen Tsiang, who visited the city
around 635 CE, attested that the city was a centre of religious and
artistic activities, and that it extended for about 5 kilometres (3.1
mi) along the western bank of the Ganges. When Xuanzang, visited
Varanasi in the 7th century, he named it "Polonisse" and wrote that
the city had some 30 temples with about 30 monks. The city's
religious importance continued to grow in the 8th century, when Adi
Shankara established the worship of
Shiva as an official sect of
Chandradeva , founder of the
Gahadavala dynasty made Banaras a second
capital in 1090.
During the Mauryan era ,
Varanasi was connected by a road starting
Taxila and ending at
Varanasi remained the centre of activity for intellectuals and
theologians during the Middle Ages, which further contributed to its
reputation as a cultural centre of religion and education. Several
major figures of the
Bhakti movement were born in Varanasi, including
Kabir who was born here in 1389, and
Ravidas , a 15th-century
socio-religious reformer, mystic, poet, traveller, and spiritual
figure, who was born and lived in the city and employed in the tannery
MODERN HISTORY (1500 – PRESENT)
A lithograph by James Prinsep (1832) of a
Brahmin placing a
garland on the holiest location in the city A painting by Edwin
Lord Weeks (1883) of Varanasi, viewed from the
illustration (1890) of Bathing
Numerous eminent scholars and preachers visited the city from across
India and south Asia.
Guru Nanak visited
Varanasi for Maha Shivaratri
in 1507, a trip that played a large role in the founding of
Varanasi experienced a
Hindu cultural revival in the 16th century
under the Muslim Mughal emperor
Akbar , who invested in the city and
built two large temples dedicated to
Vishnu . The Raja of
Pune established the Annapurna Mandir, and the 200-metre (660 ft)
Akbari Bridge was also completed during this period. The earliest
tourists began arriving in the city during the 16th century. In 1665,
the French traveller
Jean-Baptiste Tavernier described the
architectural beauty of the Vindu Madhava temple on the side of the
Ganges. The road infrastructure was also improved during this period.
It was extended from
Peshawar by Emperor
Sher Shah Suri ;
later during the
British Raj it came to be known as the famous Grand
Trunk Road . In 1656, Emperor
Aurangzeb ordered the destruction of
many temples and the building of mosques, causing the city to
experience a temporary setback. However, after Aurangazeb's death,
India was ruled by a confederacy of pro-
Hindu kings. Much of
Varanasi was built during this time, especially during the 18th
century by the Maratha and
Bhumihar (Brahmin). The kings governing
Varanasi continued to wield power and importance through much of the
British Raj period, including the
Maharaja of Benares, or Kashi Naresh
. Majaraja of Benares and Suite, 1870s Map of the city, ca
The Kingdom of Benares was given official status by the Mughals in
1737, and continued as a dynasty-governed area until Indian
independence in 1947, during the reign of Dr.
Vibhuti Narayan Singh.
In the 18th century,
Muhammad Shah ordered the construction of an
observatory on the Ganges, attached to Man Mandir Ghat, designed to
discover imperfections in the calendar in order to revise existing
astronomical tables. Tourism in the city began to flourish in the 18th
century. In 1791, under the rule of the British Governor-General
Warren Hastings , Jonathan Duncan founded a
Sanskrit College in
Varanasi. In 1867, the establishment of the
Varanasi Municipal Board
led to significant improvements in the city's infrastructure and basic
amenities of health services, drinking water supply and sanitation
An 1895 photograph of the
In 1897, author
Mark Twain said of Varanasi, "Benares is older than
history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice
as old as all of them put together." In 1910, the British made
Varanasi a new Indian state, with Ramnagar as its capital but with no
jurisdiction over the city of
Varanasi itself. The religious head,
Kashi Naresh, has had his headquarters at the
Ramnagar Fort since the
18th century, also a repository of the history of the kings of
Varanasi, which is situated to the east of Varanasi, across the
Kashi Naresh is deeply revered by the local people and
the chief cultural patron; some devout inhabitants consider him to be
the incarnation of Shiva.
In 1857, the
British Army committed a massacre of Indian troops and
city residence during the early stages of the Indian Rebellion of 1857
Annie Besant founded the Central
Hindu College , which later became
a foundation for the creation of
Banaras Hindu University in 1916.
Besant founded the Central
Hindu College because she wanted to bring
men of all religions together under the ideal of brotherhood in order
to promote Indian cultural values and to remove ill-will among
different sections of the Indian population."
Varanasi was ceded to the Union of
India in 1947, and Dr. Vibhuti
Narayan Singh incorporated his territories into the United Provinces
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
Varanasi is located at an elevation of 80.71 metres (264.8 ft) in
the centre of the
Ganges valley of North
India , in the Eastern part
of the state of Uttar Pradesh, along the left crescent-shaped bank of
the Ganges, averaging between 15 metres (50 ft) and 21 metres (70 ft)
above the river. The city is the headquarters of
Varanasi district .
Varanasi is located 797 kilometres (495 mi) south-east of New
Delhi , 320 kilometres (200 mi) south-east of
Lucknow , 121 kilometres
(75 mi) east of
Allahabad , and 63 kilometres (39 mi) south of Jaunpur
. The "
Varanasi Urban Agglomeration" – an agglomeration of seven
urban sub-units – covers an area of 112.26 km 2 (approximately 43
mi²). Neighbourhoods of the city include Adampura, Anandbagh,
Bachchhaon, Bangali Tola, Bhelpura, Bulanala, Chaitganj, Chaukaghat,
Chowk, Dhupchandi, Dumraon, Gandhinagar, Gautam Nagar, Giri Nagar,
Guru Nanak Nagar, Jaitpura, Kail Garh, Khanna, Kotwali,
Lanka Manduadih, Luxa, Maheshpur, Mahmoorganj, Maulvibagh, Nagwar,
Naipokhari, Shivala, Siddhagiribagh, and Sigra.
Being located in the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India, the land is
very fertile because low level floods in the
replenish the soil.
Varanasi is located between the
with two rivers: the
Varuna and the Assi stream. The distance between
the two confluences is around 2 miles (4 km), and serves as a sacred
journeying route for Hindus, which culminates with a visit to a Sakshi
Varanasi experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate
classification Cwa) with large variations between summer and winter
temperatures. The dry summer starts in April and lasts until June,
followed by the monsoon season from July to October. The temperature
ranges between 22 and 46 °C (72 and 115 °F) in the summers. Winters
Varanasi see very large diurnal variations, with warm days and
downright cold nights. Cold waves from the Himalayan region cause
temperatures to dip across the city in the winter from December to
February and temperatures below 5 °C (41 °F) are not uncommon. The
average annual rainfall is 1,110 mm (44 in). Fog is common in the
winters, while hot dry winds, called loo , blow in the summers. In
recent years, the water level of the
Ganges has decreased
significantly; upstream dams, unregulated water extraction, and
dwindling glacial sources due to global warming may be to blame.
CLIMATE DATA FOR VARANASI AIRPORT (1971–2000)
RECORD HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
RECORD LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE RAINY DAYS
India Meteorological Department (record high and low up to
POLITICS AND LAW
Varanasi is governed by a number of bodies, the most important being
Varanasi Nagar Nigam (Municipal Corporation) and the Varanasi
Development Authority, which is responsible for the master planning of
the city. Water supply and sewage system is operated by the Jal Nigam.
Varanasi is represented in the Parliament of
India by the current
Prime Minister of
Narendra Modi who won the
Lok Sabha elections
in 2014 by a huge margin.
Sushruta , the great surgeon and author of the
Sushruta Samhita , the
Sanskrit text of surgery, lived in
Varanasi and practised medicine and
surgery sometime during the 5th century BCE. Since 1922,
been a subject of training in the
Banaras Hindu University and in 1927
a separate Ayurvedic College was established. There are many
Ayurvedic centres in
Varanasi like Sparsa Ayurvedic Centre which
provide Ayurvedic treatments such as
Panchakarma and other methods. S
Hospital operates a
Panchakarma treatment centre, in
association with Kerala
Varansi has several hospitals, including Heritage Hospital, Marwari
Hospital, Pitambari Hopspital, Mata Anand Mai Hospital, Rajkiya
Krishna Mission Hospital, Shiv Prasad Gupta Hospital,
Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital (managed by state govt.) the
largest and superspeciality hospital is Sir Sundar Lal Hospital
University Hospital) having more 1150 beds 92,000,000 US gal) per day
of sewage and 425 tonnes (418 long tons; 468 short tons) per day of
solid waste. The solid wastes are disposed in one landfill site.
See also: List of cities in
According to provisional data from the 2011 census , the Varanasi
urban agglomeration had a population of 1,435,113, with 761,060 men
and 674,053 women.
The population of the
Varanasi urban agglomeration in 2001 was
1,371,749 with a ratio of 879 females every 1,000 males. However, the
Varanasi Nagar Nigam has a population of 1,100,748 with a
ratio of 883 females for every 1,000 males. The literacy rate in the
urban agglomeration is 77% while that in the municipal corporation
area is 78%. Approximately 138,000 people in the municipal area live
According to the 2006 City Development Plan for Varanasi,
approximately 29% of Varanasi's population is employed. Approximately
40% are employed in manufacturing, 26% work in trade and commerce, 19%
work in other services, 8% work in transport and communication, 4%
work in agriculture, 2% work in construction, and 2% are marginal
workers (working for less than half of the year).
Among manufacturing workers, 51% work in spinning and weaving, 15%
work in metal, 6% work in printing and publishing, 5% work in
electrical machinery, and the rest work in a wide variety of industry
sectors. Varanasi's manufacturing industry is not well developed and
is dominated by small-scale industries and household production.
Tourists shopping for jewellery in
Silk weaving is the dominant industry in Varanasi. Muslims are the
influential community in this industry with nearly half a million of
them working as weavers, dyers, sari finishers, and salespersons.
Weaving is typically done within the household, and most weavers are
Momin Ansari Muslims.
Varanasi is known throughout
India for its
production of very fine silk and Banarasi saris , brocades with gold
and silver thread work, which are often used for weddings and special
occasions. The production of silk often uses bonded child labour,
though perhaps not at a higher rate than elsewhere in India. The silk
weaving industry has recently been threatened by the rise of power
looms and computer-generated designs and by competition from Chinese
In the metal manufacturing sector,
Diesel Locomotive Works is a major
Bharat Heavy Electricals , a large power equipment
manufacturer, also operates a heavy equipment maintenance plant.
Other major commodities manufactured and traded in
Mirzapur carpets, rugs, dhurries , brassware, copperware,
wooden and clay toys, handicrafts, gold jewellery, and musical
instruments. Important agricultural products include betel leaves
(for paan ), langra mangoes and khoa (solidified milk). DLW
manufactured locomotives hauling load across the nation
Tourism is Varanasi's second most important industry. Over 3 million
domestic and 200,000 foreign tourists visit annually (in 2005 and
2010, respectively), most commonly for religious purposes. Most
domestic tourists are from Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and
Uttar Pradesh, while the majority of foreign tourists are from Sri
Lanka and Japan. The peak tourist season falls between October and
March. In total, there are around 12,000 beds available in the city,
of which about one half are in inexpensive budget hotels and one third
in dharamsalas . Overall, Varanasi's tourist infrastructure is not
The prominent malls and multiplexes in
Varanasi are JHV Mall in the
Varanasi Cantonment area, IP Mall in Sigra, IP Vijaya Mall in
Bhelupur, and PDR in Luxa. The city has several banks, including the
Allahabad Bank ,
Andhra Bank ,
Bank of Baroda ,
Canara Bank , Central
Corporation Bank ,
Indian Overseas Bank , and State
Apart from the 19 archaeological sites identified by the
Archaeological Survey of
India , some of the prominent places of
interest are the Aghor Peeth, the Alamgir Mosque, the Ashoka Pillar ,
Bharat Kala Bhavan (Art Museum), the
Bharat Mata Mandir , the
Central University for Tibetan Studies , the Dhanvantari Temple , the
Durga Temple , the Jantar Mantar , the
Kashi Vishwanath Temple , the
Hanuman Temple , the
Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith ,
New Vishwanath Temple on the BHU campus, the
Ramnagar Fort , the
Ghats , the Tulsi Manas Temple .
The Jantar Mantar observatory , constructed in 1737, is located above
the ghats along the Ganges, and is adjacent to the Manmandir and
Ghats and near the palace of
Jai Singh II
Jai Singh II of
While less equipped than the observatories at
Jaipur and Delhi, the
Jantar Mantar has a unique equatorial sundial which is functional and
allows measurements to be monitored and recorded by one person.
The Ramnagar Fort, located near the
Ganges on its eastern bank and
opposite the Tulsi Ghat, was built in the 18th century by Kashi Naresh
Raja Balwant Singh with cream-coloured chunar sandstone . The fort is
a typical example of the
Mughal architecture with carved balconies,
open courtyards, and scenic pavilions. At present, the fort is in
disrepair. The fort and its museum are the repository of the history
of the kings of Benares. Cited as an "eccentric" museum, it contains a
rare collection of American vintage cars , bejeweled sedan chairs , an
impressive weaponry hall, and a rare astrological clock. In addition,
manuscripts, especially religious writings, are housed in the
Saraswati Bhawan which is a part of a museum within the fort. Many
books illustrated in the Mughal miniature style are also part of the
collections. Because of its scenic location on the banks of the
Ganges, it is frequently used as an outdoor shooting location for
films. A view of the
Ghats in Varanasi from the
Ghats in Varanasi
Ghats in Varanasi are world-renowned embankments made in steps of
stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform ritual
ablutions. The ghats are an integral complement to the
of divinity represented in physical, metaphysical , and supernatural
Varanasi has at least 84 ghats, most of which are used for
bathing by pilgrims and spiritually significant
Hindu puja ceremony ,
while a few are used exclusively as
Hindu cremation sites. Steps in
the ghats lead to the banks of Ganges, including the Dashashwamedh
Ghat , the
Manikarnika Ghat , the Panchganga Ghat, and the
Harishchandra Ghat, where Hindus cremate their dead. Many ghats are
Hindu legends and several are now privately owned.
Many of the ghats were constructed under the patronage of the
Marathas, Shindes (Scindias ), Holkars , Bhonsles , and Peshwas . Most
are bathing ghats, while others are used as cremation sites. A morning
boat ride on the
Ganges across the ghats is a popular tourist
attraction. The extensive stretches of ghats in
Varanasi enhance the
riverfront with a multitude of shrines, temples, and palaces built
"tier on tier above the water's edge".
THE DASHASHWAMEDH GHAT is the main and probably the oldest ghat of
Varanasi located on the Ganges, close to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
It is believed that
Brahma created this ghat to welcome
sacrificed ten horses during the Dasa-
Ashwamedha yajna performed
there. Above and adjacent to this ghat, there are also temples
dedicated to Sulatankesvara, Brahmesvara, Varahesvara, Abhaya
Vinayaka, Ganga (the Ganges), and Bandi Devi, which are all important
pilgrimage sites. A group of priests perform "
Agni Pooja" (Sanskrit
:"Worship of Fire") daily in the evening at this ghat as a dedication
to Shiva, Ganga,
Agni (Fire), and the entire universe.
Special aartis are held on Tuesdays and on religious festivals.
THE MANIKARNIKA GHAT is the Mahasmasana, the primary site for Hindu
cremation in the city. Adjoining the ghat, there are raised platforms
that are used for death anniversary rituals. According to a myth it is
said that an earring of
Shiva or his wife Sati fell here.
Fourth-century Gupta period inscriptions mention this ghat. However,
the current ghat as a permanent riverside embankment was built in 1302
and has been renovated at least three times throughout its existence.
THE JAIN GHAT :
Varanasi is believed to birthplace of Suparshvanatha
(7th tirthankara) and
Parshvanatha (23rd tirthankara). The Jain Ghat
Ghat is a Jain
Ghat and has three Jain Temples located on
the banks of the River. It is believed that the Jain Maharajas used to
own these ghats.Bachraj
Ghat has three Jain temples near the river's
banks and one them is a very ancient temple of Tirthankara
Hindu temples in
Varanasi further information at
Religion in Varanasi
Among the estimated 23,000 temples in Varanasi, the temples most
popular for worship are: the
Kashi Vishwanath Temple of Shiva; the
Hanuman Temple ; and the
Durga Temple, known for monkeys
that reside in the large trees nearby. The Kashi Vishwanath
Temple , the most important temple in
* THE KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE , on the Ganges, is one of the 12
Shiva temples in Varanasi. The temple has been destroyed
and rebuilt several times throughout its existence. The Gyanvapi
Mosque , which is adjacent to the temple, is the original site of the
temple. The temple, which is also known as the Golden Temple, was
built in 1780 by Queen Ahilyabai
Indore . The two pinnacles
of the temple are covered in gold and were donated in 1839 by Ranjit
Singh , the ruler of Punjab . The dome is scheduled to receive gold
plating through a proposed initiative of the Ministry of Culture and
Religious Affairs of Uttar Pradesh. Numerous rituals, prayers, and
aartis are held daily at the temple between 02:30 and 23:00.
* THE SANKAT MOCHAN HANUMAN TEMPLE , which is situated by the Asi
River, is one of the sacred temples of the
Hanuman . The
present temple was built in the early 1900s by the educationist and
Indian independence figure , Pandit
Madan Mohan Malaviya , the founder
Hindu University. According to
Hindu legend the temple was
built on the spot where the medieval
Tulsidas had a vision
of Hanuman. During a 7 March 2006 terrorist attack, one of three
explosions hit the temple while a wedding was in progress, and
resulted in injuries to 30 people apart from 23 deaths. Following the
attack, a permanent police post was installed inside the temple.
The 18th century
Durga Kund Temple , also known as the "Monkey
* THERE ARE TWO TEMPLES NAMED "DURGA" IN VARANASI:
built in the 16th century (exact date not known), and
Sanskrit 'kund' meaning "pond or pool") built in the 18th century. A
large number of
Hindu devotees visit
Durga Kund during
worship the goddess
Durga . The temple, built in the Nagara
architectural style, has multi-tiered spires and is stained red with
ochre , representing the red colour of Durga. The building has a
rectangular tank of water called the
Durga Kund ("Kund" meaning a pond
or pool). During annual celebrations of
Nag Panchami , the act of
depicting the god
Vishnu reclining on the serpent
Shesha is recreated
in the Kund. While the Annapurna Temple , located nearby to the Kashi
Vishwanath Temple, is dedicated to
Annapoorna devi , the goddess of
food, the Sankatha Temple adjacent to the Sindhia
Ghat is dedicated
to Sankatha, the goddess of remedy. The Sankatha Temple has a large
sculpture of a lion and a cluster of nine smaller temples dedicated to
the nine planets . Other temples of note are: the
Bharat Mata Mandir
, dedicated to the national personification of India, which was
Mahatma Gandhi in 1936, the Kalabhairav Temple, the
Mrithyunjay Mahadev Temple, and the
New Vishwanath Temple located in
the campus of BHU, the
Tulsi Manas Mandir .
Parshvanath Jain temple
* PARSHVANATH JAIN TEMPLE : The
Parshvanath Jain temple, Varanasi is
temple of Jain religion dedicated to Parshvanath, the 23rd
Thirthankara who was born at Bhelpur in Varanasi. The idol deified in
the temple is of black colour and 75 centimetres (30 inches) in
height. It is located in Bhelapur about 5 kilometres (3.1 miles) from
the centre of
Varanasi city and 3 kilometres (1.9 miles) from the
Hindu University. It belongs to the digambara sect of Jainism
and is a holy tirtha or pilgrimage centre for Jains.
Gyanvapi Mosque Alamgiri
There are 15 mosques of significant historical value in Varanasi. Of
particular note are the Abdul Razzaq, Alamgir, Bibi Razia,
Chaukhambha, Dhai Nim Kangore, Fatman, Ganje Shahada, Gyanavapi and
Hazrat Sayyed Salar Masud Dargah. Many of these mosques were
constructed from the components of the
Hindu shrines which were
destroyed under the auspices of subsequent Muslim invaders or rulers.
The two well known mosques are the
Gyanvapi Mosque and the Alamgir
Gyanvapi Mosque was built by the Mughal emperor
Aurangzeb in 1664
CE, after destroying a
Hindu temple. Gyan Vapi (Sanskrit: "the well
of knowledge"), the name of the mosque, is derived from a well of the
same name located within the precincts of the mosque. The remains of
an erstwhile temple can be seen in the foundation, the columns and at
the rear part of the mosque The façade of the mosque is modelled
partially on the
Taj Mahal 's entrance. The mosque is administered by
the Anjuman Inthazamiya Masajid (AIM).
Mosque was built in the 17th century by
the ruins of a
Hindu temple. The
Hindu temple that was destroyed was
Vishnu , and had been built by Beni Madhur Rao Scindia, a
Maratha chieftain. When emperor
Aurangzeb had captured Banaras, he had
ordered total destruction of all
Hindu temples there.
built a mosque over the ruins of this temple in 1669 and named it as
Mosque in the name of his own honorific title "Alamgir" which
he had adopted after becoming the emperor of Mughal empire. The
mosque is located at a prominent site above the Panchganga
which is a funerary ghat facing the Ganges. The mosque is
architecturally a blend of Islamic and
particularly because of the lower part of the walls of the mosque
having been built fully with the remains of the
Hindu temple. The
mosque has high domes and minarets. Two of its minarets had been
damaged; one minaret crashed killing a few people and the other
minaret was officially brought down because of stability concerns.
Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the mosque. The mosque has a
security cordon of a police force.
SHRI GURU RAVIDASS JANAM ASTHAN
Memorial of Sant
Ravidas at Sant
Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan , at
Sir Gobardhan is the ultimate
place of pilgrimage or religious headquarters for followers of the
Ravidassia religion . The foundation stone was laid on 14 June 1965
on Ashad Sankranti day at the birthplace of Ravidas. The temple was
completed in 1994.
Renowned Indian writers who have resided in the city were Kabir,
Ravidas, and Tulsidas, who wrote much of his
Ram Charit Manas here.
Kulluka Bhatt wrote the best known account of
Manusmriti in Varanasi
in the 15th century, Later writers of the city have included Acharya
Baldev Upadhyaya ,
Bharatendu Harishchandra , Devaki Nandan
Hazari Prasad Dwivedi ,
Jaishankar Prasad , Kshetresa Chandra
Chattopadhyaya , Sudama Pandey (Dhoomil),
Vagish Shastri , and Vidya
Niwas Mishra .
Several newspapers and journals are or were published in Varanasi
Varanasi Chandroday and its successor Kashivartaprakashika,
which became a weekly journal, first published on 1 June 1851. The
main newspaper is Aj , a Hindi-language nationalist newspaper first
published in 1920. The newspaper was the bulwark of the Indian
National Congress and is a major newspaper of
Hindi northern India.
Wall paintings , Varanasi, 1974
Varanasi is a major centre of arts and designs. It is a producer of
silks and brocades with gold and silver thread work, carpet weaving,
wooden toys, bangles made of glass, ivory work, perfumes, artistic
brass and copper ware and a variety of handicrafts. The cantonment
graveyard of the
British Raj is now the location of Varanasi's Arts
Notable artists (musicians and dancers) and historians who are
connected with the city include Anand
Bismillah Khan ,
musicians Omkarnath Thakur,
Ravi Shankar , Girija
Devi , Gopal Shankar
Misra , Gopi
Kishan Maharaj ,
Lalmani Misra ,
N. Rajam ,
Krishna , Siddheshwari
Samta Prasad , Sitara
Devi , and
Vikash Maharaj .
Music in Varanasi Sant Goswami
Hindi poet and propagator of Bhakthi music in
Varanasi’s music tradition is traced to the Pauranic days.
According to ancient legend,
Shiva is credited with evolving music and
dance forms. During the medieval era,
Vaishnavism , a
, grew in popularity, and
Varanasi became a thriving center for
musicians such as
Meera and Tulsidas.
During the monarchic rule of Govind Chandra in the 16th century, the
Dhrupad style of singing received royal patronage and led to other
related forms of music such as Dhamar, Hori, and Chaturang. Presently
Dhrupad maestro Pandit
Ritwik Sanyal from
Varanasi is working for
the revival of this art-music.
In recent times, Girija Devi, the native famous classical singer of
thumris , was widely appreciated and respected for her musical
Varanasi is also associated with many great
instrumentalists such as Ustad
Bismillah Khan , Pandit Vikash Maharaj
, and Pandit
Ravi Shankar , the famous sitar player and musicologist
who was given the highest civilian award of the country, the Bharat
Varanasi has joined the global bandwagon of UNESCO "Cities of
Music" under the Creative Cities Network.
Shivaratri (February), a procession of
Shiva proceeds from
the Mahamrityunjaya Temple to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Dhrupad
Mela is a five-day musical festival devoted to dhrupad style held at
Ghat in February–March. The Sankat Mochan
Hanuman Jayanti (March–April), the birthday of Hanuman. A
special puja , aarti , and a public procession is organised. Since
1923, the temple has organised a five-day classical music and dance
concert festival named Sankat Mochan Sangeet Samaroh, when iconic
artists from all parts of
India are invited to perform.
Ramlila of Ramnagar is a dramatic enactment of Rama's legend, as
told in Ramacharitamanasa. The plays, sponsored by Kashi Naresh, are
performed in Ramnagar every evening for 31 days. On the last day, the
festivities reach a crescendo as
Rama vanquishes the demon king Ravana
Udit Narayan Singh started this tradition around 1830.
Krishna standing on serpent
Nag Nathaiya festival
Nag Nathaiya is celebrated on the fourth lunar day of the dark
fortnight of the
Hindu month of Kartik (October–November). It
commemorates the victory of
Krishna over the serpent
Kaliya . On this
occasion, a large Kadamba tree (Neolamarckia cadamba) branch is
planted on the banks of the
Ganges so that a boy, playing the role of
Krishna, can jump into the river on to the effigy representing Kaliya.
He stands over the effigy in a dancing pose playing the flute , while
an audience watches from the banks of the river or from boats. Bharat
Milap celebrates the meeting of
Rama and his younger brother Bharata
after the return of the former after 14 years of exile. It is
celebrated during October–November, a day after the festival of
Kashi Naresh attends this festival in his regal
attire. The festival attracts a large number of devotees.
Ganga Mahotsav is a five-day music festival organised by the Uttar
Pradesh Tourism Department, held in November–December. It culminates
a day before
Kartik Purnima , also called the
Ganges festival . On
this occasion the
Ganges is attended by thousands of pilgrims, release
lighted lamps to float in the river from the ghats.
The primary Muslim festivals celebrated annually in the city are the
ld-ul-fitr' (Ramzan ), Bakrid , Mid-Sha\'ban , Bara Wafat and Muharram
. Additional festivals include Alvida and Chehlum . A non-religious
festival observed by Muslims is Ghazi-miyan-ka-byaha ("the marriage of
Main article: Educational institutions in
Institute of Technology (BHU)
Varanasi is an Institute of National
Varanasi Women's College, Banaras Hindu
Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum, Banaras Hindu
Varanasi has been a centre for education in India,
attracting students and scholars from across the country. Varanasi
has an overall literacy rate of 80% (male literacy: 85%, female
literacy: 75%). It is home to a number of colleges and universities.
Most notably, it is the site of
Banaras Hindu University (BHU), which
is one of the largest residential universities in Asia with over
20,000 students. The
Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi is
designated an Institute of National Importance and is one of 16 Indian
Institutes of Technology . Other colleges and universities in Varanasi
Jamia-e-Imania , the Institute of Integrated Management and
Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith , Nav Sadhana Kala Kendra
Sri Agrasen Kanya P.G. College ,
Udai Pratap Autonomous College . Various engineering colleges have
been established in the outskirts of the city.
St. Joseph\'s Convent School , in Shivpur, Varanasi, was established
by the Sisters of Our Lady of Providence of France as a Catholic
(Christian) minority institution with the approval of the Government
of Uttar Pradesh. It is an autonomous organisation under the diocese
of the Bishop of Varanasi. It provides education not only to the
Catholic Christian children but also to others who abide by its rules.
Another important institution is the Central
Hindu School in
Kamachha. This was established by
Annie Besant in July 1898 with the
objective of imparting secular education. It is affiliated to the
Central Board of Secondary Education
Central Board of Secondary Education and is open to students of all
Varanasi are affiliated with the Indian Certificate of
Secondary Education (ICSE) , the CBSE, or the
Uttar Pradesh Board of
Technical Education (U.P Board). The overall "state of education in
Varanasi is ... not good." Schools in
Varanasi vary widely in
quality, with private schools outperforming government schools. In
government schools, many teachers fail to come to class or to teach
children. Some government schools lack basic equipment, such as
blackboards and sufficient desks and chairs for all students. Private
schools vary in quality, with the most expensive conducting lessons in
English (seen as a key to children's success) and having computers in
classrooms. Pupils attending the more expensive private schools,
tended to come from upper-class families. Lower-cost private schools
attracted children from lower-income families or those lower-income
families with higher education aspirations. Government schools tend
to serve lower-class children with lower education aspirations.
Basketball , cricket , and field hockey are popular sports in
Varanasi. The main stadium in the city is the Dr Sampurnanda Stadium
(Sigra Stadium), where first-class cricket matches are held. Local
cricket matches are also played on the BHU Ground, Dr. Bheeem Rao
The Physical Education Faculty of Arts of BHU offers diploma courses
in Sports Management, Sports Physiotherapy, Sports Psychology and
Gymnastics is also popular in Varanasi, and many Indian girls
practice outdoors at the ghats in the mornings which hosts akhadas ,
where "morning exercise, a dip in the
Ganges and a visit to Lord
Hanuman " forms a daily ritual. Despite concerns regarding water
quality, two swimming clubs offer swimming lessons in the Ganges.
District Chess Sports Association (VDCSA) is based in
Varanasi, affiliated to the regional
Uttar Pradesh Chess Sports
Cycle rickshaws in a busy street in
Varanasi is well-connected by air, rail and road. One of the major
factors in Varanasi's is its access to all parts of the country.
Within the city mobility is provided by taxis, rickshaws, cycle
rickshaws and three wheelers but with certain restrictions in the old
town area of the city. The Lal Bahadur Shastri International
Varanasi is served by
Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport
Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport ,
which is approximately 26 km (16 mi) from the city centre in Babatpur.
The airport inaugurated a new terminal in 2010, and it was granted
international airport status on 4 October 2012. Air
India , Buddha
Jet Airways ,
Thai Smile ,
SriLankan Airlines and
SpiceJet operate flights from
Kolkata . Over 1,916,454 passengers passed
through the airport in 2016-17, making it the 21st busiest airport in
Varanasi Junction , commonly known as
Varanasi Cantt Railway Station,
is the city's largest train station. More than 360,000 passengers and
240 trains pass through each day.
Manduadih railway station is also a
Terminal station of Varanasi. Because of huge rush at Varanasi
Junction the railway developed the station as a high facilitated
Varanasi City railway station is also one of the railway
Varanasi district. It is 4 km North-East of Varanasi
Junction railway station.It serves as Terminal station because of
heavy rush at
Varanasi Junction. Mughalsarai Junction railway station
is also the important station in
Varanasi suburban. Some of the
important express trains operating from the
Varanasi Junction railway
Manduadih railway station are:
Shiv Ganga Express runs
Delhi Junction and Manduadih station while Mahamana
Express runs between
Varanasi junction and New
Delhi Junction; the
Udhna Varanasi Express that runs between Udhna (Surat) junction and
Varanasi, a distance of 1,398 kilometres (869 mi); the Kashi
Vishwanath Express that runs between
Varanasi and New
station ; the
Varanasi InterCity express, also called Varuna
express, which runs over a distance of 355 kilometres (221 mi) and
Lucknow (the capital city of Uttar Pradesh) and
Sabarmati Express which runs between
Varanasi and Ahmedabad.
Varanasi lies along National Highway 19 (old number: NH 2), which
connects it to Kolkata, Kanpur,
Agra , and Delhi. National Highway 28
Varanasi to the Nepal-
India border. National Highway 31
Varanasi to Unnao.
The Government is executing seven road projects connecting Varanasi,
the total project cost being Rs 7,100 crore and the total length of
the project being 524 km. Some of the important projects are:
* Six laning of Varanasi-Aurangabad NH-2
Varanasi Bypass (Ring Road) Phase-I
* Ghagra Bridge-
* Four laning of Varanasi-Sultanpur NH-56
Auto rickshaws are the most widely available forms of public
transport in old city. In the outer regions of the city, buses are
common, and taxis are available.
Varanasi Metro is a rapid transit proposed for Varanasi. The
proposed system consists of 2 corridors span from BHEL to Banaras
University and (19.35 km) and Benia Bagh to
Sarnath (9.885 km).
The feasibility study of the project was done by
RITES and was
completed in June 2015. Metro Rail is likely to be completed around
2020. There will be 26 stations including 20 underground and six
elevated in the two corridors which includes total length of 29.235 km
consisting of 23.467 km underground, while 5.768 km will be elevated.
The total estimated completion cost for construction of Varanasi
Metro is estimated to be Rs. 17,227 Crores including taxes and duties.
The project is envisaged to be undertaken as a Joint Venture (JV)
project between the Government of
India (GoI) and the Government of
Uttar Pradesh (GoUP) with 50:50 equity partnerships. To maintain the
financial viability of the project, additional grants have been
proposed from the two governments in addition to their equity
TWIN TOWNS – SISTER CITIES
Kyoto-Varanasi Partner City Agreement
Varanasi is twinned with:
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