Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Varanasi Holidays

Times Tourism - Varanasi Holidays
Varanasi, the old Kashi, is the city of sadhus in saffron chaddars and wooden sandals, a city where faint strains of shastriya sangeet blend with the bam of temple bells.  For Kashi is the religious center for Hindus who come here to die in hope to attain moksha and get freedom from worldly desires  and from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Unlike most other sacred cities in India, Varanasi is the perfect package for the mind and soul.
From ancient times, Varanasi has been a sacred place of pilgrimage (real or imaginary tirtha) and definitely the most unique as you will immediately discover after reaching there. The city known for its rich cultural heritage – dance, music and craftsmanship has attracted artists over the ages. Visitors are irresistibly drawn to this vibrant, divine, colorful city epitomizing all that India is.
Sip of Nirvana
Things to see and do in Varanasi:
Most of the religious cities in India are known for their temples, only Varanasi stands out as the city of so many Ghats – hundred in all. The Ghats are series of steps leading to sacred river Ganga, built by ancient rulers, businessmen and altruists after whom they have been named.
The busy Ghats of Varanasi thrum with activity all through the day. Chanting here starts even before the sun rise in the morning. Thousand of pilgrims as well as the local residents, throng to the Ghats to take a holy dip in sacred water of Ganga, while many come here for performing the daily ritual of sun worship popularly known as ‘Surya Namaskar’.
As the popular spiritual tour to India, Varanasi has gained popularity not only among the domestic tourists but also among the foreign tourists and NRI brigade, who come here seek Nirvana.
Burning Ghats of Varanasi
Discover the famous attractions of Varanasi:
Dasashwamedh Ghat is regarded as the Varanasi’s most sacred spot. Try to get up early in the morning and be there before the sun rises. There is no better way to experience the life of this pious city other than taking a boat ride on the Ghats of Varanasi.  The sight of divine morning, constant chime of temple bells, and the smell of incense is spiritually exhilarating.
Take a turn from the Dasashwamedh Ghat to one of the two Varanasi’s burning Ghats known as Manikarnika Ghat (another one is Harishchandra Ghat). As you pass through this Ghat the emphatic expressions start to come out of you effortlessly. It’s the popular cremation Ghat, permanently lined with bodes in shrouds awaiting for the last cremation rites.   
Stop next at Sant Tulsidas Ghat, which is regarded as the oldest Ghat in Varanasi. Close by is the famous Darbhanga Ghat, said to have built by one of the royal family of Bihar. Not to miss is the popular Man Mandir Ghat, built by ruler of Jaipur - Raja Jai Singh II, here you get the chance to visit one of his four Jantar Mantars and a massive horologe.
Some other Ghats you come across includes Hanuman Ghat, Kedar Ghat, Tulsidas Ghat, Mir Ghat, Gai Ghat, Lalita Ghat, each with its own unique identity and myths.
Temples of Varanasi
Vishwanath Golden Temple :- Very close to the Dasashwamedh Ghat is the poplar temple of Varanasi known as Vishwanath Golden Temple, consecrated to Lord Shiva, the patron deity of this city.
Durga Temple :- Built in the 18th century, Durga temple is dedicated to Goddess Paravati, the consort of Lord Shiva. The temple is also referred to as the ‘Monkey Temple’ because of the presence of hordes of monkeys, who live here.
Bharat Mata Temple :- This is the most unusual temple in city of Varanasi, it has marble  relief map of the country dedicated to ‘Mother India’, epitomizing  nation as Mother instead of God and Goddess.
Not to Miss !!!
·         Evening Aarti at Dasashwamedh Ghat
·         Shopping for silk brocades and saris
·         Holy Dip at Ganges
·         Unnerving experience - cremation sights at Manikarnika Ghat
·         Sunset View over the ganges
Staying Option at Varanasi – Taj Ganes, Clarks Varanasi, Pallavi International Hotel, Hindustan International Hotel, Padmini International Hotel
Eating Options – Thali of puri sabzi, tikki, dal, rive, rotis, Kashi ka laddu and rabri 

City – Uttar Pradesh
Location – On the banks of river Ganga in UP, 290 kms from Lucknow
Best Time to visit Varanasi - October to March
STD code – 0542
How t Reach Varanasoi
By Air – Babatpur Airport is the nearest airport – Flights Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and Sahara
By Train – Well connected to the capital city of India- Delhi by Varansi Cantt and Mughal Sarai
By Road - Varanasi  is linked to Delhi by NH2 

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