VARANASI :- Varanasi, known to the devotees as Kashi, is said to have been founded by Shiva, Lord of the Universe. One of the oldest living cities in the world, as also one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India, Varanasi is a major tourist attraction. Right from the ancient times, Varanasi has stood as a symbol of Hindu renaissance and preserved the rituals and traditions of Hindu philosophy. Down the ages, pilgrims from distant lands have come to Varanasi in search of divine blessings. At a distance of 12 km from Varanasi lies Sarnath, where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon. Here he revealed the eight fold path that leads to the attainment of inner peace, enlightenment and ultimate nirvana.
FESTIVALS :- The festive magic never ends in Varanasi. If Poornima cleanses, Maha Shivratri blesses. If Holika-Dahan is a celebration, Dhrupad Mela is a revelation. One does not require making his itinerary according to the dates and months of the festivals. One can come and enjoy the festive season anytime of the year here.
THE GHATS :- There are around 100 ghats in Varanasi, each with its own significance. Most Indians believe that anyone dying on the banks of the river, in Varanasi, attains instant 'Moksha' or enlightenment. Pilgrims flock the Ghats to have a ritual bath and perform puja to the rising sun, following centuries old tradition. The Dasashvamedh Ghat offers a splendid view of the river front. Other special ghats are the Asi, Barnasangam, Panchganga and Manikarnika Ghats.
Temples :- form the major source of attraction in this ancient city. Providing the backdrop is an incredible array of temples and ancient buildings, several of them standing at odd angles because their foundations have been eroded unevenly by flood waters. There are 2,000 temples and shrines in Varanasi, but the holiest, Vishvanatha, is closed to non-Hindus.
VISHWANATH TEMPLE :- Dedicated to Shiva or Vishveswara is the Golden Temple, the main temple of Varanasi.
THE DURGA TEMPLE :- Commonly known as the Monkey Temple, was built in the 18th century by a Bengali Maharani, and is stained red with ocher. This small temple, dedicated to Goddess Durga, consort of Shiva, is built in north Indian Nagara style, with a multicolored shikhara or umbrella.
THE BHARAT MATA TEMPLE :- It was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi and houses one of the most perfect relief maps of India carved out of marble.
TULSI MANAS TEMPLE :- This temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. The temple is built in the place where Goswami Tulsidas composed the epic 'Ramacharitramanas' which provides us with detailed description of the history and deeds of Lord Rama.
BANARAS HINDU UNIVERSITY :- Founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya it is considered to be the largest residential university in Asia. Within the university campus, Vishwanath Temple and Bharat Kala Kendra (Museum) are well worth a visit.