As the sacred river
Ganga flows the snow-clad Himalayas into the vast plains, half way between Delhi
and Kolkata (Calcutta) it curves into a gentle crescent and along the crescent
lies Varanasi. Said to be the frist created spot on earth according to legend,
in existence for over thousands of years. Varanasi is the city which enshrines
the very essence of Hinduism.
nearest airport is Babatpur, situated 25 km from the city. Varanasi is
well connected by Indian
Airlines, Jet Airways and Air Sahara with Agra, Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi, Khajuraho,
Kathmandu, Lucknow and Mumbai.
is a focal point for the Northern and North-Eastern Railways and is
connected to all major cities and towns in India such as Delhi, Agra,
Lucknow, Patna, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Mumbai etc.
is situated at the junction of three national highways - NH-2 from
Calcutta to Delhi, NH-7 to Kanyakumari and NH-29 to Gorakhpur.
important road distances from Varanasi
most important facet of Varanasi is the Ganges and the ghats
lining its southern bank in the city. Virtually the raison de etre,
from dawn to dusk the ghats are thronged by thousands of devotees,
who perform their holy rituals in the hope of attaining eternal
salvation, or "Nirvana". One of the ways to
assimilate this life on the ghats is to mingle with the crowds and
let all of one's senses experience. But this mode has
limitations, to. Especially, if one has limited time or if one
desires a panoramic view of the activity.
in Lumbini (Nepal), Siddharth spent his early days in Piprahwa and
touched by his early experiences, set out in search of the truth.
Sravasti, 195 km from Gorakhpur is where the Buddha performed a
miracle, besides spending 27 rainy seasons, preaching his gospels.
Emperor Ashok marked his pilgrimage to Sravasti by building two
pillars, the ruins of which lie at the eastern gate of Jetavana.
Buddha passed ninto mahaparinirvana at Kushinagar, 53 km
east of Gorakhpur. The Mukta-bandhana stupa is said to have been
built to preserve the Buddha's relics. The Nirvana temple
enshrines a colossal reclining statue of the Buddha. Siddhartha,
after receiving enlightenment at Gaya, travelled to Sarnath 8 km
from Varanasi, and camped at the deer park to preach his first
sermon. Ashok, who converted to Buddhism in the 3rd century B.C.,
raised his famous pillar here inscribed with his edicts. An
imposing structure is the 5th century A.D. Dhamek Stupa, marking
the place where the Buddha first proclaimed his faith.
The Kashi - Vishwanath
Temple, Situated 3.8 km from the railways station, near the
ghats, is the
most sacred of the shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva, patron deity of Varanasi.
Originally constructed by Rani Ahillya Bai Holkar in 1776, it was rebuilt in the
18th century, its gold plating on the "shikharas" a gift of the
Sikh king, Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Benares Hindu University,
Situated 10 km from the railways station is probably the largest residential
university in Asia covering an area of approximately 2,000 acres, gifted by the
former maharaja of Varanasi who was a scholar of Sanskrit and Hindu philosophy.
Being a centre of Sanskrit, Indian Art, culture and music, it attracts students
both from Indian and abroad.
Gyanvapi Mosque, 4.8 km
from railway station, was constructed by Emperor Aurangzeb on the ruins of a
temple. Rare specimens of ancient temple art are evident in the foundation and
at the rear of the mosque.
Durga Temple, Situated 7
km from the railways station, is one of the important temples dedicated to
Goddess Durga. Constructed in the 18th century in the Nagara style of
architecture, it has shikharas (spires), which start from the bottom and
converge on the top. Locally known as "Monkey temple" because of the
large number of monkeys inhabiting the place.
Bharat Mata Temple, A
unique temple dedicated to Mother India. It houses a relief map of India carved
out of marble. Alamgir Mosque, popularly known as Beni Mahdav Ka
Darera, was originally a Vishnu temple, now a mix of Hindu and Mughal styles
Ramnagar Fort, Situated
16 km from the railways station and across the Ganges, is the palace of the
former Maharaja of Benares. Of special interest here are the Durbar Hall (public
audience room) and museum which houses an antique collection of palanquins,
elephant saddles, arms, costumes etc.
Tulsi Manas Mandir, 7 km
from railway station, constructed in 1964, is a temple devoted to Lord Rama.
Believed to be situated where saint-poet Tulsi Das lived and wrote the epic Ram
Charit Manas. An exquisite structure of white marble, it has the text of Ram
Charit Manas engraved on its walls.
Kaal Bhairav, Situated
in Visheswarganj, Bhairaon Nath, is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. There are
nine other Bhairav temples in the city.
Jateshwar Temple, In
Karnaghata, houses a black stone statue of Shiva and has tantric overtones.
Local belief has it that a devotee must offer his prayers here before going to
Maha Mritunjaya Temple,
in Dara Nagar, is a temple devoted to the God of Death. Devotees are not allowed
to touch the Shivalinga here.
Chhinmastica Temple, 16
km from the railway station city, believed to be a tantric centre. Houses a
headless statue of the deity Jagadamba.
Nepali Temple, Situated
on Lalita Ghat, was constructed by the late kind of Nepal. Made of wood brought
from Neapl, the walls have exquisite carvings. Also known as a "mini
The Fort of Chunar,
Situated 39 km away in Mirzapur district, famous for its ties with Sher Shah
Suri who dethroned Humayun in the 16th century.
Jaunpur, 58 km was an
important Muslim centre where art and architecture found patronage. Today it is
known for its perfumes and incense.
Chandra Prabha Sanctuary,
70 km is in a 78 sq km area and has a varied wildlife such as the panther, deer,
wild pig partridge and peafowl. The nearest railhead is at Mughal Sarai (55 km).
Kaimoor Sanctuary, 130
km covering 500 sq km of dry, mixed forest and scrub. on the Uttar Pradesh-Bihar
border, it is accessible by road from Varanasi and Mirzapur (100 km). The
nearest town is Robertsganj (3 km).
Vindhyachal, 80 km is
one of the shaktipeeths. Vindhyavasini Temple, Ashtabhuja and Kalikhoh are major
further information and reservation please contact