For a considerable length of time, Varanasi has been home to Indian reasoning, magic and mysticism, Varanasi, subsequently, has various Muths and Ashrams. At Varanasi distinctive religious outfits have their own particular Muths and Ashrams. A large number of these Muths and Ashrams have made due for quite a long time and focuses in mysticism and religious exercises. Sadhus and Aghori are the main residents of these Ashrams and Muths in Varanasi. There has been a long association of these Sadhus and Aghori with these Ashrams.
To understand it more about it we first to understand what are the differences between Aghori & Sadhus and between Ashrams & Muths.
Ashram: This is a word derived from a Sankrit word ‘Srama’ which means physical exercise. In ancient Hindu world people used to go into these Ashrams for meditation and learning different kind of Yogas. These Ashrams used to be located far from human habitation such as in forests or in mountains. The basic reason for this far location was for maintain peace and calmness. The persons used to live in these Ashrams used to perform daily physical and spiritual exercises.
The main purpose for the visitors of these Ashrams where to know the reason for living beings, knowing about life purpose, discover the truth of being on earth and many philosophical facts relating to all human beings.
In recent days the purpose of the stayers in these Ashrams has changed and so it has made its many versions. For example, there is a widow Ashram in Varanasi where all of its residents are widows. In rigid world of Hindu world specially in far located rural areas still there are group of peoples who thinks and believe that after a woman husband dies that woman becomes widow and cant remarriage and therefore these ladies loose their main support for survival in this modern world.
Another is Yoga and Meditation Ashrams. These are the places where Yoga and mediation are practiced. This has become the profession in Varanasi and a lot of people are involved in this profession directly and indirectly in Varanasi.
There are more forms of Ashrams and same can be found in different part of the world.
Muths : These are also a form of Ashrams. A little difference between these is that these are used to stay and are very similar to inns. These are very cheap and used by monks for stay purpose mainly.
These muths are now used also to preserve a particular religion alive. Like in Varanasi, Kabir Muth is the main center of the followers of Kabir. Some people has termed Kabir as Lord.
There are Muths in Varanasi which has been named after a particular state or city and gives its services on priority to the residents of that particular state and city.
Sadhus : In Hindu World, Sadhus are those persons who has sacrificed this physical world, his family, relatives, his worldly desires and are on way to liberation also called Moksha in Hindi. In other words these are also called Sanyasi.
The history of Sadhus and Sanyasis dates back to the beginning of Hinduism religion. When after completion of three stages (Brahmacharya, Grihastha and Vanapratha) of life they used to sacrifise their home, family and all world desires became Sanyasi or Sadhus. Thier single aim of life was to be free from this cycle of birth and rebirth.
Aghori : These are also a type of Sadhus. The main difference is that these are Shaiva Sadhus and ascetic. They mainly perform post-modern rituals. They are mainly found near cremation grounds and smear cremation ashes on their bodies. They collect bones of dead humans and wear it as jewelry. They use human skulls to drink water etc and smoke ganjas. Since their practices are very contradictory to orthodox Hindu rituals, they are eventually opposed my other Hindu followers. What is unusual to see here is seeing Aghori meditation.
The main pilgrimage of Aghories is in Varanasi’s Baba Kinaram’s hermitage in Ravindrapuri.
Make sure you don’t go alone to meet or photograph Aghories. They could be offensive.
At Varanasi you may see a numbers of Muths and Ashrams attributable to non-secular individuals, variety of individuals of various faith came to Varanasi and settle here in Muths and Ashrams. Several of those Muths and Ashrams have survived for hundreds of years and are centers of spiritualism and non-secular activities. Muths provide a window to explore this Varanasi holy city of moksha through many spiritual and intellectual personalities.
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Varanasi is an enchanted and mystic abode of the dead and the living that perfectly helps you get a quick getaway from your mundane lives. It encapsulates the spiritual essence of Indian Dharma reminding us the sojourn of life is in the way of living. It is indeed an exotic place filled with enchanting sounds of evening Aarthis, netherworld of the dead, exquisite Banarasi silks and mesmerizing gallies.
These are the things that you just cannot afford to miss out in Varanasi
This is a marvelous sight that is a mélange of mystical aura of lights, magical waters entwined in myriad fragrances of agarbhathis and floating diyas. It’s a sight that encapsulates the essence and divinity of Varanasi in its truest sense. The ceremony of primordial legacy is at Dasashwamedh Ghats one among the numerous 87 Ghats of Varanasi. It’s a ceremony of elaborate rituals. The aarti takes place on small wooden steps at the edge of the ghat. Pooja items from conches to bells, brass lamps, incense sticks and other sacred items are placed on these steps. There are rows of young priests (Pandas) in vermillion sarong to perform a synchronized aarti. The ceremony starts when these Pandas clap to rhythm of divine hymns. It starts with Vedic hymns and as the holy chants reverberate in the air they blow a corn shell invoking goddess Ganga. Next is burning of incense sticks while simultaneously ringing prayer bells. This is followed by aarti with multi-tiered lamps and aarti with camphor. In the grand finale peacock and yak fan are also waved in a choreographed manner. As soon as the prayer comes to an end you are approached with the holy flame and plate full of flowers. The ceremony marks an end when priest pours water in the river and chant prayers. This is followed by people offering lamps and flower pots into the river. This orchestrated ritual invokes a spiritual saunter and leave the spectators in an ethereal trance.
The early sun rise boat ride from Dasashwamedh ghat to Manikarnika Ghat is an enigma in itself. It takes you to a journey that transients life, death and beyond. It’s the perfect netherworld of the living and the left ones. As the ochre hues of early morning sun glistens through the placid waters you are engulfed in a myriad of thoughts people culture and daily activities. On one side you can witness cremation rituals en route Manikarna Ghat and one the other side you can see a few of pilgrims who have come to take a holy dip in Ganges to absolve their sins. Floating markets are another important site to check out. You can also get down at Manikarnika Kund. The Bansphatak Flower market is also on the way. The numerous temples, houses and ashrams on the banks of these Ghats represent an enchanted land at dawn as light is yet to glisten fully. As the veil of dawn is lifted Dashashwamedh ghats became a site of hustling activities. Flock of pilgrims increases and there are huge rows of rowing salesman.
These Ghats are also testimonial to daily rituals of inhabitants and this indeed makes you realize why Varanasi is an ethereal existence encapsulating supernatural elements.
The most important Buddhist trails in India Sarnath is situated 8km from Varanasi. It is here where wheel of law or Dharma Chakra Pravartan turned with Buddha’s first sermon at Deer Park. Sarnath has religious, cultural and architectural significance. The place rose to its significance during reigns of Ashoka who erected numerous stupas here. Several other Buddhist structures were erected here in between Maurya and Gupta dynasties from 3rd century B.C to 11th century A.D. The important sites to visit in Sarnath are
Built in around 500 A.D. with a circumambulatory structure. Situated in Deer Park this stupa marks the site of Buddha’s First Sermon which set forth the wheel of motion.
Historically believed to be the place where Lord Buddha reunited with 5 disciples. It is a burial mound that serves as a shrine for the relic of Buddha. The stupa was built during Gupta period and later modified during Mughal Period.
This temple is believed to have original Buddhist relics. Built in Thai architectural style and houses the statue of Shakyamuni. Famous for thangka paintings and frescoes.
Assosciated with Thirtankar Shreyasnath this temple houses sculptures depicting Mahavira and Jain History
Situated around 8kms from Sarnath it has a fort and musuems that weave stories of emperors of Benaras. Picturesque pavilions, open courtyards, medieval costumes, palanquins, etc are its specialties.
The national emblem inspired from Ashoka pillar was built to mark the visit of Emperor Ashoka to Sarnath. The pillar also depicts a bull, a lion, an elephant and a horse which symbolize four different phases of the life of Gautama Buddha.
Varanasi also offers numerous renowned heritage sites . Prominent among them are
Located on pictorial banks of Ganges and formerly known as Beni Madhav Ka Darera, this mosque was originally built in the Vishnu architectural style but now displays Hindu and Mughal architectural influences.
A temple that worships India and captures the essence of unity in diversity, it was completed in 1936 and inaugurated by Gandhiji. It is dedicated to ‘Mother India’ and contains a relief of a map of India is that it is open to people of all creeds.
A site displays medieval India’s farsightedness and early advancements in the science of astrology. Constructed by the ruler of Jaisingh, the observatory is one of five that he built, with the others being found in Delhi, Mathura, Ujjain and Jaipur. The instruments at Jantar Mantar observatory can record the motion, speed and properties of various planets, stars and other cosmic objects with exactness, even today.
Streets of Varanasi are myriad sights in themselves. Away from the ghats, the streets are busy with people going about their day, and small shops display their wares piled all around their stores. The various segments that can make a part of Varanasi Walks are
Varanasi villages form an important part of India’s heartland by playing premier role in cultural, heritage, architectural and literary history of India. Some villages that make up Varanasi map are Sarnath, Lamhi, Chiraigaon, Sarai Mohana and Rameshwar. Sarnath is a part of Ministry Of culture’s Buddhist Circuit Track. It architectural heritage that spans major Indian Dynasties adds to its splendor. In sense of Literature Lamhi is famous for being the birthplace of renowned writer Munshi Premchand. Most of his works were inspired by the joy hopes aspirations and distress of peasantry .Rameshwar village is famous for Sanskrit schools and Ashrams that are centers of spiritualism and religious activities. SaraiMohana and Chirigoan are famous for silk weaving and finest benarasi sarees that has been carried over by selected households in these villages from centuries thus reflecting a history of excellence in their fine craftsmanship.
So what are you waiting for, pack your bags to Magical Varanasi where you can find answers to your existence in the divine ethereal and metaphysical coexistence & Tour with Tour Varanasi.2 Read More