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 India Private Tours 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
- Dhamek Stupa
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.
- Chaukhandi Stupa
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.
- Digambar Jain Temple
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.
- Ashoka Pillar
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
- Alamgir Mosque
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.
- Bharat Mata Temple
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.
- Jantar Mantar
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
- Walking through temples and sacred ponds near Assi Ghat. This walk also helps you take a historical walk down the Bhakti movement of Medieval India as you walk down in the footsteps of Tulsidas.
- Getting lost in the mesmerizing serpentine alleys by Riverside helps you discover old world charm of Varanasi. This walk also helps you comprehend daily routine of this pilgrim haven. From ochre dressed sadhus to the smell of vibhutis to tea shops serving hot kachoris along with mutki tea, the city life is a mélange of quirky activities
- Hidden alleys leading to bazaar and weaving lanes of Symbolic Banaras Silks the intricate finely woven silks with mostly Mughal inspired Jari and motifs.
- Varanasi is also melting pot for street food and Pans. From Bhaang Lassi to chaat gali to or getting scarlet tongued with exquisite paan that come in flavours like chocolate, coconut, gulkhand etc.
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. Sarai Mohana 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