|Location:||Jammu and Kashmir, India|
|Religion:||Hinduism 84.27 % | Islam 7.03 % | Christianity 0.79 % | Sikhism 7.47 % | Jainism 0.13 % | Buddhism 0.03 %|
|Language:||Urdu, Dogri, Punjabi and Hindi|
Weather: 33° C - 0° C
Ideal Duration: 2-3 Days
Best Time: Sep-Mar
Nearest Airport: Satwari
A city as old as time itself. A city that has stayed in place and watched as the world has turned and the tides have changed. A city that has stood the test of time for thousands of years. In the words of Mark Twain, “Older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, And looks twice as old as all of them put together.” Varanasi, the city that is more than just the spiritual capital of India. The city which can be aptly described as a melting pot where both life and death come together. The city that you only need to visit once for it to stay with you forever.
Varanasi is a very popular pilgrimage point for Hindus, and the older part of Varanasi, which has thrived on the banks of the river Ganga, is an integral part of the very infrastructure of the city, with thousands of people flocking there for salvation and purification. All chaos and noise on the ghats of Varanasi take a pause when the Ganga Aarti takes place in the evening, a ceremony of immense grandeur and opulence, with pandits lining up to perform rituals that are no less than a performance for the senses.
The city in and around the ghats has a certain rhythm to it. Narrow maze-like lanes and by-lanes arouse instant intrigue and fascination, while the street art dotting the stretch alongside the ghats makes for a great outpouring of artistic expression. Varanasi also boasts of a marvelous architectural heritage, as can be seen in the scores of temples dotting the city.
Varanasi has something to offer to everyone who visits the city – be it the clamor of the station, to navigating the mysterious alleyways, to finding serenity on the banks of the Ganges. Varanasi is India in all her glory, as it has been for thousands of years, and as it will be for a thousand more.
Varanasi or Banaras, mentioned in the scriptures as Kashi, is less of a city and more of a dreamy experience. It is a paragon of Indian culture, philosophy, traditions and spiritual ethos since times immemorial. It is among the Sapta Puries, meaning seven sacred cities of Ancient India. The city is located on the bank of River Ganga which has two tributaries in the city: Varuna and Assi; hence the name Varanasi. The combination of Kashi – the holy city, Ganga- the sacred river and Shiva- the supreme God, makes Varanasi an immortal destination. Today, Varanasi remains the hub of cultural and holy activities. In the field of learning, especially of Religion, Philosophy, Yoga, Ayurveda, Astrology, Dance and Music, the city is certainly unparalleled. The Banarasi Silk Sarees and Brocades are known worldwide for its elegance. Varanasi is full of surprises abounding every corner; the more one explores it, the more one falls in love with it!
Varanasi is one of those places where people come to take their last breath, calling for Yamraj to take them to heaven! It’s one of the places which is not only close to thousands of people who visit this place but also who seek Heaven in the last days of their life! This astonishingly deeply revered city is the actually the Royal residence of Hindu Go Lord Shiva! It is the place where people firmly believe that Lord Shiva himself lifts their pyre and shows them the path of “amaratva” or a life which will see no further birth and death. Welcome yourself to the gates of heaven when you are here!
It’s a common sight here to see people taking dip in the somewhat un-clean water of Ganges early in the morning (as early as 3:00 a.m.) seeking the blessings of Lord Sun, chanting shlokas (religious hymns) in slow murmuring voice. It’s a common sight to see people walk barefoot towards the ghats, kids half naked taking dip in the holy water and vendors selling food on the both sides of path selling food leading towards the ghats! Be prepared to a journey of lifetime where State Bank of India (the largest nationalized bank of India) advertizes on boat and 5 year old Lord Shiva runs past by! Land on this colorfully bright, culturally rich place with a direct flight from New Delhi which takes just 1 and ½ to reach.
Things to Do
Things to do in Varanasi is not as numerous as to do lists in other cities, yet a few of them get overlooked by those planning a trip to this town. Varanasi is as old as human civilization is. The ancient city nestled at the banks of River Ganges is located in Uttar Pradesh. One of the seven holy cities in India, Varanasi also has the names of Benares and Kashi. From birth to death, every aspect of earthy existence and some say even salvation is achieved only in the 5000 year old city. The experience of the city is beyond words.
Two worlds come together in Varanasi and each one spectacular in their own way. The beating heart of Hindu culture, pilgrims believe that the city offers moksha (liberation from the cycle of birth and death). And then there are overtures of modernity in activities such as the evening Aarti which is a spectacle on grand scale.
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Varanasi City Transport Service Ltd. is a city based service under JnNURM scheme of Government of India which operates primarily in Varanasi city. It covers the entire city and is used by daily commuters. Varansi City Transport Service Ltd. has A/c, Non A/c low Floor Marcoplo Buses, Tata Buses and Mazda. These are environment friendly, easy, comfortable & provide safe transportation facility to daily commuters like office goers, students, senior citizen and ladies.
For the public services, JNNURM Company was entrusted to UPSRTC, Varanasi in November 2009 and the company was registered on 15 June, 2010 under Companies Act 1956(1956 -1) whose corporate identity number is U60231UP2010SGO41121