Popularly known as the religious capital of India, Varanasi or Banaras, is situated in Uttar Pradesh, and is the location of the holy river Ganges. Varanasi holds the same importance to Hindus as Jerusalem is to Christians.
The Hindu faith has entitled seven cities as the holiest, also known as Sapta Puri. Varanasi is one of the seven cities including Haridwar, Mathura, Ujjain, Ayodhya, Kanchipuram and Dwarka.
Varanasi is considered pious for its ghats, music and the pure air of nirvana. The air of this city has mystifying fragrances of incense, evening aartis and hymns by the ghats, and has a rich heritage of learning, music and culture that make Varanasi the religious city of India. People often wish to proceed to heavens in their old age through the way of Varanasi.
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Banaras or Varanasi is considered holy by Hindus and Non-Hindus across the world, also because this city is popularly known as the city of Ganga and Shiva.
- It is believed that when time began to tick for the first time, Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were present in this city, formerly called Kashi.
- Kashi has links with mythical beings and is the home to many legends. Buddhist and Mahabharata scriptures are found in Varanasi. ‘Sri Ramcharitmanas’ the holy Hindu epic by Tulsidas was composed here.
- The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and has an idol of his ‘lingam’. Temples of Varanasi are considered Shiva’s abode in ‘Skanda Purana.’ It is also an important city of Nepalese for it also has the Kaal Bhairav temple built by the King of Nepal at the Lalita Ghat.
Innumerable ancient temples make it one of the oldest cities too. The Durga temple built in the 8th century has innumerable monkeys residing there. Built in 1964 as a dedication of Lord Rama, the Tulsi Manas temple was built where Tulsidas wrote Ramcharitmanas.
– by Chetna Karnani, at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna