Sunday May 20, 2018

Banaras: A land that has conserved the essence Hinduism for over 3000 years

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By Rituparna Chakrobarty

Varanasi has been a famous centre of Hindu religion for at least three thousand years. In the ancient Hindu literature also Varanasi has invariably been dealt with as the Dharma-Kshetra which means the religious area.

It is not for nothing that Varanasi has been called India in miniature. A bird’s-eye-view of Varanasi as a center of religion and monastic aspect reveals that practically all religious sects have their branches in this city. From Buddhism to Islam, all the religions have been able to exist here in harmony,

It may not be possible to describe in detail the various centers and monastical establishments connected to various communities and sects. But a general survey reveals that practically all ancient and modern persuasions have their representation in this holy city.

Why Varanasi has so much influence on people?

Most people from across the globe come to visit the Kashi Vishawnath temple. According to Hindu mythology out of 12 Shivlingam disseminated one of its linga is situated here in Vishawnath.

According to the Kashi khand- the so called directory of Kashi, there are 811 temples and 288 tirthas in Varanasi. Out of it 513 are Shiva lingas, 49 Vishnu temples, 75 temples of Devis and 71 idols of Lord Ganesha and rest consists of Surya, Bhairava, Yoginis and many others.

It is believed that the city was devotee of Lord Vishnu as it was ruled by the emperor Adi Keshav who belongs to Vaishnva sect and there was no existence of Lord Shiva. But with due change in time Shiva liked the place and he invited all the other Hindu gods-goddesses to have a stay at Kashi.

In puranas the four names used to  describe the religious state viz: Kashi, Varanasi, Avimukta and Antargriha.

Religious and monastic Institutions

Sarnath

Beyond Hinduism it adds more religious fervour to followers of Buddhism and Jainism.

Buddha had met the five Brahmans whom he preached his sermon known in Buddhist phraseology as Dharama-chakara-Pravartana, after attaining Nirvana here in Sarnath.  Ashoka later built a Stupa at this place which is known as Chaukhandi Stupa.

The countries like Tibet, Myanmmar, Sri lanka, Thailand and Japan have built their own monasteries in the place.

People from various countries come to visit the city  to rejuvenate their lives as they gain mental peace and sanity from visiting this religious place. Also they found themselves closer to the god as it is believed that this land is pathway to the heaven.

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  • A really good article comprising with important information helps to know the history of Varanasi. Thanks to author Rituparna Chakraborty

  • Good one but it could have been in more words. Banaras simply deserves an elaborate story.

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Banaras: The Ancient City With A Twist

A sense of historic relevance floats around Banaras and you will found it everywhere you go

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Banaras has a heritage which is more than 3000 years old. Wikimedia Commons
Banaras has a heritage which is more than 3000 years old. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma 

  • Banaras is one of the oldest cities in the world
  • It is a historic, cultural and religious hub
  • The ancient city is full of fascinating places and stories

Banaras or Varanasi is considered one of the oldest cities in the world. It is situated in Uttar Pradesh, India. It is a city on the banks of the river Ganga and is one of the seven sacred cities of India.

Banaras is undoubtedly one of the most interesting cities in India. It is a historical, religious and political hub. The city combines all the major aspects of India beautifully in one place. One side, where there are religious ghats, on the other, there are streets full of political discussions. It is one colourful city, in all aspects possible.

Banaras – A city with a rich culture and history 

In Banaras, there are stories everywhere you look. Stories and myths about gods, royalties, politicians, there is nothing which you won’t hear here.

There is also a story behind the city’s famous other name, Varanasi. It starts with the two rivers, Varuna and Assi, which meet in this city, hence the name, ‘Varanasi’. During the Mughal rule, they changed the name to ‘Banaras’.

Banaras has a rich historic and religious heritage. Wikimedia Commons
Banaras has a rich historic and religious heritage. Wikimedia Commons

A sense of historic relevance floats around the city and you will found it everywhere you go. Whether it is, you’ll find traces of history and culture in every nook of Banaras.

 Famous Places in Banaras 

Banaras is full of places which will interest not only a travel enthusiast but also, any normal person. Whereas, Sarnath will acquaint you with the birthplace of Buddha. Ramnagar Fort will acquaint yo with a impressive vintage cars, clocks, and pictures. And who can miss the famous ‘Aarti’ on the banks of river Ganga, it is one of the most enchanting experiences one could have.

Also Read: The land that has conserved the essence Hinduism for over 3000 years 

And also, the famous hindu temple, Kashi Vishwanath. It is one of the greatest Hindu temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. Also, the Banaras Hindu University or BHU, which is a dream college for many and the political hub for its students. The markets are also very colourful and full of great deals.

the famous Banaras Hindu University is one of the most premium institutes in India, Wikimedia Commons
the famous Banaras Hindu University is one of the most premium institutes in India, Wikimedia Commons

The city of Varanasi has you covered for food too. The ‘Chaats’ are a must try. And the ‘Kulhaad Chai’ is another quintessential  delicacy you can find in the ancient city.

Banaras is undoubtedly is a small but a great city which is ancient, but with a twist of modernity.