Varanasi is the oldest living city in the world. This article takes you through the antiquity of this wonderful city. Rekindle your romance with the ancient India.
- Are there not many holy places on this earth?
- Yet which of them would equal in the balance one speck of Kashi’s dust?
- Are there not many rivers running to the sea?
- Yet which of them is like the River of Heaven in Kashi?
- Are there not many fields of liberation on earth?
- Yet not one equals the smallest part of the city never forsaken by Shiva.
- The Ganges, Shiva, and Kashi: Where this Trinity is watchful, no wonder here is found the grace that leads one on to perfect bliss.
(Kashi Khand 35: 7 – 10)
Varanasi or Kashi or Banaras, by whatever name one calls it, the city is one of the few destinations, where Hindus attain peace of mind and spiritual bliss. One of the oldest living cities in the world, Varanasi finds its mention in ancient scriptures like Rigved and Jataka tales. This considerable antiquity and mythologies attached to this city make it more beguiling for tourists across the world. But, apart from its spiritual significance and ancient culture, Varanasi boasts myriad other things which people like to see upon visiting this blessed city.
The city is known worldwide for its 88 ghats; these ghats are famous for holy bathing and puja ceremonies. Manikarnika and Harishchandra ghats are used as cremation sites. Among other famous ghats are: Assi Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat, Raj Ghat, Scindia Ghat, Tulsi Ghat, and Munshi Ghat.
Pilgrims visiting Varanasi enjoy the breathtaking view of Ganga Aarti, which is performed at Dashashwamedh Ghat in the evening.
Almost all ghats are associated with some stories of yore. Sitting on one, you can travel back to the ancient era. Some of the ghats were rebuilt under the patronage of Marathas, Holkars, Scindias, Bhonsles, and Peshwas during and after 18 th century.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Kashi Vishwanath is one of the twelve Jyotirlings in India. The jyotirling (Ling of Light) is a symbol of the supreme formless (nirgun), which is reality at the core of creation. Shiv is the form (sagun) appeared from the formless.
The temple was known as Adi Vishveshwara Temple, which was destroyed by the Ghurids in 1194. In 1230, it was rebuilt near the Avimukteshwara Temple by a Gujarati merchant during the rule of Sultan Iltutmish. It was demolished again during the rule of either Hussain Shah Sharqi (1447–1458) or Sikandar Lodi (1489–1517). Raja Man Singh built the temple during Akbar's rule.
Raja Todar Mal further re-built the temple in 1585. In 1669, Mughal emperor Aurangzeb destroyed it and built the Gyanvapi Mosque in its place. In 1780, the Maratha ruler Malhar Rao Holkar's daughter-in-law Ahilyabai Holkar rebuilt the temple.
In 2019, the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor Project was launched by Hon'Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On 13 December 2021, Shri Modi inaugurated the corridor with a religious ceremony.
Indians attach motherly instinct to all the rivers. But Ganga, apart from being a mother, enjoys the status of a goddess, who descended from heaven at the behest of king Bhagirath. This holy river is considered a heavenly body that flows by the city with a purpose. And the purpose is to liberate sinners (human beings) from the cycle of birth and rebirth. Since Varanasi is the holiest place in the country, the city bestows its sacredness upon Ganga, which is reckoned holier than other water bodies in India.
Dhamek Stup, Sarnath
Dhamek Stup was built in fifth century AD; the mound replaced the earlier structure commissioned by Mauryan emperor Ashok in 249 BC. The stup bears exquisite carvings of Gupt dynasty and provides the finest example of intaglio. Built of bricks and stones, the stup is located at Sarnath, 13 kilometers away from Varanasi. The inscriptions on the stup are in Brahmi script, which was popular during the heydays of Sarnath, one of the great centers of Buddhist art, producing beautiful sandstone images of the Buddha. Apart from its antiquity, Dhamek stup is known for its connection with Gautam Buddha, who delivered his first sermon here.
Streets of Varanasi
According to Lewis Mumford, Varanasi is "energy converted into culture". Walking through narrow lanes of Varanasi, tourists realize that the city has converted the energy of an entire civilization into culture. City’s present life reaches back to the sixth century B.C. in a continuous tradition. Varanasi still retains that vibrancy and dynamism of ancient India, while its other contemporaries (Beijing, Athens, and Jerusalem) have adapted themselves to the changing dynamics of civilization. Varanasi has never abandoned its spiritual zest from its geography, history, or living culture.
To experience Varanasi, tourists can take a stroll down the streets, where centuries are pulsating with life.
Kachauri gully serves tasteful delights of Varanasi; this street is famous for spicy and succulent food, a go-to place for gourmands.
Nai Sadak offers a captivating collage of temples, festivals, food & shopping.
Vishwanath gully leads you to Kashi Vishwanath Temple; it is known for its ancient architecture and local delicacies.
Chowk Bazaar is one of the oldest bazaars of Varanasi; world famous for Banarasi saree, clothes and toy shops.
Lanka-BHU Road showcases modern Varanasi. This road takes you to Banaras Hindu Vishwa Vidyalay. You would like satiate your tongue with lip smacking food served at urbane cafe, restaurants, and stores.
About Tent City Varanasi
Tent City Varanasi is your slice of heaven in the lap of River Ganga. This resort is your ticket to stay close to the divinity while experiencing spiritual bliss. The only tented resort in India invites you to revel in top-notch hospitality in well-appointed tents boasting picturesque views, state-of-the-art amenities and a perfect blend of aesthetics and comfort.
Enveloped in the Varanasi's distinguished aura of culture, philosophy, spiritualism, mysticism, and tradition, Tent City Varanasi is beautifully located alongside the holy bank of River Ganga offering scenic skyline of temples, historic palaces with steps and riverfront (ghat). The resort by the river offers a heavenly abode on the serene shores to savour a life adjacent to the stream.
From magnificent river-facing villas with a plunge pool and a private beach to spacious and luxurious tents with picturesque views, modern amenities and generous hospitality, Tent City Varanasi offers the best integration of aesthetics and comfort.