Varanisi has also been known as the Kashi & Banaras, but its present name meaning the city between the two rivers - the Varauana & Asi For the pious Hindu the city has always had a special place. Besides being a pilgrimage centre, it is considered an auspicious place to die, ensuring an instant route to heaven. The popularity of Varanasi can be counted for many other reasons, for it is the oldest living city of the world. For some it can be a source of purification, for many others it is dirtiest urban mess they have ever seen. For some its festivities inspire celebration of life yet for some others its celebrated funeral ceremonies invite perplexed reactions. The strange rituals may seem fascinating to many, the same practices seem orthodox or sometimes inhuman to others. For many its spiritually charged atmosphere is enlightening, yet at the same time its dirt is disgusting. Love it or hate it, Varanasi is one city that fails to leave any visitor unaffected by its overwhelming identity.
Ghats : Varanasi&39s principal attraction is the long strings of bathing ghats which lines the west bank of Ganges. Ghats are the steps which lead down to the river, & where, at the two &39burning ghats&39, bodies are cremated. The best time to visit the ghats is at dawn when pilgrims take their early morning dip the city is coming alive, the light is magical & Varanasi is an exotic place.
Great Mosque of Aurangzeb : Constructed using columns from the biseswar Temple razed by Aurangzeb, this great mosque has minarets towering 71 meters above the Ganges. Armed guards protect the mosque as the Indian government wants to ensure there are problems between Hindus & Muslims.
Durga Temple : Durga Temple is commonly known as the monkey temple due to the many monkeys that have made it their home. It was built in the 18th century by the Bengali maharani & is stained red with ochre. The small temple is built in north Indian Nagara style with muiltitiered sikhara.
Tulsi Manas Temple : Next to the Durga temple this modern marble sikhara- style temple. Built in 1964, wall the of temple are engraved with verses & scenes from the Ram Charit Manas, the Hindi version of the Ramayana. On the second floor you can watch the production of moving & performing statues & scenes from the Hindu mythology.
New Vishwanath Temple : The new Vishwanath temple which was planned by Pandit Malaviya & built by the wealthy Birla family of industrialists. The interior has a Siva lingam & verses from Hindu scriptures inscribed on the walls. The temple is supposed to be the replica of the original Vishwanath Temple, destroyed by Aurangzeb. RAM NAGAR FORT & MUSEUM- On the other side of the river, this 17th century fort is the home of the Maharaja of Benaras. There are tours to the fort or you can catch a ferry across the river to get to it. The interesting museum contains old silver & brocades, a replica of the royal bed & an armory of swords & old guns.
Airport : Varanasi has it own major airport of the region with connection even to Nepal & most of the important cities.
Railways : The railway station is well served. Mughalsarai station nearby is the busiest railway junction in India.
Roadways : India&39s oldest working highway Grand Trunk Road passes through Varanasi. And it is also having its connection with the nearest points like Kushinagar, Patna, Kathmandu and Khajuraho.
Important information- There may be sadhus who may try to take advantage of your unawareness about the place. Take care of your belongings and never fall in the trap of forced religious donations. Don&39t take pictures of Sadhus without their permission. Take care of the religious sensitiveness of the place.
Climate : In the summer season Varanasi is hot & in the winter season it is much cooler & temperature decreases around 25&39C to 30&39C.