When you think about “cities in India”, you think about Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Jaipur, etc. But do you also think of the cities like Varanasi, Bikaner and Madurai? Have you ever wondered about going beyond the well-known metropolitan cities? If you haven’t given such hidden-gem cities, like Varanasi, even a digital visit, this blog on the Indian City Varanasi: The Ancient Gold would certainly add this to your travel list.
The Indian City Varanasi is quite literally an Ancient Gold because of its rich and varied cultural history. So, why not start this blog Indian City Varanasi: The Ancient Gold with the history of this amazing city?
History of the Indian city Varanasi
Varanasi is the oldest city in India, established almost 5,000 years ago. It is that city, which has lasted so long and still hasn’t gotten enough attention.
“Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, older than legend”. – Mark Twain
Varanasi is also called Benares. It is located in Uttar Pradesh, on the banks of the river Ganges.
It used to be the capital of Kashi where Buddha gave his first sermon in Sarnath.
Varanasi has been a centre of religious, educational, and artistic attraction since the time Xuan Zang – a Buddhist pilgrim from China – visited Varanasi and spoke about it. The rich Indian city of Varanasi slowly declined, during the Mughal reign, which began in 1194. The destruction of the temples made the well-known scholars in Varanasi, run away.
However, Akbar, the Mughal Emperor brought Varanasi back on track, under his rule. The traditional religious activities began once again. The city had to face another setback, during Aurangzeb’s reign, but the Marathas later revived Varanasi from the setback.
Varanasi became independent in the 18th century. During British rule, it got its prominence back in trade and religious practices.
The Present Day Varanasi
Varanasi today, has many holy rivers flowing through and around it. There are a lot of steps that lead you into the river. People religiously dip themselves in these rivers, to wash off their sins.
The roads of Varanasi are quite narrow and considered somewhat impassable for motor traffic.
This religious city has a road called Panchakosi, that borders the city. A lot of Hindu devotees have expressed their desire to walk on this road while visiting this city once in their life and die over there when they grow old. Varanasi attracts almost more than a million pilgrims every year, including foreigners, that contribute to the economy of the city.
The city is especially known for its temples, dedicated to Goddess Durga and Lord Shiva. Varanasi is also known for its spiritual and religious significance.
One of the most important festivals celebrated here is Mahashivratri. The night of Mahashivratri is of great importance to the devotees of Lord Shiva. A procession takes place from the Mahamrityunjaya Temple to the temple of Kashi Vishwanath.
A five-day festival of Dhrupad also attracts tourists in March which is celebrated on the Tulsi ghat along the river Ganges.
Interesting Facts About The Indian City Varanasi
- World-renowned artists like Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Bismillah Khan were born in Varanasi.
- A Hindu priest organises the ‘frog marriage” at the Ashwamedha Ghat. It is spectacular to watch a lot of people come, to witness the frog marriage.
- Varanasi sells a large quantity of silk. It takes 6 months to produce a silk saree from it. Georgette, Organza, Shattir, and Ketan are the best ones.
- Tulsidas composed the sacred Hanuman Chalisa in Kashi.
- The four Jain Tirthankara: Suparshvanath, Chandraprabhu, Shreyansnath, and Parshvanath were born here. This gave much prominence to this city.
- The aartis that take place on the ghats near the river in the evening is a visual treat, you must not miss.
The wonderful Indian City Varanasi cannot ever be described in words or pictures. However, through this blog Indian City Varanasi: The Ancient Gold, I hope that you gained an insight into the importance of Varanasi city.
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