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INTRODUCTION

Varanasi is a city in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Situated on the banks of the River Ganga, it is a sacred city that sits at the centre of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain thought.

Varanasi is a place of learning, a centre for literature and the arts- it is believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Right through its existence, Varanasi has flourished, all whilst retaining its unique identity.

HISTORY

Varanasi is often described as one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It’s unique geographical location has ensured that it is a thriving centre for both trade and learning. Rulers have come and gone, while Varanasi has endured through the ravages of time.

Click below to read more on the long history of this city.

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CITY TALES

Varanasi is the city of Lord Shiva, and the place where He and the Goddess Parvati founded the universe. It is believed to be the site where Lord Rama did penance, after his victory over the demon-king Ravana, and may also have been a battlefield in the Mahabharata, where the God Krishna set fire to an imposter Krishna.

Take a closer look at the map- you will see that Varanasi is shaped like a crescent moon. This is a tribute to her Creator, Lord Shiva, and the crescent moon that adorns His hair.

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KEY

Click on the pins to navigate through the city

Built Heritage

Streets and Bazaars

Living Traditions

Natural Heritage

People/Personalities/Institutions

 

×Panchkoshi Road

Varanasi has attracted pilgrims - both Hindu and Buddhist - for centuries.

 

×Sarnath

Just outside of Varanasi is a place that gave us both a new religious philosophy, and a symbol that now defines the Republic of India.

 

×Kabir Chaura

This unassuming chauraha- a junction where four roads meet is known as the Kabir Chaura.

 

×Banaras Gharana of Music

This neighbourhood in Varanasi has nurtured a musical tradition that is unique to Varanasi.

 

×Kathak - Banaras Gharana

Alongside Jaipur and Lucknow, Varanasi has its own distinctive school of Kathak.

 

×Ganga at Varanasi

The city of Varanasi owes its cultural identity, its centuries of prosperity, and even the fertility of its soil to a single river that even today continues to attract millions of visitors to it.

 

×Banarasi Silk

Varanasi is home to a centuries-old textile tradition.

A symbol of this cosmopolitan city, this industry creates a quintessentially Indian item of clothing, incorporated with Persian motifs that have travelled here via the Mughal Court, and intricate brocade, added by the families of weavers who migrated from Gujarat to establish this craft practice.

 

×Ustad Bismillah Khan

The neighbourhood of Beniya Bagh was home to an Indian musical maestro. Among other things, this person played the shehnai at India’s first ever Independence Day in 1947.

 

×Brass Work

The Gangetic plain upon which Varanasi is settled is rich in copper. This has given rise to a specialised metalwork industry in the area.

 

×Thatteri Bazaar

While the name of this market might contain a Hindi word that alludes to metalwork, the people of Varanasi visit it for an entirely different reason.

 

×The Doms of Varanasi

The ghats of Varanasi are supervised by a community of people who trace their origin to a legend involving Shiva and Parvati.

 

×Alamgir Masjid

Varanasi has always attracted visitors. Some of them have left their mark on the city. The Great Mosque is among those marks, left here by a medieval ruler.

 

×Kashi Vishwanath Temple

This eighteenth-century temple is dedicated to Vishwanath- the principal deity of the city of Varanasi.

 

×Ratneswar Mahadev Temple

This peculiar temple is unlike any other in Varanasi.

 

×Ganga Aarti at Varanasi

The Dashashwamedha Ghat is one of the most famous, and certainly the most vibrant, ghats in Varanasi. Said to be named after an event from the Ramayana, this ghat has also been an important stop for trade and export.

 

×Man Mandir Palace

Varanasi’s reputation, and its location by the holiest of rivers, led many royal families to build palaces and residences here.

 

×Durga Temple

The Varanasi skyline is dotted with the spires, or shikharas of its many temples.

 

×Tulsidas

The last four chapters of an epic poem were completed in Varanasi by this sixteenth-century poet-saint.

 

×Assi Ghat

This is the southernmost ghat of Varanasi.

 

×Nepalese Temple

Scriptures proclaim that Kashi - otherwise known as Varanasi - is a representation of the entire universe. This universal city has a ‘twin’, a city that lies on the banks of the river Bhagirathi, one that is represented in Varanasi by an unusual structure.

 

×Banaras Hindu University

Varanasi is home to the world-renowned Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

But unlike other universities, the BHU campus has an unusual facility.

 

×Ramnagar Fort

On the opposite bank of the river Ganga, is a mighty fort.

 

×Ramnavami Festival

Varanasi celebrates the festival of Ram Navami with much fervour and joy.

 

×Manikarnika Ghat

Glimpses of Varanasi