Varanasi, also popularly known as Benares and Kashi, is one of the world’s oldest living cities situated on the banks of the holy River Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Steeped in tradition and mythological legacy, this City of Lord Shiva is one of the most important pilgrimage destinations for not only Hindus, but Buddhists and Jains as well.
Believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, who stood upon this land at the beginning of time, Varanasi is “older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend” as Mark Twain had rightly put it. Since time immemorial, Varanasi has attracted hordes of pilgrims and devotees from all corners of the world, who come here to explore the religious places and other tourist attractions in Varanasi. To be in Varanasi is an experience of a lifetime, a self–discovery of its own kind, whereby you’ll experience an eternal oneness of the body and soul.
Mythology reins in Varanasi, and the city offers a breathtaking experience to every visitor. The early morning sun rays shimmering across the holy Ganges, the temples and shrines adorning the high banks drenched in a golden hue, the air filled with chants of soul-stirring hymns and mantras along with the fragrance of incense, and a refreshing dip in the holy waters – the multifarious sights and sounds of Varanasi will mesmerize you.
Besides having remained a major cultural and religious centre in northern India for ages, Varanasi is also famous for the Benares Gharana (school) of Indian classical music developed here. Varanasi is also home to the distinguished Banaras Hindu University. Numerous eminent Indian philosophers, poets, writers, and musicians resided in Varanasi at some point of time or other. The local people of Benares are known to be connoisseurs of literature, music, Vedic philosophy, arts, crafts and architecture.
Varanasi can be easily accessed by the major modes of transport, that is, air, rail and road. Several domestic flights ply daily to Varanasi from various cities in India. Being located in the heartland of the North Indian plains, Varanasi is also decently connected by rail to major Indian cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and others. An excellent network of roadways facilitates road transportation from Varanasi to all the major towns of Uttar Pradesh and surrounding areas.