Varanasi (also known as Benares or Kashi) is one of the most sacred cities to Hindus and also one of the oldest living cities in the world. The visit to the old city is a fascinating insight into the rituals of Hinduism, and it can be a little overwhelming at times.
The city of Varanasi is situated on the bank of the Ganges River, holiest of all India rivers. The life and activities in the city focus around the Ganges river, which is the essence of the city. The pilgrims, yogis flock to the ghats (steps) which lie along the banks of the Ganges, to worship at sunrise set against the back drop of the centuries old temples reveals the spiritual heart of India. An important centre of Hindu pilgrimage, it is believed that those who die in Varanasi will be released from the cycle of re-birth. Pious Hindus still come to Varanasi to spend their last days, living in Spartan communes run by a multitude of religious trusts. The focus of interest of a visitor is the sacred River Ganges. At the series of steps leading down to it, people come to wash away their sins by bathing in the river, the dead are cremated and holy men meditate. .
Along the banks of the Ganges, there are the burning ghats. The most sacred one is Manikarnika, associated with Goddess Parvati (Lord Shiva's wife). There are thousands of temples at Varanasi dedicated to different gods and goddesses, the major shrine is the Vishwanath Temple the abode of Lord Shiva.
Pilgrims have their own way of offering to the scared Ganges - some bathe or dip themselves entirely into the water for any number of times; some make water offerings to the Sun God; other drink the holy water; while others fill their pots with holy water to take back to perform rituals at their homes. Pilgrims offer flowers, fruits and earthen lighted lamps to the holy River with their respectful prayers.
The city is also renowned for its silk weavers, who prepare the finest types of woven silk fabrics.
DESTINATIONS: Delhi → Varanasi → Khajuraho → Agra → Jaipur
TRIP OVERVIEW: Experience the busy life of the capital city of Delhi and explore its wide range of attractions and monuments. Don’t miss the eye-inspiring sights of the Lotus Temple and the Red Fort. You may also like a cycle rickshaw ride in the areas of Old Delhi. Heading to Varanasi, you will warmly be greeted by the bazaars, river ghats and a different atmosphere, unlikely the metropolitan cities. You can shed away your sins by taking a ... read more
DESTINATIONS: Delhi → Varanasi → Khajuraho → Agra → Jaipur → Jodhpur → Udaipur
TRIP OVERVIEW: Apart from visiting India’s finest UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this North India tour will give you a chance to attend a holy aarti ceremony on the sacred River Ganges. Don’t miss a boat cruise in the early morning to watch the lovely sunrise. Worship at the ghats for a unique experience. The erotic temples of Khajuraho are indeed one of the finest attractions of the north India trip. When in... read more
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