Bodh Gaya - The Seat of Supreme Enlightenment

Seat of Enlightenment: The Diamond Throne, Vajrasana.
"Bodh Gaya is the place where Gautama Buddha attained unsurpassed, supreme Enlightenment. It is a place which should be visited or seen by a person of devotion and which would cause awareness and apprehension of the nature of impermanence".
Bodh Gaya
Location : Bihar
Attractions : Bodhi Tree, Bodhi Sarovar.
Famous As : The Land Of Enlightenment Of Buddha.
Best Season : BetweBolden February And April.

Bodh Gaya - The Land of Enlightenment

Holding extreme religious importance to the Buddhists, Bodhgaya lies13 km south of Gaya, beside the river Phalgu. It was here, that the Lord Buddha sat under the Banyan tree and attained enlightenment, and a descendant of that original tree still flourishes there today.
Bodhgaya is small and quiet town, which is the most important of all the Buddhist sites in the world.The Maha Bodhi temple of Bodh Gaya is one of the important places of worship for the Buddhists. Apart from being a vital Buddhist centre, it is also a significant archaeological site. Devout Buddhists and tourists from all over the world visit Bodhgaya, to study Buddhism and the art of meditation, or to simply absorb the aura of solemn splendour that surrounds the place.
Brief history:
Marking the holy spot of the enlightenment of the Master, this site is looked upon with greatest sanctity and became a flourishing Buddhist establishment with numerous temples, stupas and monasteries.
According to tradition a large number of shrines and memorials were erected at the site to commemorate the incidents before after enlightenment but only few now can be recognised. Of the earliest shrines, traditionally attributed to Asoka, only vajrasana or the sandstone throne with the characteristic Mauryan polish and decorative designs has survived and is seen beneath the holy Bodhi tree.
To the Sunga period belongs a portion of the sandstone railing carved with bas-reliefs, typical of the age. The remaining portion of the railing pertains to the Gupta period. The main brick-built shrine known as the Mahabodhi temple which appears to have been originally erected in circa 2nd century A.D., is encumbered with the heavy renovations, the four corner-towers being an arbitrary addition of circa 14th century. Its central tower, standing on a high plinth, is about 55m high and is a straight-edged pyramid of seven storeys, relieved by pilasters and chaitya-niches, substantially agreeing with its description left by the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang. The remaining shrines and stupas mostly belong to the Pala period (9th to 12th century).

Bodh Gaya - Prime Sites

Mahabodhi Temple at Bodhgaya ( World Heritage Sites )
The Mahabodhi Temple Complex is one of the four holy sites related to the life of the Lord Buddha, and particularly to the attainment of Enlightenment. The first temple was built by Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century B.C., and the present temple dates from the 5th or 6th centuries. It is one of the earliest Buddhist temples built entirely in brick, still standing in India, from the late Gupta period.
Bodhi Tree:
Towards the West of the Maha Bodhi temple, is the tree where Gautam Buddha did his meditation and attained enlightenment.
Bodhi Sarovar:
Before going in for meditation, Buddha took bath in this pond. This pond is situated towards the west of Bodhi temple. The pond is situated in a very attractive place and is worth visiting.
Towards North of the Bodhi Temple, is a platform with foot impressions of Buddha. Apart from these ponds and platforms, there are many temples built by the people of various nations like the Tibet temple, the Japanese, the Thai, the Lankan and the Bhutan temple. These temples are also a major attraction for the tourists and devotees, who visit Bodh Gaya.

Bodh Gaya - An Excursion

Barabar Caves: 57 Kms from Gaya are some earliest carved out Buddhist caves. The interior of these caves is chiselled to a wonderful polish. The carvings in the caves reflect the skill with which these caves are carved out. These caves were built some where in the 3rd century and are fine examples of the skill, which the Indian mason had attained at that time. These caves are believed to be of Mauryan period and considered to be the origin of Indian cave architecture
Deo : 20 kms from Gaya is located the Sun temple of Deo. In fact, this place is famous for the 'Chhat' festival, which is held in the month of October-November.
Dungeswari : The place is famous for the caves where Buddha had meditated for some time. It was in these caves that he concluded that the ultimate knowledge can not be attained through mortification of the flesh. These caves are 12 kms from the main town of Bodh Gaya.
Rajgir: Just 15 kms from Nalanda is located the complex of temples and monasteries. The place is called Rajgir. It is one of the most important tourist places in India. Being located in a valley, Rajgir is a very scenic place.

Bodh Gaya - Travel Information

Air: The closest airport is Patna airport (112 km from Bodhgaya).
Rail: The Railways Department has provided Gaya, the neighbouring city, with a number of trains which connect the city with all the parts of India. The Rajdhani and Kalka Mail have their stoppages here. Gaya is a junction and one can change trains for the other train routes.
Road: Bodhgaya is connected by road to Gaya, which is connected, to the Delhi-Calcutta Highway junction (on Grand Trunk Road). Gaya is also connected to Dobhi (22 km) and Patna (105 km).
Buddha International, Buddha Vihar, Bihar Tourist ComplexITDC Bodhgaya Ashok.
Apart from sweets, one can buy some handicraft items and decorative pieces made out of stone. Though sea is very far from this place, do not be surprised if you find items made from sea shells. Behind the Bodhi Mandir in Bodh Gaya is a huge market for foreign goods. But before buying any thing here, make sure that you are buying the original and not a forged item. There are no such markets in Gaya, which can be suggested for shopping.

Bodh Gaya - Other Useful Information

Tourist Reception Centre: Bodh Gaya, Bihar.
Distance of near by cities: Patna: 116 kms; Bihar Sharif : 91 kms; Bihar Sharif : 91 kms; Ranchi : 341 kms; Nalanda: 77 kms; Calcutta: 495 kms.
International Center for Meditation: 5 kms from Bodh Gaya, near the Magadh University.
GENERAL INFORMATION: Population: Approx. 27000. Climate: Extreme type of climate, with very hot summer and cold winter.

Hotels in Varanasi - Hotel Varanasi Ashok (ITDC):

  • 11. Hotel Varanasi Ashok (ITDC), The Mall, Cantt. Ph : (0542)2346020 - 30

Location: City Center

Property Type: Business And Leisure Hotel

Hotel Varanasi Ashok is located in the ancient and venerable city for Hindus, it is a modern 5-storeyed structure. The property is situated on the Mall Road in the cantonment area of Varanasi. It is an ideal location to explore the wonders of this unique city, and experience the pulse of a glorious civilisation.

Accessibility: Airport (Domestic): 22KM., City Center: 4KM., Railway Station: 1.5KM., Shopping Center: 4KM.


For more details on Hotels and on-line bookings, you may click the link below:

Hotels in Varanasi - Hotel India ( 3 Star Hotel )

  • 10. Hotel India ( 3 Star Hotel ), 59 Patel Nagar, Cantt. Ph : (0542)2342912, Fax : (0542)234832

Hotel India is placed in the most peaceful of greener environments of the city of Varanasi. With easy accessibility & strategically located, it serves its customers with personal touch of hospitality. Hotel India promises you a luxurious and peaceful stay promising you a time that would made make you want to come back & enjoy its hospitality again.

Accommodation : 80, luxurious air-conditioned rooms including 15 executive rooms & 3 Porsche suits await the guests at the Hotel. Room facility includes colour Televisions (with satellite channels) & a Refrigerator in each room. The attached bathrooms are compact with hot & cold running water.

Hotel India surpasses your dreams of perfect Hotel and promises for a pleasant stay in Varanasi.

Hotels in Varanasi - Hotel Ganges View

  • 9. Hotel Ganges View, Assi Ghat. Ph : (0542)2313218

Hotel Ganges View is situated on the bank of river Ganga at Asi Ghat which is among one of the five major sacred places, Pancha Tirtha, of Kashi or Varanasi. It’s the place where river Asi joins Ganga on her northward flow. The place marks the southern boundary of the holy city and remained the abode of saints and seers, poets and pundits.

Saint poet Tulsidasa wrote a part of his celebrated epic, Ramacharitamanas, at this place nearly four hundred years ago.

Hotels in Varanasi - Hotel Palace On Ganges ( 3 Star Equivalent Hotel )

8. Hotel Palace On Ganges ( 3 Star Equivalent Hotel ), Address: B-1/158, Assighat, Varanasi
Location: City Center
Property Type: Heritage Hotel
Ideally located barely minutes from the Major Shopping Business Complex, 1.5 Km. from Ganges Ghat and 50 m. from Assi Ghat. Hotel Palace on Ganges has coined all distinct cultures of India and accordingly altogether forty two rooms under one Grand Heritage Hotel roof are designed and dedicated to each of those provincial cultures.
Accessibility: Airport: 25KM., Ganges Ghat: 1.5KM., Railway Station: 4KM.

Hotels in Varanasi - Heritage Pallavi International Hotel ( 3 Star Hotel )

  • 7. Heritage Pallavi International Hotel ( 3 Star Hotel ),Hathwa Market, Chetganj. Ph : (0542)2356939


City Center

Property Type: Heritage Hotel

The scenic beauty of Holy Ganges river enchanted the erstwhile rulers of "Hathwa Raj" to construct this palace during middle of 19th century. With the passage of time and for suitable utilisation, the palace was converted into a heritage class hotel depicting the ancient Indian culture with its paintings, carvings and antiques.

Accessibility: Airport (Dom): 22KM., Bus Stand: 1KM., Ghats: 1KM., Railway Station: 1.5KM., Sarnath: 10KM., Shopping Center: 0.5KM.

Hotels in Varanasi - Hotel Diamond: Bhelupur

  • 6. Hotel Diamond: Bhelupur, Ph : (0542)2310696 - 700

Diamond Hotel is the city’s most centrally located downtown hotel. Walking distance from the Ghats of Varanasi and the revered temples of the holy city, the hotel is also in close proximity to the Banarsi Saree market and the Banaras Hindu University. Its location makes it ideally located for all – businessmen, tourists, and pilgrims.

Location: 5 kms from Ramnagar fort 12 kms from Sarnath2 Kms. from Banaras Hindu University22 Kms. from Varanasi Airport5 Kms. from Varanasi Cantt. Railway Station & Bus Terminal16 Kms. from Mughalsarai Railway Station

Services :

24 hour room service, laundry, lockers, bank, foreign exchange counter, car rental, car park, doctor on call, credit card facility.

Hotels in Varanasi - Hotel Clarks Tower ( 4 Star Hotel )

  • 5. Hotel Clarks Tower ( 4 Star Hotel ),The Mall, Varanasi

Location: City Center

Property Type: Business And Leisure Hotel

Hotel Clarks Tower is located 21 Kms away from airport, 3 kms from railway station and 7 kms from downtown, old city & riverfront & 7 kms from Sarnath. It is newly-constructed modern hotel, ideally located in the calm and serene surrounding. It has tastefully decorated rooms housed in a modern building.

Accessibility: Airport: 21KM., Railway Station: 3KM., Sarnath: 7KM.

Hotels in Varanasi - Hotel De Paris

  • 4. Hotel De Paris, The Mall, Cantt. Ph : (0542)2346601-8

Location : 20 kms from Airport, 1.5 kms from Railway Station, 6 kms from Downtown Area.

ROOMS : 50,Rooms All with Bath Attached and all Double.


Restaurant A/C Bar Lobby Room Service Parking Tennis Court Money Exchange Fax Travel Counter Packed meals for overland travellers.

Hotels in Varanasi - Hotel Hindustan International

  • 3. Hotel Hindustan International, C-12/3, Maldahia. Ph : (0542)2351484-90

Enticing guests with its' location, this leisure hotel, with beautifully decorated rooms and excellent service is close to both the commercial area and attraction spots. The Hindustan International Hotel in Varanasi welcomes guests in its' elegant sky-lit atrium and offers stylish, well maintained rooms with comfortable beds as well as modern facilities.

LOCATION: 20 kms from Airport, 1 km from railway station & 2 kms from downtown area.

ACCOMODATION : 108 rooms.The magic of Benares is best experienced with a slow boat ride down the river at dawn.


  • Swimming pool Health club. Multicuisine restaurant.

Other Facilities & Services:

  • Business Centre. Shopping Arcade. Health Club. Swimming Pool. Doctor on call. Laundry. Money Changer. Fax, Safe Deposit. Travel Desk Service.

Hotels in Varanasi - Hotel Clarks, Varanasi

  • 2. Hotel Clarks Varanasi, The Mall, Cantt. Ph : (0542)2348501-10


21kms from Airport3 kms from Railway Station7 kms from Downtown, Old City, and Riverfront7 kms from Sarnath (where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon)

Hotel Clarks Varanasi is an island of tranquility in the ancient city of Varanasi. Making the stay here truly unforgettable, are a whole range of modern amenities. The splendid structure of this hotel dates back to over half a century. Which is why the spacious rooms have a colonial accent, with wide verandahs opening on to lush gardens. Complementing this luxury are the choicest of restaurants, an outdoor swimming pool in a secluded garden, splendid conference halls, and a business centre equipped for efficient service.

Guest Rooms: 113 tastefully furnished rooms, including 10 Executive rooms, 9 Deluxe rooms and 2 Suites. These spacious rooms are aesthetically designed and tastefully furnished. All rooms have individually controlled airconditioning, attached bathrooms, satellite television, free in-house movies and international direct-dialing facility.

Dining & Entertainment:

  • Amrapali - Serving Continental, Chinese, Indian and Mughlai cuisine. Kadambari - 24 hour Coffee Shop. Sonargaon - Village theme Restaurant. Tarang - Lobby-level bar and tea lounge. 24-hour in-room dining. Amrit Rao Peshwa Haveli - For ethnic dining, on the banks of river Ganges Cultural programmes on the banks of river Ganges at Amrit Rao Peshwa Haveli, and at the hotel.

Hotels in Varanasi - Hotel Taj Ganges :

  • 1. Hotel Taj Ganges , Nadesar Palace Grounds, Cantt. Ph : (0542)2345100-118
The Gateway Hotel Ganges Varanasi - Also known as Hotel Taj Ganges is strategically situated on the Raja Bazar Road at Nadesar Palace Ground. It provides 133 well furnished and fully air-conditioned rooms replete with all the required facilities and services.
The hotel is set amidst 40 acres of lush green gardens, just 21 kms (45 mins drive) from the airport, Taj Ganges is the veritable haven of peace and tranquility in this crowded and ancient temple city. The hotel is 6 kms away from the city Centre or the commercial hub of Varanasi also commonly known as The Chowk. The hotel is constructed in the holy Swastik shape (The Swastika is an ancient symbol which re-presents good fortune and blessing). Taj Ganges offers recently renovated & refurbished world-class contemporary rooms & suites with choice of views ranging from the lush green gardens or the swimming pool. The hotel has 130 rooms divided in four categories - Superior Rooms, Deluxe Rooms, Executive Suites and Deluxe Suites.
  • 1. 130 rooms including 10 suites - all room are centrally air-conditioned. 2. High-speed Internet & Wi-Fi available throughout the hotel . 3. Swimming pool, fitness centre, beauty parlour. 4. Three meeting rooms can accommodate 20 to 150 guests auditorium style. 5. Gardens for large outdoor function. Rates starts From 139 US$.
Each Of The Guestrooms Is Accessible Via Exterior Corridors And Features Hardwood Flooring. Amenities Include Bathrobes, Coffeemaker, Minibar, Refrigerator And Jetted Tub. Wireless

Varanasi - Fairs & Festivals - Ganga Mahotsav

Ganga Mahotsav
Ganges has always been the not only the lifeline of India but also the felicitator and nourishment of the Indian Civilization. The river Ganges, though, considered a thing of reverence by the Hindus has in the course of history defined the psyche of the Indian society as a whole, irrespective of religion. It not only nourishes the population that lives by its kingdom but also give them a sense of separate identity and belonging. To mark this contribution of River Ganges, an annual festival is organized that has been christened 'Ganga Mahotsava'
Ganga Mahotsava is a 5-day festive event held on the banks of Ganges in Varanasi. Ganga Mahotsava tends to promote Varanasi and Ganga as the cultural capital and lifeline of India respectively. The event gives stress on the promotion of the classical style of Indian music & dance. It provides opportunity to viewers, to witness performance of the great exponents of Indian classical dance and music. Some of these exponents of art reside in Uttar Pradesh itself.
Laureates like Ustad Bismillah Khan, Pundit Chhanulal Misra, Girija Devi, Bal Murli Krishnan, Bhimsen Joshi, Birju Maharaj, Amjad Ali Khan, Vilayat Khan, Zila Khan, Sujat Khan and Zakir Hussein have given their enthralling performances in this festival. This festival is a must attend for every tourists. The event also coincides with Dev-Dipawali the festival of lights at Varanasi.

Varanasi - Fairs & Festivals - Ram Leela of Varanasi

Ram Leela of Varanasi
The Ram Leela of Ramnagar, Varanasi is famous for its unique portrayal of the story of Lord Ram.
Ram Leela is a popular enactment of the mythological epic, Ramayana. Ram Leela celebration forms an integral part of the cultural life of the Hindi-speaking belt of North India. It is believed that the great saint Tulsidas started the tradition of Ram Lila, the enactment of the story of Lord Ram. The Ramcharitamanas, written by him, forms the basis of Ram Lila performances till today. The Ramnagar Ram Leela (at Varanasi) is enacted in the most traditional style. This special Ram Leela of Ramnagar lasts for almost one month. Ram Leela of Ramnagar was started in the first quarter of the nineteenth century by the then Maharaja of Benaras, Udit Narayan Singh. Hundreds of Sadhus called the 'Ramayanis' come to watch and recite the Ramayana.
Generally, the Ram Leela is enacted on a single stage but the Ramnagar Ram stands out alone in this regard. Here, almost the whole town is transformed into a vast Ram Leela ground as permanent structures are built and spaces designated to represent the main locations of the story. Thus, we have Ashok Vatika, Lanka etc at different locations in the town. The audience moves along with the performers with every episode, to the next location. The most amazing thing about the Ram Leela of Ramnagar is its sober character. It is incredible to see that electric lights, mikes and loudspeakers are hardly used in the performances, even when the audience number in thousands.

Varanasi - Fairs & Festivals - Nakkatayya of Varanasi

Nakkatayya of Varanasi
Nakkatayya is a part of the Ram Leela celebrations at Varanasi. Also called as Nakkatayya Leela, it symblolizes victory of truth over evil.
Nakkatayya (slitting of nose) is an episode from the Ramayana, the great Indian epic. Nakkatayya Leela is re-enactment of that episode. At Varanasi, the Nakkatayya Leela is held at Chetganj and is attended by large number of people from all parts of Varanasi city and nearby towns. Exile of Lord Ram forms the backdrop of this story. Nakkatayya re-enacts a story from Ramayana in which Surpanakha (sister of Ravana, the devil King), comes to entice Ram and then Lakshman. Lakshman, the younger brother of Ram, gets angry and slits Suparnakha's nose and she goes back crying.
This act of nose slitting is enacted at stage during mid October in Chetganj locality of Varanasi. On the occasion of Nakkatayya, numerous processions and tableaux are carried out in the streets of Varanasi, symbolizing the victory of truth over evil.

Varanasi - Fairs & Festivals - Nag Nathaiya of Varanasi

Nag Nathaiya of Varanasi
A part of the Mahabharata legend, the Nag Nathaiya festival is re-enacted on the Tulsi Ghat at Varanasi.
Nag Nathaiya is yet another important festival of Varanasi. Nag Nathaiya festival is a part of the Krishna Leela ceremony, a mythological tradition involving depiction of a famous episode in the life of lord Krishna. The Nag Nathaiya festival of Varanasi is held at the Tulsi Ghat. Lord Krishna jumps into River Ganga for Nag Nathan. The Nag Nathaiya festival is famous as Nag Nathaiya Leela. The Nag Nathaiya festival is held during the month of Nov-Dec and a large number of people gather to see the re-enactment.
The origin of Nag Nathaiya is traced back to the Mahabharata. According to the Mahabharata, while playing, the young Krishna lost his ball in the river. When the little Krishna dived into the river to get his ball back, he was confronted by King Cobra, Kalia. Recognizing the strength and power of Lord Krishna, King Cobra withdrew and lifted the little Krishna to the surface instead. Much to the delight of his friends, sitting on the hood of Kalia, Lord Krishna surfaced above the water.

Varanasi - Fairs & Festivals- Mahashivratri in Varanasi

Mahashivratri in Varanasi
Mahashivaratri is one of the most popular festivals of Varanasi as the city is considered the abode of Lord Shiva.
Since Varanasi is considered the city of Lord Shiva, Mahashivaratri festival holds immense importance here. Mahashivaratri (the great night of Shiva) falls on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of Phalguna (February/March) and is dedicated to the worship of Lord Shiva. Mahashivaratri festival is purely religious in nature and observed by all Hindus. On the occasion of Mahashivaratri, all Shiva temples of Varanasi are tastefully decorated. On the day Of Mahashivaratri, a marriage procession of Lord Shiva is taken out starting from Mahamrityunjaya Temple, Daranagar to Kashi Vishwanath Temple.
On Maha Shivaratri night, naked Naga sadhus from different parts of the country move towards the Banaras holding flags and tridents and blowing conch shells. After creation was complete, Parvati asked Lord Shiva which rituals pleased him the most. The Lord replied that the 13th night of the new moon, during the month of Maagha, is his most favourite day. Parvati repeated these words to her friends, from whom the word spread over all creation. On this day every Shiv Mandir is decorated. In Varanasi a marriage procession of Lord Shiva is takenshivling.jpg (9416 bytes) out starting from Mahamrityunjaya Temple, Daranagar to Kashi Vishwanath Temple via Chowk.
According to legend, Lord Shiva is the savior of our world. A pot of poison emerged from the depths of the ocean. This frightened the gods because this venom would harm the whole world. Shiva drank the poison to protect the whole world but he adroitly held it in his throat instead of swallowing it. This gave him the name of Nilkantha or blue throated. The festival is celebrated to mark this occasion.
In Hindu mythology, there are many popular stories regarding the origin of Mahashivaratri. One legend traces the origin of Mahashivaratri festival to the churning of the Ocean of Milk by Devas (Gods) and Asuras (demons). According to it, when both Gods and demons were churning the Ocean of Milk to obtain amrita (water of immortal life), they came across many unusual substances, including the deadly poison. The moment they touched the poison, it exploded into poisonous fumes that threatened to envelope the entire universe by darkness. Seeing the destruction of the universe inevitable, the Gods went to Brahma and Vishnu, but none was able to help and as a last resort they went to Lord Shiva, who condensed the fumes by his trident. To save the Universe from destruction, Lord Shiva swallowed the poison, which left a dark blue mark on Shiva's throat.
In Varanasi, people visit nearby temples of Shiva and offer prayers in large numbers. The prayers and worship continue late into the night. On Mahashivaratri, devotees offer milk, Bhang, Dhatura, flowers, coconut, fruits etc to Shiva statues and Shiva Lingams and sing bhajans in honor of Shiva. They also recite shlokas (verses) from scriptures, offer prayers in the morning and evening and many devotees observe fasting throughout the day. On the day of Mahashivaratri, the main center of religious activity and worship at Varanasi is the Kashi Vishvanath temple, where devotees throng in large numbers to offer prayers to the residing deity of Varanasi, Lord Shiva.

Varanasi - Fairs & Festivals - Hanuman Jayanti

Hanuman Jayanti
Hanuman Jayanti or Janmotsava marks the birthday of Lord Hanuman.
"Anajenya is called Hanuman. Some say this is because Indra, the king of the gods, once broke Anjaneya's jaw (hanu) with a thunderbolt, but there is a hidden meaning there. Hanuman should be read as Anuman because he is the atomic force (anu means atom), the force which moves all matter in the universe. That is why He is called Pavana Putra or Vayu Suta (Sun of Wind, wind being personified as the motile force). And we all know the power of nuclear energy! That is the power of Anjaneya".
On the day of 'Kartik Krishna Chaturdashi", special prayers are made to the Lord. The temple observes an annual festival on the full moon night of the month of 'Chaitra', which is also known as Hanuman Jayanti. At this juncture, a procession is taken out in the streets of Varanasi.
The festival too, attracts plenty of visitors to Sankat Mochan Temple. Jannotsav of Lord Hanuman is celebrated at Sankat Mochan Temple for five days with cultural & musical programmes by artistes from all over India. Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated to commemorate the birth of Hanuman. Hanuman Jayanti falls on Chaitra Shukla Purnima (the March-April full moon day).
In Hinduism, Lord Hanuman is seen as the symbol of strength and energy. Hanuman was a zealous devotee of Rama, and is worshipped for his unwavering devotion to Lord Rama. Hanuman Jayanti is celebrated with great fanfare and feast at Varanasi.
Birthday celebration of Lord Hanuman is held at Sankat Mochan Temple. The devotees flock the Hanuman temples all over Varanasi and apply Sindhoor Tilak on their foreheads from statues of Hanuman. The Hanuman Jayanti in Varanasi is accompanied with and followed by many cultural functions and musical shows. Many well-known artists and performers are flown down to the city to take part in such programmes.

Varanasi - Fairs & Festivals - Dev Deepavali

Dev Deepavali
Dev Deepavali is celebrated on the fifteenth day of Deepavali and is an important festival among Hindus at Varanasi.
Dev Deepavali is celebrated on the occasion of Kartik Poornima when the Ghats of Varanasi come alive with thousands of Diyas (earthen lamps). Dev Deepavali, celebrated on the fifteenth day of Diwali, is a tribute to river Ganga by the people of Varanasi. Dev Deepavali is held on the full moon day in the month of Kartik (also known as Kartik Purnima) and is observed with great fanfare and feasts. It is believed that on the day of Dev Deepavali, the Gods descend on Earth. It is interesting to note that the Kartik Purnima festival also coincides with the Jain light festival and Guru Nanak Jayanti.
To mark the occasion and also to showcase the cultural heritage of Varanasi, many Tours are organized for the four-day Ganga Mahotsav around this period. A large number of Hindu devotees start assembling from the day of the Prabodhini Ekadasi (the eleventh day of the fortnight) itself. The official celebration is usually held on the Dasaswamedh Ghat. On the occasion of the Ganga Mahotsava, reputed artists and performers from all over the country come and perform, making the celebrations more eventful.
On the eve of Kartik Purnima, the number of pilgrims begins to increase manifolds and most of the pilgrims camp by the riverside. In the evening, pilgrims and local people decorate the entire riverbank with tiny earthen lamps ('Diya'). These lamps are lit as a mark of welcome to the Gods as they descend on earth. The little sparks of fire flicker elegantly and is a wonderful sight to watch. The 'Ganga-Aarti' is an important event in the evening. Almost all Ghats organize their own ceremony. Huge lamps are set ablaze and the priest holds forth the lamp as the multitude chants the hymns.

Varanasi - Fairs & Festivals - Buddha Purnima

Buddha Purnima
Buddha Purnima is an important festival of Varanasi. The Buddha Purnima celebrations take place at Sarnath, where Buddha delivered his first sermon.
Buddha Purnima festival is celebrated to mark the birth of Lord Buddha. Buddha Purnima or Buddha Jayanti is celebrated with traditional religious fervor. Buddha Purnima falls on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Vaisakh (April/May). Lord Buddha was born on the Full Moon day in the month of Vaisakh in 563 BC. Here, it is interesting to note that Buddha achieved enlightenment and nirvana (salvation) on the same day (the Full Moon day). Thus, Buddha Purnima also marks the death anniversary of Gautam Buddha.
Sarnath holds an important place in Buddhism as Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath. On the occasion of Buddha Jayanti, a large fair is held at Sarnath and the relics of the Buddha are taken out for public display in a procession.
Besides Sarnath, the Buddha Purnima is also celebrated with religious fervor at Gaya and Kushinagar and other parts of India and the world. The Buddha Purnima celebrations at Sarnath attract large Buddhist crowds as Buddhists offer prayers in different Buddhist temples at Sarnath on this day. Prayers, sermons, recitation of Buddhist scriptures are other important religious activities performed by the Buddhists at Sarnath. Monks and devotees meditate and worship the statue of Gautam Buddha. The Buddhist devotees also offer fruits, flowers, candles etc to statues of Lord Buddha.

Varanasi - Fairs & Festivals - Bharat Milap at Varanasi

Bharat Milap at Varanasi
Bharat Milap of Varanasi is one of the most popular and oldest festivals of Varanasi. Bharat Milap is celebrated the next day after Dussehra.
Varanasi is a city of fairs and festivals. Almost every month, a fair or festival is celebrated at Varanasi. Celebration all round the year is another interesting facet of the holy city, Varanasi.
Bharat Milap, held in October/November is an important festival of Kashi or Varanasi. Bharat Milap is celebrated to commemorate Lord Ram's return to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile and his reunion with his brother, Bharat. The essence of this festival is victory of truth over evil. Lord Ram returned back to Ayodhya after spending 14 years in exile. The story of Lord Ram is the main theme of Valmiki's Ramayana and Tulsidas' Ramcharitamanas. The Bharat Milap festival is held the day following Dussehra.
The Bharat Milap festival is held at Nati Imli, Varanasi. The annual Dussehra festival and the Bharat Milap festival is one of the greatest attractions of Varanasi city. The people of Varanasi celebrate Bharat Milap with great fanfare and devotion. Thousands gather in the streets to see the procession of Lord Ram and his reunion with younger brother, Bharat. People pay their respect by putting Tilak on forehead and garlanding Lord Ram and his brothers. Another interesting part of the Bharat Milap celebration is the presence of Kashi Naresh (former king of Varanasi) with all his royal paraphernalia and regal finery.

Varanasi - Fairs & Festivals

Festivals of Varanasi
Varanasi is the most popular pilgrimage place for the Hindus. The rich cultural heritage and tradition of Varanasi makes it the cultural capital of India. For ages, Varanasi has been a center of learning of Indian philosophy, spiritualism, mysticism and other branches of education. Varanasi is essentially a melting pot of Indian culture.
In Hindu religion, it is believed that one, who dies and is cremated at Varanasi, gets an instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and re-births. Being associated with Hindu traditions and religion, Varanasi is home to numerous temples, muths and Ashrams.By virtue of its religious and cultural importance, Varanasi is abuzz with fairs and festivals all round the year. Almost every month, some important festival is celebrated in Varanasi. Besides festivals and holidays, many "Melas" or fairs are also held at Varanasi. At Varanasi, fairs and festivals are celebrated with traditional gaiety and fervor and are symbolic of celebration of life at its best.
The festive atmosphere never seems to end in Varanasi. It's not important to make itinerary according to the dates and months as one can come and enjoy the festive season of Varanasi anytime of the year!

Varanasi Ghats - Raja Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Raja Ghat :
The Raja Ghat is located south of Dashaswamedh Ghat, between Babua Pandey Ghat and Kshameshwar Ghat, along the Ganges in Varanasi. Raja Ghat used to be a ferry ghat until 1 January 1887, when the Lord Duffrin Bridge was built for vehicular as well as rail traffic.
The Raja Ghat is very old and it is, in fact, mentioned in the Gahadavala inscription dating back to 1100AD.

Varanasi Ghats - Karwat Kashi

Varanasi Ghats - KaBoldrwat Kashi:
The Adi Vishweshwar temple, in front of the Carmichael Library was built by Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur. Arti-puja is performed in milk and then honoured with fragrant sandalwood paste, flowers and bilva (bel) leaves.
In the southern sector of the city, situated at the top of the ghats, is the Kashi Kedara temple. The linga has prominent red and white stripes. For the Kashi Kedara temple, it is believed that Shiva, while running away from Brahma, pushed up the earth and appeared as a linga, which liberates all those who behold it. The Shivalinga with the Karwat (a saw) by its side is enclosed in the dark chambers of the basement of the temple. A view of the linga can be had from above by dropping a small piece of lighted camphor into the sacred place.

Varanasi Ghats - Sankatha Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Sankatha Ghat :
Sankatha Ghat, formerly known as Yameshvara Ghat, is named after Sankatha Devi, a self-manifested goddess. A temple dedicated to Sankatha Devi is located high above the ghat. Also enshrined are the temples of Yameshvara and Harischandresvara, of which latter is thought have been the old cremation area. The devotees assemble here to take sacred bath during Yama Dvitiya.

Varanasi Ghats - Ahilyabai Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Ahilyabai Ghat :
The Ahilyabai Ghat is located south of Dashaswamedh Ghat, between Ranamahal Ghat and Munshi Ghat. it was the first ghat to be named after a person, in this case, Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore who constructed it as well as Visvesvara Ghat in 1778.
In the place of an old site of Kevelyagiri Ghat, in c. 1778 queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore made this a pucca ghat. For the first time name of a person was added after the ghat. She was also responsible for re-building the Visvesvara temple, as exists at present, in 1777.

Varanasi - Ghats - Bachraj Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Bachraj Ghat :
There are three riverbank Jain Temples here. Many ghats are owned by Maharajas or other princely rulers, such as the very fine Shivala Ghat owned by the maharaja of Varanasi. Bachraj Ghat, Varanasi, India is not a Hindu Ghat like most of the other Ghats in Varanasi. It is a Jain Ghat, which is located at the banks of the mighty River Ganges.
The Jain Maharajas are said to have owned this Ghat. There are three Jain Temples located at the banks of the river. A visit to the three most consecrated temples is said to be a lifetime experience for a Jain Pilgrim. The jains do not just take a dip in the holy river; they also go and offer their prayers at the temples.

Varanasi Ghats - Dandi Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Dandi Ghat :
Ghat of ascetics also known as Dandi Panths. the Hanuman ghat is used by wrestlers and body builders for whom Bajrangbali (Hanuman) is the patron God. The tonsured heads, sandal smeared and chillum smoking sadhus, and the noise of their continuous recital of Mantras is the most popular picture people have in their minds of the sacred land of Varanasi. Said to liberate the souls from the cycle of birth and rebirth, Varanasi is unique place for the Hindus.
The numerous Ghats in Varanasi speaks volumes about the religious ardor of the Hindus. The Dandi Ghat, Varanasi Uttar Pradesh is dedicated to the followers of the Dandi Panths. Here you can find the famous Dandi Temple, located adjacent to the Ghat. Dandi Ghat, Varanasi Uttar Pradesh has therefore, a special appeal; its features are however, similar to the other Ghats in Varanasi.

Varanasi - Ghats - Vijaya Nagaram Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Vijaya Nagaram Ghat:
The Vijaya Nagaram Ghat is located south of Dashaswamedh Ghat in between Kshameshwar Ghat and Lali Ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi. As one of the major ghats in Varanasi, Vijaya Nagaram Ghat is immediately recognisable for the red-and-white stripes of the temple above it.
This is one of the major ghats for devotees to take their ritual baths on the Ganges, and it is filled with throngs, especially in the morning.

Varanasi - Ghats - Ranamahal Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Ranamahal Ghat:
The Ranamahal Ghat is located south of Dashaswamedh Ghat, between Darbhanga Ghat and Chousaiti Ghat, along the Ganges in Varanasi. Above Ranamahal Ghat is the octagonal bay windows of Hotel Elena, where visitors get rooms with superb views.

Varanasi Ghats - Prayag Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Prayag Ghat:
The Prayag Ghat is located on the immediate left of the Dashaswamedh Ghat, the most important section in Varanasi. Devotees usually spill over to this ghat in the mornings and evenings when the daily puja is conducted.

Varanasi - Ghats - Lali Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Lali Ghat:
The Lali Ghat is located south of Dashaswamedh Ghat, right after Vijaya Nagaram Ghat, along the Ganges in Varanasi. It is yet another dhoby ghat where laundry is washed and put to dry.

Varanasi - Ghats - Kshameshwar Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Kshameshwar Ghat:
The Kshameshwar Ghat is a wide ghat that cascades down to the Ganges. It is located south of Dashaswamedh Ghat, right after Raja Ghat, along the Ganges in Varanasi. Apart from a small shrine, there isn't anything particularly impressive about Kshameshwar Ghat, especially when compared with the imperial architecture of Raja Ghat.

Varanasi Ghats - Ganesh Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Ganesh Ghat:
The Ganesh Ghat is located north of Dashaswamedh Ghat, between Lalita Ghat and Manikarnika Ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi. Other than that, it is in between more famous sights.

Varanasi Ghats - Digpatiya Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Digpatiya Ghat:
The Digpatiya Ghat is located south of Dashaswamedh Ghat, somewhere between Chousaiti Ghat and Babua Pandey Ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi. Due to its structure that goes almost to the riveredge, the ghat itself is steep and narrow here, but widens up when it reaches Babua Pandey. The Digpatiya is an exquisite of North Indian architecture.

Varanasi Ghats - Darbhanga Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Darbhanga Ghat:
The Darbhanga Ghat is located south of Dashaswamedh Ghat, and adjacent to Rana Mahal Ghat, along the Ganges in Varanasi. The ghat is located above a palatial building with lookout towers.

Varanasi - Ghats - Bundi Parkota Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Bundi Parkota Ghat:
The Bundi Parkota Ghat is located on the north side of Dashaswamedh Ghat, a short distance after Scindia Ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi. The dhoby operating here left their washing to dry on the open ground. This is one of several ghats along the Ganges where laundry is being washed and dried.
According to the information I gathered, Bundi Parkota Ghat used to be called the Raja Mandira Ghat. It was created by Raja Surajana Hada, the King of Bundi, in 1580AD. Above this ghat are the shrines of Sesa Madhava, Karnadity and Laksmi Nrsimha.

Varanasi - Ghats - Babua Pandey Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Babua Pandey Ghat:
The Babua Pandey Ghat is located south of Dashaswamedh Ghat, between Digpatiya Ghat and Raja Ghat. It consists of a narrow slope down towards the river. There is no impressive architecture here. The place is used by the dhoby to do their laundry.

Varanasi - Ghats - Lalita Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Lalita Ghat :
Well known for its Nepali style temple with an idol of Pashupateshwara. This ghat also has a temple dedicated to the river Ganga.

Varanasi Ghats - Manmandir (Man Mandir) Ghat

Varanasi Ghats - Manmandir (Man Mandir) Ghat :
Built in 1600 and was poorly restored in the 19th century. The northern corner of the ghat has a fine stone balcony which the Raja Jai Singh of Jaipur erected during one of his unusual observations at the ghat in 1710. Built by Maharaja Man Singh of Amer, there are numerous instruments used for astronomical calculations here and it is open to visitors from 09:30 am till 05:30 pm. The Dom Raja’s house is next door, with painted tigers flanking the terrace. Doms are the untouchables, who handle the corpses at cremation grounds.
Though the Doms belong to a lower caste, their services are invaluable for the dead to be released from their physical bonds and so the leader of the doms is given the title of `Raja’ or king.


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