VARANASI

The Holy City Of India

INTRODUCTION
‡ Varanasi is commonly known as Benares. ‡ It is a city situated on the banks of the River Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh ‡ It is the Holiest Place of Hindus where at least once in life a Hindu is expected to do pilgrimage and if possible pour the remains (ashes) of cremated ancestors here into the River Ganga. ‡ It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and probably the oldest of India.

ETYMOLOGY
‡ The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi for it lies with the confluence of Varuna with the Ganges being to its north and that of Assi and the Ganges to its south. ‡ Through the ages, Varanasi was variously known as Avimuktaka, Anandakanana, Maha smasana, Surandhana, Brahma Vardha, Sudarsana, Ramya, and Kasi.

the city was founded by the Hindu deity.HISTORY ‡ According to legend. and the Mahabharata. including the Rigveda. ‡ It is one of the seven sacred cities of Hindus. Ramayana. ‡ Many Hindu scriptures.000 years ago. mention the city. around 5. Lord Shiva. Varanasi (Benares) in 1922 . Skanda Purana.

‡ Varanasi was a commercial and industrial center famous for its muslin and silk fabrics. perfumes. Painting of Benares in 1890. ‡ During the time of Gautama Buddha Varanasi was the capital of the Kingdom of Kashi.000 years old. ivory works. and sculpture.HISTORY contd« ‡ Varanasi is generally believed to be about 3. .

across the Ganges. with Ramanagar as its headquarters. Kashi Naresh is the religious head and the people of Benares consider him the incarnation of Lord Shiva. . The Ramnagar Fort was built by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh with creamy chunar sandstone in the eighteenth century. Kashi Naresh still resides in the fort of Ramanagar. it remained a commercial and religious center. the British made Varanasi a new Indian state. Under British rule. The Ramnagar Fort of the Kashi Naresh is situated to the east of Varanasi.KASHI NARESH AND RAMNAGAR ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Varanasi became an independent Kingdom of Kashi in the eighteenth century. In 1910.

26 km² ‡ It is stretched between 82° 56¶E .25° 23.GEOGRAPHY ‡ The city of Varanasi is located in the middle Ganga valley of North India.83° 03¶E and 25° 14¶N . along the left crescent-shaped bank of the Ganga river.5¶N. ‡ It covers an area of 112. ‡ It has the headquarters of Varanasi district. in the Eastern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh. ‡ Being located in the Indo-Gangetic Plains of North India. the land is very fertile because low level floods in the Ganges continually replenish the soil .

2 13) 46.9 (78.2 (106.7 ) 4.3 ) 9.9 ) 320.5 31) 37.7 ) 12.6 22) 40.5 (76.3 (39. 6 (9. 3) 20.0 (0.7 (56. 7) 25.3 (82.8) 2.CLIMATE CLIMATE DATA FOR VARANASI Month Average High °C (°F ) Average low °C (°F) Precipitation mm (inches) Jan Feb Mar Aprl May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec 23.4) 27.8 (85.5 (101.5) 19.4 (90.3 (102.50 8) 31.2 (88.3 (111. 0 (3.5 (36 .15 7) .5 (0. 8) 5.2 ) 13. 2) 32.4 09) 40.4 (0. 7) 30.9 (0.0 (0.1 (80.2 ) 100. 6 (12.1 (98.35 4) 44. 76) 29.3 ) 38. 2) 28. 3) 10.1 ) 4.11 8) 38.4 (0.0 (46.93 7) 41.1 (86.3 (1.7 (69.6 ) 260.50 8) 24. 4) 13.8 (10 5.2 52) 39.0 (77) 231.3 (61. 2 (73 . 3 (0. 8) 16.5 (104. 6) 8. 9) 25.8 (116. 4 (10.

with warm days and downright cold nights. with intervening monsoon seasons and are also extremely hot. Winters in Varanasi sees very large diurnal variations. called loo. ‡ The temperature ranges between 32 °C ± 46°C in the summers. while hot dry winds. ‡ The average annual rainfall is 1110 mm (44 in) ‡ Fog is common in the winters. ‡ Cold waves from the Himalayan region cause temperatures to dip across the city in the winter from December to February and temperatures below 5°C are not uncommon.CLIMATE contd« ‡ Varanasi experiences a humid subtropical climate with large variations between summer and winter temperatures. . blow in the summers. even by South Asian standards. from early April to October. ‡ Summers are long.

. including Banarasi Silk sari making. and handicrafts. Earlier. ‡ Varanasi is also popular for Langda aam(Mango). and the related small-scale industries employ many people. ‡ Banarasi paan (betel leaf) and khoa (a milk product) are popular. Banarasi Sarees are adorned with intricate designs and zari embellishments making it popular during traditional functions and weddings.ECONOMY ‡ Varanasi has several small cottage industries. the embroidery on sarees were often done with threads of pure gold. City is biggest producer of world famous langda mango(Malda Mango). the production of textiles such as hand-woven carpets. ‡ Banarasi Silk is known all over the world for its finery and softness.

ECONOMY contd« ‡ Indian Railways runs a major diesel locomotive factory in Varanasi. ‡ BHEL (India's largest heavy engineering and manufacturing enterprise) also runs a plant here. . Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW). ‡ The first Indian business house of Varanasi and Kanpur was the firm NihalChand KishoriLal established in the year 1857 which set up the fourth Oxygen plant in the country here by the name of Indian Air Gases Ltd.

which is responsible for the master planning of the city. The city produces about 350 million litres per day of sewer and 425 tonnes per day of solid waste. Varanasi was one the five cities where Ganga Action Plan was launched. A huge amount of sewer flows into the river Ganga daily.ADMINISTRATION AND POLITICS ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Varanasi is governed by a number of bodies. Power supply is by the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited. The city constitutes the Varanasi Lok Sabha constituency. The solid wastes are disposed in one landfill site. A Special Superintendent of Police is the highest ranking police officer in the city. Murli Manohar Joshi of the Bharatiya Janata Party won the constituency in Indian general election. ‡ ‡ . the prime being the Varanasi Nagar Nigam (Municipal Corporation) and Varanasi Development Authority. Dr. The city is within the Varanasi range of Varanasi zone of Uttar Pradesh Police. a subsidiary of Nagar Nigam. Water supply and sewage system is maintained by Jal Nigam. Nagar Nigam also runs a bus service in the city and suburban areas. 2009.

R. and Gopinath Kaviraj among others. Myor. Dr.5 km²) campus was built on land donated by the Kashi Naresh. Thevo. RTH Griffith.EDUCATION ‡ Banaras Hindu University was founded in 1916 by Madan Mohan Malaviya with the cooperation of Annie Besant. Aurthor Venice. Ballentien. After India achieved independence. having more than 128 independent teaching departments. this college became Sampurnanand Sanskrit University. The first principal of Sanskrit College was Sanskrit professor J. ‡ ‡ Banaras Hindu University is a major university in Varanasi . ICS followed by J. Ganganath Jha. Dr. The University includes Institute of Technology and Institute of Medical Sciences and is among the top three largest residential universities in the world. Its 1350 acre (5. G. Sampurnanand Sanskrit University: Governor General Lord Cornwallis established the Sanskrit College (1791). which was the first college in Varanasi. Dr. Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth is a deemed and chartered university that is named for Gandhi and follows the principles of Gandhism.

‡ Agrasen Mahila Mahavidyala is another autonomous college in the city. . ‡ Nav Sadhana Kala Kendra is a college of Dance and Music in the city that trains the students professionally in Bharatnatyam and Hindustani Vocal. is the center of sports and science study for the suburban students of modern Benares.EDUCATION contd« ‡ The Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies (Central University of Tibetan Studies) at Sarnath is a deemed university with a preference for the traditional Tibetan method of teaching within a framework of modern universities. ‡ Udai Pratap College. autonomous college.

Varanasi's Old City is rich with culture. has crowded narrow winding lanes that are flanked by road-side shops and scores of Hindu temples. Wall paintings. ‡ The main residential areas of Varanasi (especially for the middle and upper classes) are situated in regions far from the ghats." the quarter near the banks of Ganga.CULTURE ‡ Varanasi's "Old City. Varanasi. 1974 . ‡ As atmospheric as it is confusing. they are more spacious and less polluted. and a deservedly popular destination for travelers and tourists.

RAMLILA AT RAMNAGAR ‡ When the Dasara festivities are inaugurated with a colorful pageant Kashi Naresh rides an elephant at the head of the procession. the version of the Ramayana penned by Tulsidas. ‡ This is very important to the river ganges ritual . ‡ The plays sponsored by the Maharaja. he inaugurates the month long folk theatre of Ramlila at Ramnagar. Varanasi. ‡ On the last day the festivities reach a crescendo as Rama vanquishes the demon king Ravana. as told in R macaritam nasa. are performed in Ramnagar every evening for 31 days. ‡ Maharaja Udit Narayan Singh started this tradition of staging the Ramleela at Ramnagar in mid-nineteenth century. ‡ The Ramlila is a cycle of plays which recounts the epic story of Lord Rama. ‡ Then. resplendent in silk and brocade.

HOLY CITY ‡ Varanasi is a holy city in Hinduism. People performing Hindu ceremony at one of the ghats of Varanasi . and that Vishalakshi Temple stands on the spot where Goddess Sati's earrings fell. It has the holy shrine of Kashi Vishwanath. ‡ Hindus regard Kashi as one of the Shakti Peethas. ‡ Hindus believe that bathing in Ganga remits sins and that dying in Kashi ensures release of a person's soul. ‡ More than 1.000 pilgrims visit the city each year.000. being one of the most sacred pilgrimage places for Hindus.

being one of the four pilgrimage sites said to have been designated by Gautama Buddha himself. ‡ Islamic culture has also had an influence on Varanasi. ‡ There has been some degree of continuous tension between different religious communities in the city. ‡ Varanasi is a pilgrimage site for Jains along with Hindus and Buddhists. Varanasi attracts thousands of Hindu piligrims every year.‡ Varanasi is one of the holiest places in Buddhism too. .

Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat.GHATS ‡ Varanasi has nearly 100 ghats. Two Hindu mythologies are associated with it: According to one. ‡ Dashashwamedh Ghat is located close to Vishwanath Temple. and is probably the most spectacular ghat. Varanasi . Lord Brahma created it to welcome Lord Shiva.

. According to the second legend. the latter's earring ("manikarnika") fell into the pit. saying that they had been lost on the banks of Ganga.‡ Manikarnika Ghat: Two legends are associated with this Ghat. whenever a body gets cremated at the Manikarnika Ghat. Goddess Parvati's idea behind the fib was that Lord Shiva would then stay around. his consort Goddess Parvati hid her earrings. in order to keep Lord Shiva from moving around with his devotees. While Lord Shiva was watching Lord Vishnu at that time. Lord Shiva asks the soul whether it has seen the earrings. In this legend. and asked him to find them. it is believed to be the place where Lord Vishnu dug a pit with his Chakra and filled it with his perspiration while performing various penances. searching forever for the lost earrings. According to one.

It is a favorite site of painters and photographers. with its Shiva temple lying partially submerged in the river as a result of excessive weight of the ghat¶s construction about 150 years ago. The temple also has an image of Pashupateshwar. a wooden temple built in typical Kathmandu style. a manifestation of Lord Shiva. Local festivals including musical parties and games regularly take place at the beautiful Assi Ghat which is at the end of the continuous line of ghats. There is a fine stone balcony in the northern part of the ghat. Lalita Ghat: The late King of Nepal built this Ghat in the northern region of Varanasi. the Lord of the Moon. Mana-Mandir Ghat: Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur built this Ghat in 1770. Varanasi Ghat at dusk . Devotees pay homage here to the lingam of Someswar.. It is the site of Ganga Keshav Temple. dedicated to Lord Vishnu. as well as the Yantra Mantra equipped with ornate window casings.‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Scindia Ghat also known as Shinde Ghat borders Manikarnika to the north.

TEMPLES ‡ Kashi Vishwanath Temple. the aforementioned Jyotirlinga of the Lord Shiva is enshrined here. PowerPoint prevented this external picture from being automatically downloaded. also called Golden Temple. Architecture of the Vishwanath Temple in BHU . To download and display this picture. which in its present shape was built in 1780 by Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore.To help protect your privacy. It was later resurrected at a location near the mosque. as Vishweshwara or Vishwanatha. ‡ This temple makes Varanasi a place of great religious importance to the Hindus. ‡ The temple was once destroyed by the Muslim Emperor Aurangzeb who converted most parts of the temple into a Mosque. is located on the outskirts of the Ganga. and then click Enable external content. click Options in the Message Bar.

‡ Vishalakshi temple This temple is dedicated to Vishalakshi (means wideeyed) or Parvati . Thousands of Hindu devotees visit the Durga temple during Navratri and other auspicious occasions." was built at some point of time in 18th century.‡ Durga Temple. consort of Lord Shiva. The temple got the name 'Monkey temple' because of the presence of large number of monkeys in the temple. It is a place for many yearly religious as well as cultural festivals. also nicknamed "Monkey temple. the present statue of Goddess Durga was not made by man but appeared on its own in the temple. Durga Mandir (temple) in Ramnagar. According to legends. . ‡ Sankat Mochan Temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and is very popular with the local citizens.

It is located in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth campus. it houses a relief map of India. The Bharat Mata temple was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936. She is a form of Parvati. depicting the mountains. whose water is said to be mixture of several underground streams and good for eliminating several diseases. was built as a replica of the old Kashi Vishwanath Temple. plains and oceans. Planned by Madan Mohan Malaviya. Mrityunjay Mahadev Temple On the route of Daranagar to Kalbhairav temple this temple of Lord Shiva is situated . VishesharGanj. the temple is part of the Banaras Hindu University.‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ The New Vishwanath Temple The new Vishwanath Temple. Annapoorna Temple Near the Kashi Vishwanath temple. called Birla Mandir. Kalbhairav Temple It is the ancient temple of Varanasi near the Head Post Office. without his permission no one can stay in Kashi. Tulsi Manas Temple Constructed by family of Varanasi. Bharat Mata Temple The Bharat Mata temple at Varanasi is the only temple dedicated to Bharat Mata. there is a important temple of "Godess of Remedy" Devi Sankatha. The statute of Bharat Mata is built in marble and is a model of undivided India. Inside its premises there is a huge statue of a Lion. there is a nice temple of Devi Annapurna . It is situated at the place Where Tulisdas. Just besides this temple there is a Well of much religious importance . lived and wrote the epic "Shri Ramcharitmanas". this modern temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. The most peculiar thing about the Bharat Mata Temple is that instead of the customary gods and goddesses. Sankatha Temple Near the Sindhia Ghat . the hero of the Ramayana. . the great medieval seer. God KalBhairav is believed as "Kotwal Of Varanasi" . which narrates the life of Lord Rama. believed as the "Godess of Fooding". mainly funded by Raja Birla of the Birla family of industrialists. carved out of marble.

altitude. the declination of stars. It includes a precious handwritten manuscript by Tulsidas. especially religious writings. ‡ Jantar Mantar is an observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh. is housed in Saraswati Bhawan.ART AND LITERATURE ‡ Saraswati Bhawan at Ramnagar Fort A rare collection of manuscripts. planets and to determine eclipses . the Sun's declination. The Jantar Mantar was built to measure the local time. of Jaipur in the year 1737.

The Bharat Kala Bhavan was established in the year 1920 A.‡ Archaeological museum. In order to keep the antiquities found from the site. is an art and architecture museum and houses a vast collection of paintings. located inside the BHU campus. Sarnath is the oldest site museum of Archaeological Survey of India. .D. a decision was taken in 1904 by the Government to construct a site museum adjacent to the excavated site at Sarnath. ‡ Bharat Kala Bhavan. Hindu and Buddhist sculptures and other materials of archeological importance.

who wrote Mahabharata. the great Indian epic.‡ Ramnagar Fort. from Varanasi and is situated on the opposite bank of river Ganga. It is the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Banaras. lies about 14 km. Maharaja Balwant Singh built this fortpalace in the eighteenth century. The Ramnagar fort has a temple and a Museum within the grounds and the temple is dedicated to Ved Vyasa. . This fort houses a museum displaying the Royal collection. The fort is built in red sandstone.

the sex ratio was 879 females every 1000 males.5 per 100. ‡ Approximately 138. ‡ The literacy rate in the urban agglomeration is 77% while that in the municipal corporation area is 78%.DEMOGRAPHICS ‡ The population of Varanasi urban agglomeration in 2001 was 1.371. The crime rate in the city in 2004 was 128.749. ‡ However.2 but lower than the national rate of 168.000 people in the municipal area live in slums.000 which is higher than Uttar Pradesh rate of 73. the area under Varanasi Nagar Nigam has a population of 1.748 with the sex ratio being 883 females for every 1000 males.100.8 .

Secunderab ad etc. .Jaipur. Ja balpur. ‡ One of the major factors in Varanasi's sustained existence as an inhabited city is its role as an established transportation hub between different cities. Bhopal. ‡ It is located at a distance of 776 km from Delhi. rail and road with the major Indian cities like New Delhi. Kolkata. Ujjain. Pune.TRANSPORT ‡ Varanasi is well connected by air. Mumbai. It is located at a distance of 1840 km from Secunderabad. Patna. Ahmedabad. Gwalior. Chennai. Indore.

Bangalore. Jet Airways. New building catering to both domestic and international passengers is coming up on 150 acres of land adjacent to the airport. Mumbai. Thai Airways International. ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ . The new integrated terminal is under construction.50 lakh passengers per year.000 passengers and will have parking facilities for 500 cars. The Airport handled more than 3.Spicejet. Delhi. Khajuraho. Mihin Lanka.AIRPORT ‡ The Babatpur Airport (Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport) is located about 25 km from the city center and is well connected to Chennai. and passenger amenities are insufficient. Indian Airlines. Colombo and Kat hmandu. and Alliance Air operate from here. Bangkok. Kolkata. All the major domestic Indian carriers including Air India. Kingfisher Airlines. The current terminal building can handle only about 200 domestic passengers at any given time. The new airport will be able to handle 1.

the largest station serving the city. Varanasi Junction.RAILWAYS ‡ Varanasi Junction. the largest station serving the city . ‡ Apart from these there are 16 other railway stations located within the city limits. ‡ The first railway line to Benares was opened from Kolkata in December 1862 and was built by the East Indian Railway Company. ‡ Varanasi Junction under the control of Northern Railways and Mughal Sarai Junction of East Central Railway are the two major railway stations within the city limit.

the city was connected by a single road from Taxila going through Pataliputra during the Maurya Empire. This road was later renovated and extended by Sher Shah Suri during the 16th century and later came to be known as the famous Grand Trunk Road. ‡ The NH 2 linking Delhi-Kolkata passes through the city and NH 7 which is the longest National Highway in India connects Varanasi with the cities of Jabalpur. Hyderabad. Madurai an d Kanyakumari. Bangalore. Nagpur.ROADWAYS ‡ Previously. .

PUBLIC TRANSPORT ‡ Auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are the most widely available public transport within Varanasi. ‡ Small boats and small steamers are used to cross the River Ganga. . mini-buses are common. ‡ In outer regions of the city.

lamp shades and masks of Hindu and Buddhist deities are some of Varanasi's shopping attractions. Varanasi is a major tourist destination for foreign tourists in India. as well as more efficient housing for Western student researchers. ‡ The main shopping areas include the Chowk. exquisite saris. 4 and 5 star hotels like Taj Hotel. ‡ Varanasi is a noted centre for Banarasi silk weaving and brassware. jewellery. foreign. ‡ All sort of cuisines are available mostly as street food due to rich and hospitable culture of Varanasi. brassware. Lahurabir and Thatheri Bazaar. Radisson hotel. clarks hotel. carpets. long-term residents stay. ‡ Assi Ghat. Ramada hotel. woodcraft. Godaulia. Fine silks and brocaded fabrics. is the district where most young.TOURISM ‡ Due to its unique culture. Vishwanath Lane. Hindustan International are present in the city. wall hangings. . A number of 3. a midway point between Godaulia in the heart of downtown and youth culture of Benares Hindu University.

One of the bombs was planted in the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple. the main railway station in the city. bomb blasts from terrorists resulted in 28 people being killed and many injured. ‡ . The bomb was placed in the civil court of Varanasi. a shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Lashkare-Kahab.RECENT TERRORISM ‡ In March 2006. A militant group. claimed responsibility for the terror attacks. More than 20 people died and over 100 were injured. In November 2007 Varanasi endured another bomb blast. while another was planted on a platform of the Varanasi Cantonment Railway Station.