Sprawling along the banks of the holy river Ganges, Varanasi is a revered shrine founded by the God himself. Varanasi, the abode of Lord Shiva, has its own spiritual rhythm. The former name of this city “Kashi” signifies that Varanasi is the land of spiritual luminescence. It is believed that bathing in the River Ganges purifies your soul. The morning mantra hymns and divine atmosphere of Varanasi will leave you enchanted. Arriving to this pious land is equal to visiting another universe. The religious atmosphere of this sacred land attracts the visitors across the globe to breathe in this magical environment. The best time to visit the land of Shiva is around the year but the charm of Saawan month is something that leaves you spellbound. Saawan is the month dedicated to Lord Shiva. Being the land of Lord Shiva, the divinity of this city during this holy month will mesmerize you. As you arrive in the land of Kashi, you will be completely devoted in its ambience. Devotees from all over the country come to offer their prayer and receive blessings in the popular Kashi Vishwanath temple.
Sawan is also the month to welcome the first shower of rain which is synonymous with this auspicious festival. In the month of Sawan, Monday is celebrated as “Sawan Somwaar”, when the devotees offer a holy bath of water, milk, honey, and ghee to Shiva Linga and seeks blessing. This pious month also signifies greenery. Are you planning to experience the divinity of Saawan in Varanasi and get yourself colored in the vibes of this greenery? Though there’re multiple mode of transportation to Varanasi, train journey is considered as the most comfortable and fun loving journey which creates memory for lifetime. It offers you to please your eyes by admiring the unexpected scenic wonders. During the course of journey, you can add special flavors by ordering food online in train and enjoy the journey.
Explore the Abode of Lord Shiva
Before visiting the place, one should have a complete idea about the city like where to stay, where to visit, and about the cultural life. Here’s the complete guide which will help out the visitors to explore the city.
How to Reach Varanasi
Varanasi, being “The Spiritual Capital of India”, is flooded with devotees who visit the place with immense enthusiasm. The crowd of the city is devoted to Lord Shiva. It is easy to reach the home of God as it is a city well-connected to all the main cities and towns of India via Railways. There are many trains that directly link the city. Varanasi has three railway stations: Varanasi Junction; Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhaya Junction, which is about 8 kilometers from Varanasi; and Manduadih Railway Station, about 4 kilometers from Varanasi. One can easily book tickets in trains to reach this auspicious destination. Check PNR status online in case your ticket is not confirmed.
Popular Temples to offer Prayer in Varanasi
Crowded with the devotees of Lord Shiva, the atmosphere of the temples of Varanasi greets you to feel its spiritual fragrance. These city of Hindu temples invite you to offer prayer. There are numerous temples in Varanasi where you can visit during your trip.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Kashi Vishwanath temple located in the heart of the city is a core of faith for millions of Hindus. As per the Shaivya philosophy, it is considered that this temple is the center of worship since ages. The presiding Jyotirilinga of Lord Shiva inside the temple is considered as the 12th of all the Jyotirilinga in the country. Being one of the most famous temples of Varanasi, it receives one lakh devotees in the month of Sawan and Shivratri. The temple is embellished with intricate carvings that impart a divine feeling. Inside the campus, there are several other small temples such as Kaalbhairav, Vishnu, Virupaksh Gauri, Vinayaka, and Avimukteshwara. In the month of Saawan, the temple faces a huge number of devotees to get blessings from the deity.
Aarti Timings in the Temple:
- Mangala Aarti: 3 AM – 4 AM
- Bhoga Aarti: 11.15 AM – 12.20 PM
- Sandhya Aarti: 7.00 PM – 8.15 PM
- Shringara Aarti: 9.00 PM – 10.15 PM
- Shayana Aarti: 10.30 PM – 11.00 PM
The Kanvariya Ganga Bath in Kashi Vishwanath
One of the religious beliefs states that Varanasi/Kashi is the place to purify the soul by taking a holy dip in the Ganga. During the month of Saawan, the Kanvariyas (Devotees with an attire of Yellow/Saffron color dress carrying holy water in earthen pots) visit the sanctum to attend the divine Aarti and offer holy water (the water of river Ganga) to the Shiv Lingam in the temple. These devotees carry the water and walk all their way round to reach the temple from different cities and towns.
Annapurna Devi Temple is located quite close to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple where Maa Parvati is worshiped as the provider of food and nourishment. Visitors come here in hoards and donate freely. Opening time: 4:00 am to 11:30 am and 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
Ghats of Kashi: The Divine Landmark of City
Visiting the ghats of Varanasi gives you the pulse of this beautiful city. People from all over the country come to enjoy the divinity of the river. Youth cherish their evening at this legacy of Varanasi and enjoy the evening Ganga Aarti.
It is one of the most auspicious Ghats of Varanasi. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is very close to the Dashashwamedh Ghat. It is believed that this is the place where Lord Brahma performed a Yanga where he sacrificed ten horses. Gang Aarti of this Ghat never fails to attract the crowd. You will find people spilling over on boats to be the part of this grand ceremony.
Located in the southernmost part of Varanasi, the site has an interesting legend attached to it. This peaceful site of Varanasi draws attention of the people to witness its grand Arti of river Ganga. Assi Ghat is considered as holiest water for a dip.
However, there’re many ghats in the city to visit. In the pious month of Saawan these sacred ghats are considered the holiest one and also popular globally. A visit to the Kashi Vishwanath and ghats of Varanasi is a must.
Hotels in Varanasi for a Comfy Stay
When you reach the city, the first thing which you will look for is the place to stay. Being a renowned tourist destination, the hotels of Varanasi welcomes you for a relaxing stay. Here’s the list of top three hotels to make you feel a comfortable stay. feel like home.
BrijRama Palace, a heritage hotel of Varanasi is an ideal destination for a relaxing stay. This 18th century hotel is one of the prestigious heritages. The hotel offers two dining options and a rooftop terrace. The hotel rooms are equipped with air-conditioned and flat TV screen to refresh your mind. This esteemed property of Varanasi serves a selection of international delights. Kamalya is the indoor cafe that offers a variety of beverages and snacks. There’re other luxurious amenities you can experience in this hotel.
Rivatas By Ideal
The hotel is located in the mall road; cantonment area of Varanasi which greets you to experience its luxury. This couple-friendly hotel of Varanasi has stunning interior to cherish your evening. The hotel offers all suitable amenities like AC, Flat screen TV to entertain, comfortable bed and variety of multi cuisine dishes to satiate your craving.
Taj Nadesar Palace
The hotel invites you to experience the royal lifestyle. Over the years, celebrities and high profile personalities had stayed in this hotel. The traditional furnishing and classic ambience of the hotel attract the tourists to feel its luxury. It offers excellent service that comes with all the important amenities and regards.
Apart from these hotels, there’re many lodge available on a sharing basis where devotees can rest after their worship.
Street Food Flavor of Varanasi
Your trip to the Land of Shiva is incomplete without tasting the street flavors of Varanasi. Varanasi is the city which is popular to provide you with its distinct flavors. The food of Varanasi is influenced by the taste of its neighboring cities Bihar and West Bengal. Food is the quintessential part of Varanasi tradition where it serves from heart. Here are some popular places that serve a unique taste of Varanasi.
Ram Bhandar ki Kachori Sabzi
It is the most popular breakfast dish in Varanasi to start your day. It serves different type of kachoris. Badi Kachodi is stuffed with spicy mixture while Chhoti Kachori is stuffed with mashed potato. These flavorful kachoris are served with aromatic potato curry. (Location: Ram Bhandar, Thatheri Bazaar, Kachori Gali)
This popular street dessert of Varanasi is influenced by Persian cuisine prepared by churning the milk slowly to create a creamy texture. The milk foam is flavored with saffron and cardamoms. It is garnished with almond on top. This extraordinary light flavor of Varanasi is served in Purva and Kulhads. (Location: Neelkanth and Kachori Gali)
Apart from all these you can explore the small lanes of Banaras popular as “Banaras ki Gali”. You will find a unique lifestyle of people living those lanes. There are numerous shopping destinations to take some memories back with you. If you’re in the city do not miss to walk around the BHU campus. Being one of the most prestigious Central Universities of India, it offers you an opportunity to explore its vast campus and to know about the educational heritage of India.
It is true that everything in Varanasi is extreme: the crowds, traffic, dust, and noise, but this is the uniqueness of this land that always attracts you to feel the colorful vibes of this city. The dawn starts to cast a reddish hue on the mirror-like surface of the Ganges. The city is always ready to give you a warm welcome.