Attractions in Varanasi
Ghats of Varanasi : The ghats of Varanasi are the prime attractions of this holy pilgrimage city. Regarded as sacred by Hindus, every ghat of Varanasi has a history attached to them. Some of these sacred ghats also find mention in our ancient scriptures. The most prominent is the Dashashwamedha ghat. Stretching up to a distance of 4 kms, many religious rituals are held in the ghats on a regular basis. The ghats of Varanasi are best viewed at dawn, as a steady stream of devotees perform various kinds of rituals and earthen lamps are immersed in the waters.
Durga Temple :The Durga temple of Varanasi is also held in high reverence by Hindus. In this temple, Goddess Durga is worshipped as an embodiment of shakti or female power, clad in red and riding a tiger. The deity is shown in an angry posture armed with a trident, discus and sword. The earlier ritual of animal sacrifice in the temple has now been replaced by a symbolic mark in vermilion.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple :Also known as the ‘Golden Temple’, this temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva as Vishveswara (Vishwanath), Lord of the Universe. In 17th century, Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb destroyed the original temple and constructed a mosque over it. Even today, you will find traces of the old temple behind the mosque. Vishwanath Temple was rebuilt by Rani Ahalyabai Holkar of Indore in the year 1776. This temple is called the ‘Golden Temple’ because of the gold plating on the towers (shikharas) provided by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore in 1835.As you enter inside the temple, you come across the image of Lord Vishnu, who is worshipped alongwith Vishwanath. You will see the linga of Lord Vishwanath on a golden altar, apart from this there are several other shrines in the temple complex. Behind the temple complex is the ‘well of knowledge’, known as Gyan Kupor. Near the temple are narrow streets dotted with large number of big and small shops.Non-Hindus (non-believers) are not allowed into the temple complex, they can look inside the temple through a hole in the wall or one can see the roof of the temple from the roof of the Trimurti Guest House.
Bharat Mata Temple:The Bharat Mata Temple is a relatively new building in this ancient city. Inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936, the temple houses one of the perfect relief maps of India carved out of marble. The temple was actually gifted by nationalists Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta and Durga Prasad Khatri. Instead of worshipping any religious deity, the temple is dedicated to motherland India.
Bharat Kala Bhawan:Established in the year 1950, Bharat Kala Bhawan is famous for its impressive collection of miniature paintings. The wide collection of the place includes Rajasthani paintings, pahari paintings, Nepalese & Tibetan Thankas, company paintings and also paintings of many contemporary artists. The museum has also preserved many ancient scriptures. The museum offers a nice break from the religious places of Varanasi.