Significance of Varanasi and it’s History
Varanasi is an ancient city on the banks of the River Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India.
It is one of the most sacred sites in India because it is believed to have been the home of Lord Shiva. Some Hindus believe that the River Ganges pays its respects to Lord Shiva by the direction in which it flows. Usually, the river flows from the north to the south, but at Varanasi it flows from the south to the north.
Millions of pilgrims visit Varanasi in order to purify themselves by bathing in the River Ganges at sunrise.
Some Hindus believe that if they die at Varanasi, they might be able to attain moksha sooner. Because of this, some Hindus go there when they are close to death in order to die there. Others have their ashes scattered there by relatives. A feature of the landscape at Varanasi is the cremation ghats that line the banks of the Ganges.
The processions that take the dead bodies to the ghats may be joyful, even accompanied by singing and dancing, because of the belief in reincarnation and the possibility of moksha of the person who has died.
There are many different funeral rituals, but often the body is dipped into the Ganges and covered with ghee, then wrapped in cotton before being cremated in the open on a funeral pyre. The ashes are then scattered in the River Ganges.
Varanasi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It was one of the first major urban settlements in the middle Ganges valley. By the 2nd millennium BCE Varanasi was a seat of Vedic religion and philosophy and was also a commercial and industrial centre famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture.
It was the capital of the kingdom of Kashi during the time of the Buddha (6th century BCE), who gave his first sermon nearby at Sarnath. Varanasi remained a centre of religious, educational, and artistic activities as attested by the celebrated Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang, who visited it about 635 CE and said that the city extended for about 3 miles (5 km) along the western bank of the Ganges.
Varanasi subsequently declined during three centuries of Muslim occupation, beginning in 1194. Many of the city’s Hindu temples were destroyed during the period of Muslim rule, and learned scholars fled to other parts of the country.
The Mughal emperor Akbar in the 16th century brought some relief to the city’s religious and cultural activities. There was another setback during the reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the late 17th century, but later the Marathas sponsored a new revival. Varanasi became an independent kingdom in the 18th century, and under the subsequent British rule it remained a commercial and religious centre.
In 1910 the British made Varanasi a new Indian state, with Ramnagar (on the opposite bank) as headquarters but with no jurisdiction over the city of Varanasi. In 1947, after Indian independence, the Varanasi state became part of the state of Uttar Pradesh.
How to Reach Varanasi?
Varanasi, also known as Banaras or Kashi, is a prominent cultural location. The city attracts a massive number of visitors from different parts of India and foreign every year. Varanasi becomes a crucial religious hub, especially during Dev Diwali as devotees gather in large number to celebrate the festival. The hotels in Varanasi are booked in advanced during the season. Varanasi is well connected by Rail, Road and Air and travelling to the city is easily facilitated.
The Varanasi Airport or Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport is located just 18 km away from the central city and is well connected with major Indian cities. IndiGo, Air India, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and Vistara are the domestic airlines operating in the city.
Varanasi is also connected by rails. The city has two major railway stations, the Varanasi Junction or the Varanasi Cantt and Kashi Railway Station. These stations are well linked with major Indian cities via rail network.
Varanasi has excellent connectivity by road with cities like Lucknow, Patna, Gorakhpur, Allahabad, and Ranchi. The city is well-linked to other cities via well maintained National Highway 2, 7, 29 and 56. The excellent road conditions make it an ideal choice for the traveller to travel the city via buses. Several Uttar Pradesh State Buses and private bus services frequently ply in and out of Varanasi. Furthermore, you can directly book them on redBus.The buses are comfortable, air-conditioned at a reasonable cost, making them an ideal choice for the journey. Buses often run from Allahabad (120 km), Patna (215 km), Gorakhpur (165 km), Lucknow (270 km), and Ranchi (325 km).
If you’re looking to travel to Dev Diwali venues and worried about safe travel, you can choose the Primo service launched by redBus. Primo is where passengers can enjoy travelling in high-rated buses with best-in-class services. While looking for bus tickets on a desired route, customers can check Primo tag in order to choose this wonderful service. From hygiene standards to on-time service and comfort, there are many benefits that passengers can get from Primo buses.