Sacred Varanasi Ghat
Recently, I along with my parents visited Varanasi to explore the beauty of this holy city in Uttar Pradesh
As we planned to visit Varanasi, I never expected that this trip would be so interesting. I must confess that Varanasi stunned me with all its old world charm and divine ambiance. Since my childhood, I have heard several stories about Varanasi's religious aspect which had generated curiosity in me. Before stepping into this pious land, my mind was filled with several questions related to mysticism of Varanasi but gradually all my unanswered questions started to solve easily.
If we believe the words of Mark Twain, Varanasi is famed as the oldest living city in the world. Once this great author quoted that "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together". So, to unveil the hidden charm of Varanasi, I and parents made a sightseeing trip of the place.
Varanasi is located on the banks of mighty river, Ganges and houses several shrines within its territory. Some of the most famous holy shrines of the city that we visited were Kashi Vishwanath Mandir, Durga Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple and Bharat Mata Temple. Among all these temples, Kashi Vishwanath Mandir is the most popular one and enshrines the Jyotirlinga of Shiva. History reveals that this temple had been destroyed twice by invaders but still it is standing tall with all its grace.
Another most charming aspect of Varanasi is its long line up of Ghats alongside the river, which looks awesome at dawn. When the first ray of rising sun touches the stairs of these Ghats, they come alive. And to explore the real Banaras, we hired a boat and sailed on Ganges river. During my boat ride, I had seen several sadhus and pilgrims taking their ritual bath and performing puja to rising sun.
The boatman informed us that among all the Ghats of Benaras, Dashashwamedha and Manikarnika ghats have special significance. Manikarnika Ghat symbolizes the creation and destruction( it is famed as the main cremation ghat of Varanasi) whereas Dashashwamedha Ghat is famous for its evening 'aarti'. So, in the evening we participated in the aarti ceremony and believe me, the feeling was marvelous! I even captured some beautiful photos of the aarti.
While wandering through the narrow lanes of Varanasi, I came across several aging persons who were engaged in chanting of mantra. What the local priest told me about it was simply amazing. He revealed that followers of Hindu religion believe that one who dies in Varanasi is sure to attain salvation and freedom from the cycle of birth and re-birth. Such is the sacredness of the place! After knowing this, now I can understand why Varanasi is known as 'Gateway to Salvation'.
After acquainting ourselves with the religious significance of the city, we set out to explore its other attractions like Ramgarh fort and Banaras Hindu University. Ramgarh Fort is famous for its collection of vintage cars.
We had thoroughly enjoyed our trip and looking forward to visit Varanasi one more time.
| By - Ankur Sharma
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