One of the most important pilgrimage places in India for the Hinds, since ages, has been Varanasi. It is also famous for being the world’s oldest surviving city. The famous traveller and author once wrote lines on Varanasi which reflect its history. “Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together” The Hindus firmly say that if you happen to breathe your last in Varanasi, you will definitely achieve salvation and go to heaven. It is also the home of Lord Shiva and his wife, who lived here for many years. Although how exactly the city came to being still does not have strong grounds, it history of civilization has been recorded. People visit Varanasi to get all their sins washed away. Hotel Varanasi is also flocked with devotees.
The holy river Ganges is said to start from the tresses of Parvati and Shiva in Varanasi. This is now the very holy and huge river that we know of. Varanasi is a centre of art and earning and the history civilization for has been for over 3000 years. With the ancient Sarnath, the spot where Lord Buddha preached his first sermon post the enlightenment, only 15 km away, the city has been a sign of Hindu renaissance. Indian arts and crafts, devotion to God, culture, philosophy, and knowledge have all flourished here for ages. Also, a holy city for Jains, it is said to be the birth city of Parsvanath, Tirthankar twenty third.
For over a decade, Vaishnavism and Shaivism co-lived in the city with harmony. With such a large number of temples (the most in any city), Mrs. Annie Besant selected it as the turf for her ‘famous Theosophical Society’ where Pandit Madan Malviya, chose Varanasi to start the ‘Benares Hindu University, Asia’s largest university. Ayurveda also has said to have originated in Varanasi and they say it is the basis of medical sciences of today like the Plastic surgery and Calculus operations. The starter of Ayurveda and Yoga, Maharishi Patanjali, has connections with Varanasi, the spiritual capital of India. the city is also popular for its commerce and trade, especially for the Banarasisilks and silver and gold brocades, since early days.
The city also served as a big centre for learning since time immemorial. Varanasi is linked with promotion of mysticism, spiritualism, yoga, Sanskrit, and Hindi language and also it has honoured authors like the ever-popular novelist Tulsi Das and Prem Chand, the popular saint-poet who penned down the Ram Charit Manas.
Varanasi, called as the cultural capital of India, has provided the apt platform for various cultural activities to start. Many dance and music exponents have come here from Varanasi. The internationally renowned maestro of Sitar, Ravi Shankar and Ustad Bismillah Khan, are all children of this blessed city.
Varanasi, for reasons more than one, is a must visit destination. You can put up at the resort Varanasi for a luxurious stay in an ancient city.