Places of Interest
The city's life revolves around its seven km long sweep of about 100 bathing ghats that skirt the west bank of the Ganges. Most of them are used for bathing. Some are used for cremating bodies.
Assi Ghat an important ghat of Varanasi traditionally constitutes the southern end of conventional city. Numerous References about this ghat are found in early literature Particulalry in matsypurana, again purana, kurma purana, padma purana and kashi khanda. According to a belief goddess Durga after slaining demon Shumbha- Nishumbha had thrown her sword. The place, where sword (Khadga) had fallen resulted in flowing of big stream known as asi river. The on confuewce place of river Ganga and Asi known as Asi or Assi ghat. In Kashi Khand it is referred as Asi "Saimbeda Tirtha" one gets punaya of all the Tirthas ( religious places) by taking a dip here. Infact this ghats was extended from Assi to Bhaidaini ghata ealier . In Gaharwal Danpatra(11th 12th cent.) reference of Lolark ghat is given As famous Aditya Pitha (place of sun worksing).During 16th , 17th Cent. .A.D.Sant Tulasi Das has written Ramcharitmanas here, After 19th Cent.A.D.Asi Ghat was divided in five Ghats i.e.Asi, Gangamahal (First) Rewan, Tulasi and Bhadaini. Followers of Hindu relegions , take sacred dip here, particularly in Chaitya (March/ April) and Magh (Jan/Feb.). Other important occasion are soler/ lumar eclipse, Ganga Dashahra. Probodhoni Ekadashi, Makar Shankranti, etc.
Ganga Mahal Ghat(I)
Ganga Mahal Ghat is named after a palation building of ex. Maharaja of Banaras to wards the northern end of Asi ghat. Infact Ghat has a little cultural significance except the Beautiful carvings depiction the Rajput and local architectural grandeur of 16th cent. A.D. However the palace was built in the first half of 20th cent. A.D.
Rewan Ghat is an extended part of Assi Ghat and its building was constructed by Lala Mishir, royal purohit of King Ranjit Singh of Punjab. It was know as Lala Mishir Ghat. But in 1879 it was purchased by Maharaja Rewan. To save from Currents of Ganga, Ghat has pucca stairs and both the corners of stairs have 'Ast pahal' (a type of construction). In the later half of 20th cent. Maharaja Rewan had donated . This building to Banaras Hindu University. There is very little signifcance of cultural and social activity here.
It is named affter the great poet Tulsi (1547-1622 A.D.) who wrote Ramcharitmanas. Earlier it was know as Lolark ghat as evident in Gaharwa Danpatra and Girvanapadamanjari (17cent.A.D.). Letter in 1941 Baldeo Das Birala Made this Ghat pucca. This Ghat is associated With a number of important activities such as bath of Lolarkkunda (to get sons and their long life), bath to get rid of leprosy, During Hindu lunar month of Kartika(Oct./Nov.) Krishna lila is also performed here with great conventional Rites, Music concerts, Wrestling, and spiritual discourses are regular features here.
The earliest reference of this Ghat is given by Greves(1909). It has a huge pumping set of waterworks which supply water to whole city. This ghat has standing wall constructed by brick and stone. Bathing or religious activities are not performed here.
In 1870 A.D. Maharani Kunwar of Sursand(Bihar) made this Ghat. Earlier it was know as "Nagamber ghat". After picca Constructions it is know as Janaki ghat. It has a little Religious important but people bath since it is safe and Clean.
Mata Anandami Ghat
Earlier it was know as 'lmalia Ghat' in 1944 Mata Anandamai purchased this area from British. She made this ghat pucca in addition to run a Ashrama. This Ashrama is involved in performing a number of religious activities here.
It is made pucca by a 'merchant named Vaccharaja during later half of 18th cent. It is believed that seventh Jain Firthankar of Suparshvanatha was born nearby. At present most of Jain families live here. Upgoing stairs from Ganga river bank to street have three niches consist of Siva, Ganesh and beautiful ganga image riding on her vehicle crocodile. Occasional cultural programmes, bhajan and kirtans are organised here. It is a comfortable ghat for local people to take bath and do exercise.
Before 1931 Jain ghat was the part of Vaccharaja ghat. Later Jain community made a pucca ghat and named it as Jain ghat. On the southern end Jain communities take bath and perform their regular activities, but on the northern end Mallaha (boatman) families are living giving it a different look.
Earlier it was a part of Prabhu Ghat till first half 20th cent. Now a large number of boatmen with their small boat & nets can be seen hear. Ghat has one Nishad raj Temple which in fact was constructed by boatmen families only a few year back.
This Ghat was made in the early part of 20th cent by Nirmal Kumar of Bangal. Most of boatmen families are living here. Normally washermen washes clothes here. Ghat has very little social cultural significance.
On the northern end of Prabhu ghat a palatial building and a ghat was constructed by King of Panchakola (Bengal) in the later half of 19th cent. A.D. A series of thin stairs from ghat lead to palatial building where two temples are situated. Ghat is pucca but the place is of lesser importance.
Cheta Singh Ghat
It is a historical fortified ghat. The place has witnessed a fierce battle between the troops of Warren Hastings and Chet Singh in 1781. A.d/ The fort and ghat has been taken from British by Maharaja Prabhu Narayan Singh in the later half of 19th cent. Originally this Ghat was know at 'Khirki Ghat; Now it has four parts known as Cheta Singh, Niranjani, Nirrvani and Shivala. Ghat has three Shiva Temple belonging to 18th cent. Till first half 20th cent. It was culturally quit important. The famous Budhwa Mangal festival which was celebrated for seven days had been organised here. Due to sharp current of Ganga people avoid bathing here. This Ghat has been rejuvenated by state govt. in 1958.
This Ghat belongs Naga Saints who established 'Niranjani Akhara' in 1897. Originally it was a part of Cheta Singh Ghat. Now there are four temples consisting of paduka (footprints) of Niranjani Maharaj Durga Gauri Shankar and ganga images. The people do not take bath here owing to lesser religions importance. The ghatabhere rejoined in 1948 by state Govt.
It is situated on north end of Nirvani Ghat. It is named after Mahanirvani sect of Naga Saints . the famous Akhara is situated here. It has four small Shiva Temple made by Nepal's Maharaja. It is legendary that Acharya Kapil Muni of Sankhya philosophy fame lived here during 7th cent.A.D. Near Mahanirvani Akhara Mother Teresa's Home is situated.
It has been important ghat in early times. In mid nineteenth cent. It was separated into some small Ghat. At present one witnesses a colossal building constructed by Nepal King Sanjay Vikram Shah (19th cent ,A Shiva Temple and one Brahmendra Math established by Kashiraj. There is no significant cultural activities here. Only some of pilgrims and local inhabitants take bath.
This Ghat was named after a huge Gular tree which is not here at present. It was constructed Pucca by Laloo Ji Agrawal. This Ghat has a very little significance Debries of old houses are scattered On top of stairs.
It is referred by Sherring (1968). It was made pucca by Lalooji Agrawal. This ghat is predominated by the Dandi ascetics carrying stick in their hand. This ghat is quit clean and worth taking bath.
It is believed that grat saint Tulsidas has established a Hanuman Temple here during 18th cent. A.D. which made is famous as Hanuman ghat. The ancient name of this ghata was Ramesvaram ghat which was established by lord Ram himself. At present it is inside boundary of Juna Akhara. Many vairagi ascetics live in the temples. The neighborhood is dominated by south indian residents.
Prachina (Old) Hanumanana Ghat
Both of the above (nos.19,20) ghat are made pucca y mahant Hariharanath in c.1825. This Ghat had affinity with a great bhakti saint Valabha (C.E.1479-1531), who laid the philosophical Foundations for a great resurgence of Krishna bhakti (Eck 1882: 223). His birth day is celebrated Here on 11th dark-half of aisakha (April-May). The temple of Rama consists of five Siva Lingams named after Rama ( Ramesvara), his two brothers (Laksmansevara and Bharatsvarar), His wife (Sitesvara) and his monkey- servant (Hanumadisvara).
This ghat was build by the state of Mysore (now know as Karnataka) in early twentieth century (c.1910). There lies a site are shrine. There also is a shrine of Ruru (" the Dog") Bhairava, one of the 8th Bhairavas protecting the city from 8th directions .
Harish Chandra Ghat
This ghat is name after a mythological King Harish Chandra, who once worked the cremation ground here for the preservance of truth and charity but at the end the Gods rewarded him and restored his lost thorn and his dead son to him. This is one of the two cremation ghat, and some times referred as Adi Manikarnika (" the original creation ground", cf.KKm 2.225-26), still there exists Adi Manikarnika Tirtha. In 1986-87 an electric crematorium is opened here, how ever side - by - side funeral of wood - fire is continuing . This also the seat of old Harampapa water - tirtha. At the top in the temples there are images of Harischandrsvara, Rohitesvara, Adi Manikarnikesvara & Vrddha Kedara. In c. 1740 Narayana Diksit, a religious guru of pesavas renovated this ghat and made this partly pucca.
In c. 1778 this ghat was built pucca by Raja of Banaras. At the upper side there are temple of Lambodara Cintamani and Jyestha Vinaykas, Kiratesvara, Jayanta Siva Lingam and Maha Laksmi. The vicinity is dominated by washermen.
This was made pucca in c. 1890 by the Vijayanagaram State of South India. At the top of it is Svami Karapatri Asrama. Close by to this building are the shrines of Nilakantha (1) and Nispapesvara.
This ghat is meticulously eulogized in the KKh ( 77.8-10,47-54:also KKm). This is the site of Haramapapa Tirtha. At the top exists the temple of Kedaresvara, the patron deity of the southern sacred segment. The attached shrines and sacred sites are: Tarakesvara, Gauri Kunda and Vitanka Nrsimha. In late Sixteenth century Kumarasvami, a devotee of Dattatreya made a monastery attached to the Kedaresvara, temple. According to a Gahadavala inscription ( c.C.E.1100). Svapnesvara Ghat wad existing close by this ghat, but now it has no representation.
This ghat is famous for the huge pipala (Ficus religiosa) tree at the top of the Steps which shelters a great array of stone figures of snakes, nagas. Havell (1905 : 118-119) described this Ghat: "under a fine old pipala-tree, there is a small shrine and a great number of old carved stones, some of Snakes, twined together like Mercuty's caduceus, with some fine figure sculptures let into the upright face of the platform which surrounds the tree are probably reclis of the early Buddhist period". Closeby to this tree is the shrine of Rukmangesvara, and at some distance lies Naga Kupa ("Snake Well"). On the occasion of festival honouring snake, Naga Pancami, falling on the 5th light helf of Sravana (July -August), these shrines are especially worshipped. This ghat was built in c. 1790.
Ksemesvara / Somesvara Ghat
Its old name was Nala Ghat, and was built in early eighteenth century. The followers of Kumarasvami made a monastery in 1962 at the upper - side of the steps. The shrines of Kesemesvara and Ksemaka Gana are at the top portion of the steps. The neighborhood is dominated by Bengali residents.
At the top of this ghat there is a secred pond, in replicated from representing the famous sacred lake of the same name lying in Tibet. This ghat was built by Raja Mana Singh of Jaipur in c. 1585, and was rebuilt in c. 1805. The shrines of Rama, Laksamana, and Dattatreya are in the vicinity.
The old name of this ghat is Kuvai Ghat. This was constructed by Dattatreya Svami, a monastery chief, in c. 1788. The four important images in the upper- side are Naradesvara, Atrisvara, Vasukisvara and Dattatreyesvara.
Formerly known as Amrita Rao Ghat, this was firstly made by the first Maratha chief Gajirao Balaji in c.1720. This was rebuilt with stone slabs by Amrita Rao Pesac\va during 1780 - 1807. At the top of lofty stone steps he established four temples of Amritesvara, Vinayakesvara, Nayanesvara and Gangesvara and four auxiliary shrines, and also renovated the Prabhasa Tritha in 1780.
Also known as Ganga Mahala Ghat, this was made pucca in late nineteenth century by Kavindra Narayana Singh. At the top a compound of five temples presents a magnificent view.
In c. 1805 this ghat was built in honour of a famous wrestler who established a wresting site (Akhara) there: his name was Babua Pande. The shrine of Somesvara exists closeby to it. In its vicinity lies the old site of Prabhasa Tirtha, but presently it is spatially transposed at Raja Ghat.
Of course, this site had reference in a very early seventeenth century digest, however the overall ghat was erected under the patronage of Mathura Pandey in late eighteenth century. The Ganga Kesava. Tirtha and Servesvara image are near the Ghat.
This was erected in c.1830 Raja of Digpatia (Bengal). The beautiful building along the ghat now known as "Kashi Ashram".
This ghat is described in the KKh (61.176-177) with respect to yogini Tirtha and Agatsya Tirtha. The number 64 (Causatha) is attributed to directional symbolism and also association between mother-goddesses and their assistant- goddesses, of course there are other interpretations too. This ghat had privilege to provide shelter to a great Sanskrit scholar, Madhusudana Sarsvati (c.e.1540-1623). Above the ghat there is temple of causatthi Devi, but only 60 images of yogonis are there, the rest four are at different places. In c. 1670 King of Udaipur (Rajasthan) renovated this ghat, and jater it became pucca On 12th dark-half of caitra (March-April) many pilgrims pay visit to the yogini temple and take ritual bath at this ghat. Another important occasion of attraction is the evening on the day of Holi-a colourful festival showing start of Caitra-1, when homage ritual is performed at the ghat.
Rana Mahala Ghat
In fact, this is a extended part of the preceding ghat, and also made by king of Udaipur in c.1670. At the top there is shrine of Vakratunda Vinayaka, one among the fifty-six.
Together with magnifivent building along the ghat and a grand Siva temple in Nilakantha area, the king of Darabhanga (Bihar) made them in 1915. The building along the ghat shows a massive Greek pillars style. The shrine of Kukutesvara lies at the top.
The ghat was built by Sridhara Narayana Munsi a finance minister in the State of Darabhanga, in 1912 as an extended pare of Darabhanga Ghat. After his death in 1924 this portion ghat named in his honour.
At the place of an old site of Kevelyagiri Ghat, in c. 1778 queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore made this a pucca ghat. For the first time name of a person was added after the ghat. She was also responsible for re-building the Visvesvara temle, as exists at present, in 1777.
In c. 1740 pt. Narayana Diksit the preceptor of Bajirao Pesava-1, made this ghat pucca. In fact, this is the southern extension of Dasasvamedha Ghat, where exists Dasasvamedha Tirtha and images of Dasasvamedhesvara and Dasaharesvara. After the famous sitala temple there, this ghat is called after. On the 8th light- half of lunar months of Caitra, Vaisakha Jyestha and Asadha (march - July ) and Asvina (Sept -Oct. ) people celebrate the festival of Sitala Asthami ("8th day" ). The same fastivities also occur at (adi) Sitla Ghat in the north. Another important occasion at this Ghat is the special worship after the newly marriage, the couples and close family members come here for the Ganga worship ritual followed by rituals in the Sitala temple.
This is the most busiest and the ancient most referred ghat. According to the myth related to Divodasa, Lord Brahma (" the creator" in the Hind trinity gods) performed the ten-horses sacrifice (dasa-asvamedha) at this site. The historical sources infer that at this site the revivalist Hindu dynasty of the second century, the Bhara Siva Nagas had performed ten-horses sacrifice. The KKh (52.1-10:61.38) records many verses describing glory of this ghat. The temple of Sulatankesvara, Brahmesvara, Varahesvara, Abhaya Vinayaka, the Ganga ("goddess"), and Bandi Devi are closeby at the top of the ghat. These shrines are linked to several important pilgrimage journeys. The southern part of the ghat was made pucca in 1740 by Bajirao Pesava-1, and late in c.1774 by Ahilyabai Holkar of lndore.
This ghat (old Prayaga Tirtha) together with shrine of Prayagagesvara replicates the existence of Prayaga/ Allahabad in Varanasi. Prayaga, known as "Tirtharaja" (king of Tirthas), lies at the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and the invisible Sarasvati rivers. It is commonly believed that doing rituals and taking sacred bath here provide exactly the same religious merit as those at Prayaga (80 km away in the west). The merit of this ares is eulogized in the KKh (61.36-38). About the present condition, Eck (1982.228) remarks that "Today, however, the name Prayaga Ghat, while it is painted boldly on temple that sits between the two branches of Dasasvamedha, is not commonly used. And even the temple there is utterly defunct, used only by boatmen who store their gear in its sanctum". The temple and the ghat-area were reconstructed by queen of Digpatia state (West Bengal). For the whole month of Magha (Jan-Feb.) devotees, mostly, use to take bath at this site.
Rajendra Prasasa Ghat
In 1979 in memory and honour of the first president of India (1950-1962). Rajendra Prasad (1884-1963) this ghat was renamed, and made pucca by the Municipal Corporation of Varanasi. In fact, this ghat was northern extension of Dasasvamedha Ghat. And until late nineteenth century a stone statue of horse was at the ghat witnessing the "ten-horses sacrifices" performed by Bhara Siva Nagas in second century, that is how the old name "Ghoda Ghat" ("Horse Ghat"). It is believed that same horse image is shifted to Sankatmochana temple. The myth refers that servants of Bhara Siva Nagas taken bath here.
Mana Mandira Ghat
The old name of this ghat was Somesvara, but in c.e. 1585 when Raja Savai Mana Singh (of Amber) made his palace and ghat this is named after him. This ghat is "known primarily for the magnificent building with exquisite, ornately carved window carvings" (Eck 1982:228). On the top of the floor is a Hindu Observatory built by Savi Ji Singh-11 (1686-1743: the other places where he established such observatories are Jaipur, Delhi, Mathura and Ujjain. Under the direction of this astrologer-minister, Jagannatha, the king built this observation during the period of 1710-1737. There are four main astronomical instruments and renovation were made in 1850s and again in 1912 under the patronage of the King of jaipur. The closeby shrines at the top of the ghat are Somesvara, Dalabhesvara, Remesvara and Sthuladanta Vinayaka. In the river lies the Prabhasa Tirtha. On the occasion of Holi the festival of colour, falling on the last day of Phalguna (Feb.-Narch), people perform celebration at the Dalabhesvara shrine.
Tripura Bhairavi Ghat
This ghat is named after the Tripura Bhairavi Shrine, a female partner of Tripuresvara whose image also exists there. Another important shrine is of Varahi, one of the nine mother-goddesses. In late eighteenth century king of Banaras and pt. Mayananda Giri had patronize to make this ghat pucca.
This ghat represents two old sites of Jarasandhesvara and Vrdhaditya, which were converted by Mira Rustam Ali in 1735. Presently, in the name of these two shrines pilgrims throw flowers and raw-rice in the Ganga and remember them. The shrines and images in the vicinity are Vrdhaditya, Asa Vinayaka, Yajna Varahaand Visalaksi("The Wide-Eyed ", one of the 52 Sakti-pithas of goddesses.) another important site is Dharmakupa consisting of a sacred well surrounded by five temple, and also Divodasesvara lingam. The temple of Dharmesa is associated to the myth of Yama's (Lord of Death) power over the fate of the dead everywhere on the earth, except in Kashi. With the notion that due to entrance of low castes ("untouchables") the temple of Visvesvara/ Visvanatha became impure, Svami Karapatri-Ji, a very conservative Brahmin and a cult-chief, has established a " New Visva'natha Temple" in 1956 at top of the ghat. On the steps, under a pipala tree, the water- pouring ritual in honour of ancestors in performed.
Phuta/ Naya Ghat
This was and old site of Yajnesvara Ghat and was made pucca by Svami Mahesvarananda in mid nineteenth century. In the closeby stream lies the Visala Gaja Tittha.
Havell 1905:130) described this ghat: "where, recessed in the stone embankment, and completely covered by the river in the rainy season, is a pretty little shrine of Ganga, the Ganges, represented as a female figure seated on crocodile. Above it a stair- case leads to the Nepalese temple, a very picturesque building, half-hidden by magnificent tamarind and pippal trees. It is built chiefly of wood and brick; the double-storied roof, with great projecting eaves supported by brackets, is characteristic of the architecture of Nepal and of other sub-Himalayan districts". The great is patronized by a Nepalese, and was built pucca in c.1902 by Nanhi Babu. The area is dominated by Nepalese residents (Nepali Khapra).
This ghat is named after the famous goddess Lalita in Kasi and also in Prayaga. The well known lingam of Ganga Kesava and shrines of Gangatitya, Kasi Devi, Lalita Devi and Ghagirath Tirtha are affiliated to this site. People believe that a glimpse of Lalita Devi brings the same revard as circumambulating the entire world. At the top of the ghat, close to the Nepali Ghat, as described earlier, lies the Nepali Temple built in c. 1841 under the patronage of king of Nepal and assumed that the lingam there replicates the famous Pasupatisvara at Kathmandu. The temple has some wooden carving of the erotic scenes, and all the four gateways and doors are fully decorated with geomagnetic architectural frame.
Bauli/ Umaraogiri/ Amroha Ghat
The old name of this ghat was Raja Rajesvari Ghat and was made in early nineteenth century by a rich merchant, Babu Kesava Deva. In the nearby stream lies the Bramhanala tirtha.
Somehow in diverted from this ghat is also called as Jalasen Ghat. In fact and the followed one both are part of the cremation ghat. The name it self indicates "putting dead body into water" as part of ritual before putting the corpse on the funeral pyre. In the mid- nineteenth century the nearby building and the ghat were built.
The name of the ghat literally means "the windows" (Khirki) from where attendants can watch the cremation. Close to in 1940 Baldeo Dasa Birla has built a pilgrims rest house. Under a deserted pipal tree there are five Sati shrines. Presently both of the above ghats are defuntional and present a view of nuisancesmoke-scape and deathscape!
Two ancient sacred waterfront sites make this ghat, viz Sidha Vinayaka and Swargadvaresvara. Among the is popularly called as " the great cremation ground" (Mahasmasana). A myth mentions that Lord Siva gives Taraka mantra ( "Prayer of the crossing") in the ear of the dead, therefore the form of Siva as Tarakesvara, (the temple is at the ghat), is propitiated whenever a Hindu dies. The name Manikarnika derives its origin from the dropping rings of Siva dyring His transcendental dance here. The historical sources mention this site in the Gupta inscriptions of C.E.4th century. This is the first ghat made pucca by the two king brothers in C.E.1302; and was rebuilt and repaired in 1730 under the patronage of Bajirao Pesava, and in 1791 Ahilyabai Holkar rebuilt the entire ghat. Again in 1872 repairing and renovations were done. In the vicinity are shrines of Manikarnikesvara (a little far in the upper side of the lane), Mahesvara (open air lingam at the ghat) and Siddha and Manikarna Vinayakas. The temple of Manikarnikesvara is the approachable from the ghat by taking a steepy ascending lane south of the Kunda. "The lingam of this temple-set dramatically underground at the bottom of a deep shaft - could at one time be reached by a tunnel originating on the ghat". There also exists a sacred pond, Cakra- Puskarini Kunda ("Discus Lotus- Pool") and Visnu's feet impression Carana Paduka. According to puranic myth long before the Ganga arrived at the heels of Bhagiratha, the Cakra-Puskarini Kunda was present. Says the KKh(60.137-138) . For the benefit of the three world king Bhagiratha brought the Ganga to the place where Manikarnika is -to Shiva's Forest of Bliss ("Annandavana"), to Visnu's Lotus Pool (Chakra-Puskarni Kunda). Presently the Kunda surrounded by a cast-iron railing , is some (60 ft) at the top, narrowing to about (20ft) it) at the water's edge (Eck 1982: 239). Visnu and Laksmi images are located in the small shrine inside the Kunda on the western wall; while a series of dozen small niches containing Siva lingams also exit there. Along the sacred route, on the ghat itself, are the symbolically footprints of Visnu (Carana Paduka), set in a circular marble slab. For 7,000 years Visnu was said to have performed tapas on this spot, and through the centuries millions of Hindus have sprinkled it with the holy Ganga water and adorned it with flowers. A plate from Prinsep's which the subtitle calls "The holiest spot in the sacred City". The closeby place to this holy spot has been reserved for the cremation of a few selected, especially the Maharajas of Kasi (Eck 1982: 246 ). This ghat area has ancient reputation as a cremation ground; saya Lord Siva: Having become Time itself, I destroy the world here, O Goddess !" (Padma Purana 1.33.14). However, it is not clear when this site was fully accepted for cremation. Moreover, the NP(11.48.67), the MP (182.23b-24) and the KKh (30.84-85) describe its glory in terms of cremation and death rituals. The raised platform attached to the ghat is used for death anniversary rituals. Between Jalasayi and Manikarnika ghat in the stream lies fourteen watertrithas, among which important are Visnu, Bhavani, Skanda, Taraka, Avimuktesvara and Pasupati. Towering over Manikarnika ghat, there is a Siva -Durga temple of Raja of Amethy (Oudh; now Uttar Pradesh), built in c. 1850 which is distinct with its five deep- red spires and gilded pinnacles. Havell (1905: 169) describes. "It is built on a terrace overlooking the river, and is approached by one of those steep, staircased streets, leading from the ghats up into the city, which suggest a town of southern ltaly or Spain. Clambering up a side staircase, you pass under the Naubata Khana, where musicians are chanting praises of the goddess with strange but not unpleasing accompaniments. On the right side of the entrance is a fine bronze lion of Durga, and on the left Siva's bull. The quiet and cleanliness inside are a relief from the bustle, sloppiness, and dirt, and the somewhat sordid atmosphere of more popular Benares shrines".
Bajiriao Pesava built this ghat in c. 1735, that is how it is named after him, and also a palace. Havell ( 1905:138) has described the condition as: " Before the basement had been raised many feet, the tremendous weight of the massive masonry caused a landslip, which made the whole fabric topple over, so that the work had to be abandoned. The unfinished façade and the ghat steps still remain…". In fact the entire structure sunk several metres into the earth since its erection (Sherring 1868: 72). Later in 1830 queen Baijabai of Gwalior get it repaired and rebuilt ; she had also erected the colonnade around the Jananavapi well. In the up stream part there is a temple of Dattatreyesvara, so that this was referred as Dattatreya ghat. Presently this is assumed to be a patr of the Scindhia ghat.
Formerly it was known as Viresvara Ghat, after the temple of same name lying at the top. In 1780 Ahilabai Holker of Indore made the ghat pucca. In 1829 queen Baijabai had get it repaired and remodeled; and again in 1937 Daulatarao Scindhia made the entire ghat pucca. The shrines of Vsistha and Vamadeva, and Atmaviresvara are at the top. The Paravata tirtha lies in the close by Ganga river.
Its old name was Yameshvara Ghat after the name of the shrine. At the top in the lane lies temples of Yameshvara and harischandresvara which might be thought of the old cremation area; still at present on the ossasion of Yama Dvitiya devottees take sacred bath. In late 18th cent. king of Baroda made this ghat, but 1825 Beniram Pandit's widow, known as "Panditain", and nephews built this ghat pucca together with a building structure of the temple of Sanktha Devi. At the top of the ghat towards the city there shrines of Katyayini and Siddhesvari goddesses; three Vinayakas: Hariscandra, Cintamani and Mitra; and Vasukisvara. A new image of Santosi Mata (" Mother of Satisfaction") has recently also been built at the top. Between the Manikarnika and Scindhia Ghats there exist three water-tirthas, Viz, Uma, Sarasvata and Kamblasvetara.
Ganga Mahal Ghat (2)
This is a another ghat of the same name. This, in fact, is an old part of Yamesvara Ghat. King of Gwalior had built it in early 19th cent., and lather on repaired and rebuilt by Govinda Bali Kiratankara.
In c. 1780 Maratha king 'Bhonsala' of Nagpur made this ghat, and lather in 1795 this was a made pucca together with the establishment of the temple of Laksmi narayana and a place. Two important shrines near by to the palace are of Yamesvara and Yamaditya.
In Prinsep's map of 1822 this was named as Gularia Ghat and perhaps was made only a few years before. This was made pucca in c. 1960.
This was formerly known as Agnisvara Ghat after the Agni Tirthan in the stream. After passage of time after Pasava's Ganesa temple this is known by this name. Important shrines at the top are Bhadresvara and Nagesa Vinayaka. Another important water-tirtha in the stream is Iksavaku Tirtha. During 1761-1772 Madhorao Pesava made this ghat fully pucca and also done extensive repairing. In puranic description this ghat is referred as Vighnesvara Ghat. On 9th dark-half of Bhadrapada (Aug.-Sept.) a special celebration held here.
Formally this saw part of the preceding ghat, but after the construction of V.S.Mehta hospital (1962)this is known to the name of latter one. The Varanasi Municipal Corporation made this ghat pucca in 1960s. there are three water-tirth as along this ghat: Maitravaruna, Marutta and Iksavaku.
This ghat has association with the Rama Tirtha and the shrine of Vira Ramesvara. Two other closeby water-tirth as are Kala Ganga and Tamra Varaha. The famous Vedic school of its own kind, the Sanga Veda School, is situated closeby where on the occasion of Rama's birth on 9th light-half of Chitra(March-April) and Ganesa's birth on 4th dark-half of Bhadrapada(Aug.-sept.) special celebrations are performed. The temple of Rama and Badi-Narayana is also a notable shrine at the ghat.
Raja Gwalior Ghat
Both of these ghats and also Rama ghat were erected by the patronage of Madhorao Pesava in c. 1766. In fact, they are the two ends of the same ghat.
Mangala Gauri Ghat
This was built by Balaji Pasava-I in 1735, after whom this is also known as Bala Ghat. Later in c.1807 Lakmana Bala of Gwalior repaired and renovated this ghat. In a mid-seventeenth century it has a reference. At the top of the ghat in temple compound there are images of Gabhastisvara, Mangala Gauri and Mangala Vinayaka. Mangala ("Auspiciousness") Gauri is one among the nine motherly white Goddesses (cf.KKh 100.68-72.At the ghat there are shrines of typical covered structure of Raghavendresvara, and Carcika Devi.
This is the part of the Pancaganga Ghat and also known as Vindu Madhava Ghat after the name of the famous tenth century temple. This has been eulogized in the KKh (59.120-121; also 61.243-244). The Vindu Madhava temple which was in ruin since AD 1496 was rebuilt by Maharaja of Amber in 1585 together with a alace at mana Mandira Ghat (cf.motichand 1985;226). But in 1669 the temple was demolished by the order of Aurangazed and concerted into a mosque (still serves as landmark at this site). The image of Vindu has been re-established in the upper storey of Laksmanabala building and still it attracts a thousand of devotees and pilgrims for glimpse and worship.
This is one of the five water-front sacred most sites, and believed To be the meeting point of five drains,viz. The Ganga, the Yamuna, the Sarsvati the Kirana and the Dhupapapa, among which only the first one is visible and rest are vanished, or assumed in the form of manifestation. The merit and glory of this ghat are described in an eleventh century text and also in the KKh (59;116-144). This was the chief resort of a great teacher of Vadanta, Ramananda (CF 1299-1411) to whom Kabira (1398-1623) a great reformist bhakit poet, accepted as guru. Ramananda's monastery is still there. Tulsi (1547-1623) was initially living (c.1580s-1590s) at this ghat where he composed the famous writing, the Vindu-patrika ("The petition to Rama"), describing the glory of Vindu Madhava temple (VP 61-63,see allchin 1966;129-132, compare KKh 60,61). The ghat was made of stone steps in 1580 by Raghunatha Tandan (Todara Mala?), the finance secretary of the Mughal King Akbar. In c. 1735 Bajirao Pesava-I together with Sadasive Naik rebuilt and repaired it. Again in 1775 renovations and repairing were done by Sripatirao Pesava, and Pant Pririnidhi of Andha. There are eight water-front sacred tirthas at the ghat: Pippalada, Vindu Makha, Mayukharka, Jnanahrda and Pancanada. There are two monasteries at the ghat, viz. Sri and Ramannada. At the ghat, close to the riverfront, there are "the dozens of three-sided cubicle shrine rooms that open out into the river. Some contains a lingam or an image, such as the lanky bara and used primarily for yogic exercises and meditation". Sherring has vividly described this ghat: "The ghat is broad and deep,and exceedingly strong. Its stairs and turrets are all of stone, and from their great number, afford accommodation to a multitude of worshippers and bathers. The turrets are low and hollow, and are employed as temples and shrines. Each one contains several deities, which are, mostly, emblems of Siva. An ordinary observer would be in ignorance of the fact these are filled with idols, and would scarely imagine that he was walking upon the top of a long succession of shrines, and over the heads of hundreds of gods. He would have to descend several steps, before discovering the sacrilege which he was ignorantly committing; but having done so, he would at once perceive that the turrets are open towards the river, and are, therefore, very convenient for devotional purposes". The Ganga -arati (offering oil lamps) at the time of sun rise and sun set is the most attractive site and scene at this ghat, which is performed is honour of the Ganga. The shrine of the goddess Ganga is also here. During the month of Vaisakha (April-May)& Karttika (oct.-Nov.), devotees, mostly ladies,use to take sacred bath in the morning at this ghat special festivity and sacred bathing are performed here on the birthday of the Ganga,i.e. Vaisakha (Apr.-May), on the 7th light-half. In the month of Karttika(Oct.-Nov.) ritual of offering oil lamps to ancestors, arranged in the sky with the bamboo stands, is performed by the ghatiyas (ghat-triests) on behalf of the devotees who patronize the cost, or materials and rewards (in cash, or kinds, or both) for the service. There is a stone pillar with a thousand sockets stone made structure to hold the lamps lighted on the night of full moon in the month of Karttika.
The name derived its association with the Brahmacarini Durga temple. In 1772 Narayana Diksit, a guru of Pesavas, had purchased land from local resident fishermen and built two ghats: Durga and the succeeding one, Brahma Ghat. This was rebuilt and repaired in c. 1830 by Nana Phadanavisa, a Divana of Gwalior State, whose building at the top of the ghat is know as Phadanavisa Wada. At the ghat exist Marakandeya and Kharva Nrsimha Tirthas, and at the there is a shrine of Kharva Nrsimha. On the full-moon day of the month of Karttika youngmen make show fighting and mettle.
This is named after the temples of Brahma and Brahmesvara. The other notable tirtha and shrine are of Bhairava Tirtha and Vindu Madhava. At the ghat exists a monastery seat,viz. Kasi Matha Sansthana:Sudhindra Tirtha Svami.
Bundi Parakota Ghat
Formerly it was known as Raja Mandira Ghat. In c. 1580 king of Bundi, Raja Surajana Hada made this ghat; and it was made pucca in mid nineteenth century. In its vicinity at the top exists the shrines of Sesa Madhava, Karnadity and Laksmi Nrsimha.
This is an extended part of the preceding ghat, also made by Hada in c. 1580, but later in 1772 was repaired and rebuilt by narayana Diksit. This ghat is named after the old temple of Sitala, known as "Badi" (elder) sitala. The other goddess-shrines in the vicinity are of Nagesvari Devi ("Snake Goddess") and Narayani. Karanaditya Tirtha at the bank and Sankha Madhava are other sacred spots. There are there Sati stones of memory in the vicinity. Like that of the earlier Sitala Ghat, on every 8th light-half of the months of Caitra, Vaisakha, Jyestha and Asadha (March-July) festivities take place in honour of mother goddess.
This ghat was erected by a rich merchant in c. 1800 after whose name it is now known. As part of this ghat in 1935 Baldeo Das Birla has built a small ghat called as Gopi Givinda Ghat at the top of which exists a pilgrims'rest house made by him.
This was perhaps founded in late nineteenth century. It represents the famous site of Hanumanagadhi in Ayodhya (the birth palce of Rama). Hanumana is the monkey assistant to Lord Rama. The Ganga Akhara (wrestling site), and a Sati-stone are along ghat. The other shrines in the vicinity are Gopi Govinda and Gopreksevara.
This ghat records a reference in a 17th century txxt, the Grivana Manjari. In 12th cent. Varanasi this was considered to be the southern limit of the city; in the vicinity still exists the symbolic relic of that period, Patana Darvaja. At the ghat there is a huge image of a cow (gaya/gai), symbolizing the earth, that is how the ghat is known as Gaya Ghat. In early 19th cent. the ghat was made pucca by Balabai Sitole of Gwalior. At the top of the ghat, closeby there are four images : Bagesvari Devi, Nagesvari Devi("Snake Goddess"), Mukarnirmalika Devi("Pure-Faced Goddess") and Samhara Bhairava.
Badri Nayarana Ghat
This ghat was earlier known as Mahatha/Matha, or Balabai Ghat Balabai of Gwalior had patronize to make this ghat pucca in early 19th century. Later on the Municipal Corporation of Varanasi had get it repaired and renovated. The associated sacred shrines are nagesavara tirtha, Nagesvara, Nagesa Vinayaka and Nara-narayana Kesava. The last shrine is originally at Badrinatha, that it how the name of ghat derives: Badri (the site)and Narayana (the deity). On the occasion of full-moon day of pausa(dec.-jan.), a special festivity in honour of Visnu in the form of Nara-Narayana is celebrated. Also, on 3rd light-half of Vaisakha(Apr.-May) there takes a sacred bath ceremony.
The name derives after famous image of Shiva, Trilochana ("Three-Eyeed"), whose lingam is known as Trilocanesavara. The KKh (75.12., 18-10, 72-74) and other contemporary digests have composed many metres in glory of this ghat and its associated water tirtha, Pilapippala Tirtha. In the Gahadavala rule, c.C.E. 1100, this was a very famous site for sacred bath and rituala. The renovations and repairings were done by Narayana Dixsit in c. 1772. Later around 1795 Nathu Bala of Pune made the ghat pucca.
Since late 12th cent. this site was used as ferry point and was also known for a number of granaries(gold), from where the name Gola Ghat devired. However, after opening the bridge at Raja Ghat in 1887 the site had lost its importance. At this ghat there is a Puranic reference of Pisegila Tirtha, while at the top exits the shrine of Burgu Kesava (Visnu).
Nandesavara /Nandu Ghat
This ghat in early 20th cent. by the local neighbourhood residents. There appears an Akhara (wrestling site) of the same name.
It has reference to late 18th cent., and it has a reference of an old water-front sacred spot, Pranava Tirtha. Close to the ghat towards the top is HaridashanSavasrama Trust (Mukimgung). Most parts of the ghat are occupied by washermen.
It has reference to late 18th cent.; and known for an ancient sacred spot, Hiranyagarbha Tirtha. Legends say that the area was dominated by the oilpressing caste (Teli) settled along a small drain (nala) meeting here, that is how the name derived.
In medieval digests a sacred water-front site, Gopratara Tirtha, and an image of Gopratatesvara are referred at this ghat. During 18th century the ghat - area became deserted (Phuta), but later on it was renovated. This way the ghat was formerly known as phuta, and later as Naya. In 1940 Narsingh Jaipala Chainput-Bhabhua(Bihar) made this ghat pucca.
This is the named after Prahalada, a great mythological devottee of Lord Visnu. In 11th-12th cent. the Ghadavala inscriptions mentioned this ghat. This is spread over a longer distance. In 1937 with the construction of a new Nisada Ghat in the centre (where exists Satsanga Akhara), now the ghat is divided into two parts : the southern and northern. In the southern part exists the shrines of Prahaladesvara, Prahalada Kesava, Vidara Narsimha, and Varada and Picindala Vinayakas. Around the northern site exists Mahisasura Tirtha, Svaralingesvara,Yajna Varaha and Sivaduti Devi. On 14th light- half of Vaisakha (April-May), a grand festive celebration to honour the appearance of Nrsimha ("Lion-Man" incarnation of Lord Visnu; i.e. 4th among the ten) is performed on massive scale in the temple of Prahaladesvara.
Upto 1887 this was a famous ferry ghat. On 1st jan. 1887, Lord Duffrin bridge (road-cum-rail) was made and its importance as ferry points had lost. The bridge is named as Malaviya Bridge in 1948 after the founder of Banaras Hindu University, Pt. Madan Mohan Malaiya. In the Gahadavala inscriptions (c. 1100) this ghat is mentioned many times in terms of its glory and merit. There are four water-trithas affiliated to this ghat: Sankhya,Uddalaka, Hayagriva and Nilagriva.
Adi Keshava Ghat
In Ghadavala inscription (c. C.E. 1100) this ghat was referred as Vedesvara Ghat. This is assumed to be the oldest and the original (Adi) site of Lord Visnu ( Kesava). The temple complex of Adi Kesava has a pleasant pastoral setting on he bank above the confluence of the Varana and the Ganga rivers. Among the oldest puranic listings of sacred sites in the city, this is one of them. This sacred spot is fully eulogized in the MP (185-68), the VP (3.34-50), the KKh (84.109; see also 51.44-82). This was the most favourite holy site of the Gahadavala kings, as evident from the Gahadavala inscription that" a great number of regal ritual occasions in Varanasi included the worship of Adi Kesava or a dip in the Ganga at the Varana confluence: (Niyogi 1959: app. B as in Eck 1982:233). The ghat was made pucca in 1790 by a Divan of Scindhia State. According to a flok legend the five most sacred water-fron holy spots represent the bodily parts of the Lord:" Asi is the head; Dasasvamedha is the chest; Manikarnika is the naval; Pancaganga is the thighs; and Adi Kesava is the feet" (Eck 1982:233). This reminds that Vianu first placed his holy feet here in Varanasi. His foot prints (Carana Paduka) in the Adi Kesava temple symbolize that occasion; another foot prints are at Manikarnika Ghat. Bathing at confluence of the Varana and the Ganga and paying visit to Sangamesvara ("Lord of Confluence") give a special religious merit, as referred in the Linga Purana (92.87-89):
"An excellent lingam has been installed by Brahama at this confluence. It is know in the world as Sangamesvara. If a man shall become pure taking his bath at the confluence of the divine river and then worship Sangamesa, whence need he fear rebirth". The Sangamesvara lingam is located in temple attached to Adi Kesava; and from the pavilion of Adi Kesava, one can look down into the courtyard of the Sangamesvara. Closeby to it is the Brahmesvara lingam (a four- faced lingam) and believed to be established by Brahma ("The Creator"). Between Prahalada and Adi Kesava Ghat (from south to north) there are ten water-tirthas lying along the bank: Sankha Madhava, Sasa, Laksminrsimha, Gopigivinda, Vindara Nrsimha, Yajna Varaha, Mara- Narayana, Vamana, Pranava and Dattatreyesvara. And between Adi Kesava Ghat and confluence of the Varana there are twelve water-tirthas: Aditya Kesava, Ambarisa, Narada, Garuda, Mahalaksmi, Padma, Gada, Cakra, Sankha, Ksirabdhi, Svetadvipa and padodaka. In the vicinity of Adi Kesava temple are located two Vinayakas: Cinatamani ("relieving worry") and Kharva ("the dwarf"), and jnana Kesava ("wisdom"), P/rayaga lingam and Kesavaditta ("Kesava-Sun"). The barth day of Vamana ("the Dwarf"; 5th incarnation of Visnu among the ten) is celebrated on massive scale in the Adi Kesava temple on 12th light- half of Bhadrapada (Aug. Sept.). At the time of sunrise and sun set both, one can see the natural beauty of reflecting colourful light in the Ganga, in the morning the reflection of sunlight on the palatial buildings and in the evening the shadows of those building in Ganga make the scene unique which is more an aspect of experience than reading about it.
The best time to visit the ghats is at dawn when the river is bathed in a magical light and pilgrims come to perform puja to the rising sun. The best view of the Ghats can be had from a boat midstream or from the Malviya bridge. Burning pyres, people getting their hair shaved off, the chanting of sacred slokas, giving of alms to Brahmins, Pandas (Brahmin Priests) sitting under huge umbrellas offering prayers for their clients, devotees praying and drinking water from the holy river are the common sight at these ghats.
Famous Lanes of Varanasi
Nandan Sahu Lane
Nepali Khapada Gali
Bangali Tola Gali
Kali Mohal Gali
Garhvasi Tola Gali
Temples and Mosques
There are 198 important Temples in the holi city Varanasi. Important Temples are as follows:
Kashi Vishwanath Temple
New Kashi Vishwanath Temple, BHU
Kal Bhaurav Temple
Magala Gauri Temple
Chausatti Devi Temple
Kamaksha Devi Temple
Mahishasur Mardani Temple
Baba Kinaram Temple
Tailang Swami Temple
Tulsi Manas Temple
Sankat Mochan Temple
Bharat Mata Temple
Sankata Ji Temple
Maha Murtunjai Temple
Bathuk Bhairav / Adi Bhairav Temple
Guru Vrispati Temple
Badae Hanuman Ji Temple
Bhaudh Bihar (Puravshesh)
Mulgandh Kuti Bihar
Suparshwanath (7th Trithkar) Place of birth- Bhadaini
ChandraPrabhnath (8th Trithkar) Place of birth - Chandravati
Shrayansnath (11th Trithkar) Place of birth - Sarnath
Parshwanath (23th Trithkar) Place of birth - Bhelupur
Vishwanath temple (Golden Temple)
The most sacred temple in Varanasi is the Vishwanath temple, located at Vishvanath Gali dedicated to Lord Shiva. Hindus believe Shiva lives here, so it's far too holy a place for non-Hindus to view, the followers of other religions are permitted a view from the Naubat Khana (seat of temple choir). The shivalinga at the Vishwanath temple is among one of the 12 Jyotrilingas. The current temple was built in 1776 by Ahalya Bai of Indore with about 800 kg of gold plating on the towers, which gives the temple its colloquial name, Golden Temple. The gold plated spire, was the gift of the Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore in 1835, more than 50 years later. The well of wisdom or 'Gyan Vapi' which is nearby is believed to have been built by Lord Shiva himself to cool the 'linga' of Vishwanath with water.
New Vishwanath Temple
Situated in the premises of Banaras Hindu University, a modern place of worship planned by Pandit Malviya and built by the Birlas. Open to all, irrespective of caste or creed.
It was built in the 18th century by a Bengali maharani and is stained red with ochre. The Durga Temple is commonly known as the Monkey Temple due to the many frisky monkeys that have made in their home. Non-Hindus can enter the courtyard but not the inner sanctum.
It is the most important Shiva temple of the city. The stone linga here is said to have emerged spontaneously. The myth narrate that a pure hearted devotee of Shiva prayed for a chance to visit the famous Kedareshvara Shiva temple in the Himalayas. Shiva, who is the god of destruction is always kind to his bhaktas (devotees). Shiva was touched by his bhakta's piety and instead of bringing him to the mountain, Shiva brought his image to the bhakta. This image (linga) emerged out of a plate of rice and lentils. It can be still seen by the believers on the rough surface of the natural stone linga.
Sankat Mochan Temple
It is at Durga Kund Road. The word Sankat Mochan means deliverer from troubles. The temple belongs to Hanuman (monkey God), an incarnation of Vishnu. The best time to visit this temple is in the early evening.
This white temple is dedicated to Shitala, the smallpox goddess. It is situated at Shitala Ghat. The Santoshi Mata (Mother of Contentment) shrine is added to this temple.
Bharat Mata Temple
This temple is dedicated to Mother India. Just 1 km from the Varanasi station. The temple is built in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth which was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt. This temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936 so that the citizens could respect Mother India in statue form. The statute is built in marble and is a replica of undivided India in three dimensions, which has the mountains, plains and oceans in right proportion.
Tulsi Manas Temple
Constructed by a family of Varanasi, this modern temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. The temple is built in the place where Goswami Tulsidas composed the epic 'Ramacharitramanas' which provides us with a detailed description of the history and deeds of Lord Rama.
Chausath Yogini Temple
This temple is situated just above the Chausath Yogini Ghat. It was originally devoted to a tantric cult. Now it is devoted to Kali. The deity here is known as 'Ma' (mother).
Benaras Hindu University
This is the largest and oldest university in north India. Spread over an area of 2,000 acres, this great place of education was established by Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya. Today the campus has faculties of Arts, Science, Music, Sanskrit, Languages, Engineering, Statistics and Medical to name a few of them. The university also has the huge Vishwanath temple which was built and maintained by the Birla family. The Sunderlal Medical centre has all the modern facilities of medical field and also located on the campus.
The King of Nepal had built this temple on Lalita ghat in Nepali style. The Nepali temple is also called the 'Kathwala temple'. The temple has some magnificent woodwork. Tourists from all over the world come just to see this temple which has no comparison with any other temple in India. The workers who carved this temple out were brought from Nepal. The wood used in the temple is also found in Nepal. The speciality of this wood is that termites do not eat this wood.
This mosque was built by Mughal emperor Aurangazeb. The foundation and the rear part of the mosque are the remains of a temple. One of its minarets which dominated the skyline of the holy city, collapsed in the1948 floods.
This mosque was constructed by Aurangazeb. It is a blend of Hindu and Muslim designs. A famous bathing point, Panjaganga Ghat lies below it.
Museums and Art Galleries
ABC Art Gallery
This gallery is situated opposite of Tulsi Manas Mandir, Durga Kund Road. Opens from 3 pm to 7 pm. This gallery exhibits the work of well known artists of India. It gives a picture of the contemporary culture of Varanasi.
B.H.U. & Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum
Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U) founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya in 1917A.D is the largest residential University in India. At the entrance, there is the grand statue of its founder and the Vishwanath temple in its centre. The huge temple was built in 1966, under patronage of the Birlas. It has a 677 meter high rising white top and its well carved architecture attracts pilgrims. In the cool and calm surroundings of B.H.U is the Bharat Kala Bhavan which has established in 1920A.D and has a vast collection of paintings, Hindu and Buddhist sculptures and other materials of archeological studies. In the main hall of the Bhawan, there is a figure of a man standing on one leg and one hand on his hip and lifting a mass of stone above his head, with one hand. The figure is said to be of Lord Krishna lifting Govardana. In the halls of the Bharat Kala Bhawan, there are many rare images that testify to the existence of Krishna cult in Kashi in 15th and 16th century Gupta period. It has the miniature paintings from the courts of Mughals and the Hindu Princes of Punjab Hills. It is open for visitors from Monday to Saturday from 10.30 am to 4 pm.
Ram Nagar Durg
About 2 km from the Kashi Hindu University, across the Ganga is located the ancestral house in the fort, which was built by the former rulers of Kashi. In one of the sections of the fort is the museum, which displays the royalty, which was once part of the kingdom. This museum gives an insight into the grandeur, which once prevailed, in the fort. On the Ramnagar Pandav road is a beautiful Durga temple. This temple has very delicate and intricate carving done on stone. These carvings are worth giving a look.
Kashi Vidya Peeth
The Kashi Vidyapeeth was set up in 1920 by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta to provide alternate education arrangement discarding that of the British. It soon became a centre of national education with Hindi as the medium of instruction. Acharya Narendradev, Babu Sampurnanand, Babu Sriprakash & many more Luminaries of the time have been associated with this institute.
The ruler of Jaisingh built an observatory in Varanasi in line with those built in Delhi, Mathura, Ujjain and Jaipur observatories. The Varanasi observatory has all the instruments which are required to record the motion, speed and properties of various stars and planets and other cosmic objects. Although the observatory was built in 1600, the instruments give the exact measurements which can match any modern instrument.
Places of Interest around Varanasi
Sarnath renowned for ancient remains of Bhuddhist stupas, monasteries and temples, is situated at a distance of 6 kms to the north of Varanasi city which is well connected by road, rail & air. Sarnath is one of the four most important Bhuddhist pilgrimage centres of India. Bhudda, the great sage, after attaining enlightenment (Bhudda-hood) at Bodh gaya came to Sarnath and delivered his first sermon to five disciples (i.e. Kaundinya, Bashpa, Bhadrika, Mahanaman and Ashvajit) for redeeming humanity. It is this place where foundation of a new order of monks (Sangha) and a new order of religious doctrine (Dhamma) was laid. Later, the great Buddhist Emperor Ashoka built here the Dharmarajika Stupa and near it erected a pillar surmounted by the magnificent capital of four adored lions, which today forms the national emblem of India. Ashoka erected several memorial towers or stupas. Saranath probably derived its name from one of Buddha's title, Saranganath, Lord of the Deer. Sarnath is also sacred to the Jains because they look upon it as the site of asceticism and death of Shreyamshanath, the 11th Trithankara. Saranath's annual festival is Buddha Purnima, which commemorates Buddha's birth with colourful fair and procession of his relics held on the full moon of May/June.