Atul Pandey Project

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K

ashi is the oldest living city in the world. Living is a

poor description, because Kashi is not just surviving but is pulsating, vibrating with life. Kashi has no death even during the great deluge (Mahapralaya) as it is regarded as being lifted up by the trident (Trisul) of Lord Shiva and manifest itself at the next cycle of creation. It is not only Kashi has no death, nothing in Kashi dies. People who breathe their last in this holy city do not die but get liberated from the cycle of birth and death. The city, its people, their beliefs and traditions do not die. These change and grow almost imperceptibly. The beliefs and traditions, however, seem to last forever. What is this energy that keeps the city vibrant, the spirit,the secret essence which keeps it glowing and ever bewitching! Kashi has a mysterious charm not found in any other city. Kashi has attracted people from all over the country, off all possible beliefs,customs and traditions,religious and philosophical view points. People have bowed down respectfully to the sacredness of the city.

K

ashi, Varanasi and Banaras are used synonymously

nowadays. Buddhist traditions used the name Kashi and Varanasi from about the 1st century AD1. However, the names assumed the same meaning only sometimes in the seventh century AD2. Earlier Kashi was the name used for the Janpada and Varanasi for the name of the capital city of the Janpada. Kashi is derived from the Sanskrit root Kaste or Kash which means one which shines or one which is luminous. The Skanda Purana explains that Kashi by its radiance lights up the path of moksha or nirvana(liberation or salvation). An unseen cosmic light(Brahma Jyoti)is said to emanate from jyotirlinga and hence the place becomes luminous. The Puranas refer to Kashi variously as Varanasi, Moksha Prakashika, Avimukta, Anandkanan, Mahasmashan, Rudravas, Gaurimukha, Apurnabhavabhava Bhumi Tapasthali,Mahapuri and Dhamakshetra. Each name carries an additional meaning in terms of the sacred symbolism of the city, with each defining aprogressively decreasing arc starting and ending on the west bank of the Ganges. While the boundary of Kashi is delimited by the circular Panchakroshi Road, Varanasi is the main city, extending from Asi Ghat and circling around to the confluence of the Ganges and the Varuna.

Varanasi was located in the van (forest) of Varuna and is called Varunavan vasi.Varanasi,it is suggested,can also be a settlement (basi) by the river Yamuna. Varanasi can be split into varana(eyebrows)and nasi(nose),the place between the eyebrows and the nose . It may be recalled that this part of the human anatomy,between the eyebrow and the bnose is believed to be the abode of Brahma. According to legend, Varanasi was founded by the god Shiva. The Pandavas, the heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata are also stated to have visited the city in search of Shiva to atone for their sins of fratricide and bramhanahatya that they had committed during the climactic Kurukshetra war.. It is regarded as one of seven holy cities which can provide Moksha: 1. Ayodhy, 2 Mathur, 3 Gay, 4 Ka, 5 Kachi, 6 Avantik, 7 Dwrvat, these seven cities should be known as the givers of liberation. Garua Pura The earliest known archaeological evidence suggests that settlement around Varanasi in the middle Ages in the Ganga valley (the seat of Aryan religion and philosophy), began in the 11th or 12th century BCE, placing it among the worlds oldest continually inhabited cities. These remains suggest that the Varanasi area was populated by Vedic people. However, the Atharvaveda (the oldest known text referencing the city), which dates to approximately the same period, suggests that the area was populated by indigenous tribes. It is possible that archaeological evidence of these previous inhabitants has yet to be discovered. Varanasi was also home to Parshva, the 23rd Jain Tirthankara and the earliest Tirthankara that is accepted as a historical figure, in the 8th century BCE.

Varanasi, one of world's oldest living cities, is rightly called the religious capital of India. Also known as Banaras or Benaras, this holy city is located in the southeastern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India. It rests on the left bank of the holy river Ganga (Ganges), and is one of the seven sacred spots for Hindus. Every devout Hindu hopes to visit the city at least once in a lifetime, take a holy dip at the famous 'Ghats' of the Ganga.

Varanasi is easily accessible from all parts of the country. Very well connected by Air, Rail and Road the City offers convenient and comfortable travelling options to and from other cities of India. Air Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport or Varanasi Airport The nearest airport is Babatpur, 22 km from Varanasi and 30 Km from Sarnath. Direct flights for Varanasi are available for Delhi, Agra, Khajurao, Calcutta, Mumbai, Lucknow and Bhuvaneshwar and Kathmandu ( Nepal). Lal Bahadur Shashtri Airport, Babatpur Ph. 2622494, 2622090 Manager, Babatpur Airport: 9935000251 Terminal Manager: 2623060 Airport Director: 2622155 Babatpur Auto Exchange: 2622082, 2622083,2622084

Rail Varanasi Jn (BSB), Varanasi Railway Station and Mughal Sarai (MGS) Jn (one of the main railway stations of Varanasi) are the important rail junctions, with train connections to all major cities of India. Varanasi Railway Station, Ph : 131, 139 Mughal Sarai Railway Station, Ph :05412 - 255344 Road Varanasi, on NH 2 from Calcutta to Delhi, NH 7 to Kanya Kumari and NH 29 to Gorakhpur is well connected to the rest of the country by good motorable roads, some of the major road distances are : Agra - 565 km, Allahabad - 128 km, Bhopal - 791 km, Bodhgaya - 240 km, Kanpur - 330 km, Khajuraho - 405 km, Lucknow - 286, Patna - 246 km, Sarnath - 10 Km. Local Transport: Taxis: Private taxis are available from travel agencies, hotels, etc., auto rickshaws, cycle rickshaws and Tempos are also readily available. Best Time to Visit: October to March Varanasi city enjoys all three types of seasons: cold, hot and rainy. Varanasi city enjoy the Cold from November to February, hot from March to June and Rainy from July to September. October to March is the best to visit the Varanasi

UP Government Tourist Office, Urban Haat, Sanskritik Sankul, Maqbool Alam Road, Chowka Ghat, Varanasi. Telefax : (0542) 2505033 UP Government Tourist Information Counter, Cantt. Railway Station, Varanasi, Near Enquiry Office, Main Hall. Ph : 2506670 Modern Reception Centre, Sarnath Government of India Tourist Office, 15 B The Mall, Cantt, Varanasi. Ph : 2501784 Government of India Tourist Information Counter, Babatpur Airport. Bihar State Tourist Office, Englishiya Market, Sher Shah Suri Marg, Cantt. Telefax : 2223821

Tourist Offices In Varanasi Name & PlaceIndia Tourism Varanasi (Govt. of India) 15B, The Mall, Cantt, Varanasi Regional Tourist Officer (UP Tourism) Pared Kothi, Varanasi U.P. Tourist Banglow, Pared Kothi U.P. Tourist Banglow, Sarnath U.P. Tourism (Station Counter) District Information Office

Contact No.0542-2501784 0542-2206638 2208545, 2208413 0542-2595965 0542-2506670 0542-2222859

TOURIST INFORMATION OFFICES Regional Tourist Office, U.P.Tourism. Parade Kothi, Cantt. Ph:(0542)-2206638, 2208413 U.P. Tourist Office, Sarnath.Open: 10 a.m.- 5 pm. Closed on Sundays and Govt holidays. U.P.Government Tourist Information Counter.Varanasi Cantt, Railway Station, Near Enquiry Office , Main Hall. (Opens daily 6 am.-8 pm.) Ph: (0542)2346370 Railway Tourism. Ph: (0542)-2506670 Govt.Of India Tourist Office.15B, The Mall Cantt.Varanasi. Ph: (0542)-2501784 Govt. Of India Tourist Information Counter,Babatpur Airport, Varanasi.

TRAVEL AGENTS & TOUR/COACH OPERATORS The city has numerous travel agents and tour operators. Some of them are 1. Cosmic Travels & Movers, Varuna Bridge (0542)2502246, 2504526

2. Ashok Tour & Travel, Indian Airlines Building Cantt,Varanasi. (0542)- 2503432 3.Surbhi Travels & Tours Cooperative Building Nadeser (0542)-2502664 4.Tour Aids, Hotel India Travels Assistance, Varuna Bridge ,Varanasi (0542)-2502954 5.Travel Corporation Of India. Varuna Travels, Pandey Haweli (0542)-2393371-72 Approved tourist guides for local sight seeing may be hired through the Govt. Of India Tourist office. IMPORTANT TOURIST INFORMATION BANKS /MONEY CHANGERS State Bank of India, Cantt, Varanasi State Bank of India, Banaras Handu University, Varanasi. Indian Overseas Bank, Lahurabir Varanasi. Bank of Baroda, Godowlia, Varanasi. Allahabad Bank, Nadeser,Varanasi. Allahabad Bank, Chowk, Varanasi. Central Bank of India, Chowk, Varanasi. Canara bank, Bansphatak, Varanasi. IDBI Bank, Arihant Complex, Sigra, Varanasi HDFC Bank , Arihant Complex, Sigra, Varanasi ICICI Bank , Gyanwapi Chowk, Varanasi Punjab National Bank, Lahurabir ,Varanasi HOSPITALS S.P.G. Hospital, Kabirchaura, Varanasi. Phone: (S.S.L. Hospital, BHU, Varanasi (0542)- 2312542-45 Ram Krishna Mission Hospital, Luxa (0542)-2391727 Mata AnandMai Hospital, Bhadaini Phone (0542)-2310592 Govt. Hospital, Shivpur. Varanasi (0542)-2282226

Hindu Seva Sadan, Chowk..Varanasi (0542)-2412143 Marwari Hospital, Godowlia, Varanasi (0542)-2321456 Cancer Institute, NE Railway, Lahartara (0542)-2425338

THE KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE

Also known as the Golden Temple, it is dedicated to Lord shiva, the presiding deity of the city. Varanasi is Said to be the point at which the first jyotirlinga, the fiery pillar of light by which shiva manifested has supremacy over others gods, broke through the Earths crust and flared towards the heavens. More than the Gaths and even the Ganga, the Shivalinga installed in the temple remains the devotional focus of Varanasi.

BANARAS HINDU UNIVERSITY

Banaras Hindu University (B.H.U) founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya in 1917A.D is the largest residential University in India. At t