According to legend, Varanasi was founded by the god Shiva. The Pandavas, the mythic heroes of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, are said to have visited the city in search of Shiva to atone for their sin of fratricide and Brāhmanahatya that they had committed during the climactic Kurukshetra War. It is regarded as one of seven holy cities which can provide Moksha; Ayodhyā, Mathurā, Gayā, Kaśī, Kañchi, Avantikā, and Dwārāvatī are the seven cities known as the givers of liberation. Varanasi is located at an elevation of 80.71 metres (264.8 ft) in the centre of the Ganges valley of North India, in the Eastern part of the state of Uttar Pradesh, along the left crescent-shaped bank of the Ganges, averaging between 15 metres (50 ft) and 21 metres (70 ft) above the river. The city is the headquarters of Varanasi district. By road, Varanasi is located 797 kilometres (495 mi) south-east of New Delhi, 320 kilometres (200 mi) south-east of Lucknow, 121 kilometres (75 mi) east of Allahabad, and 63 kilometres (39 mi) south of Jaunpur. The "Varanasi Urban Agglomeration" – an agglomeration of seven urban sub-units – covers an area of 112.26 km 2 (approximately 43 mi²). Neighbourhoods of the city include Adampura, Anandbagh, Bachchhaon, Bangali Tola, Bhelpura, Bulanala, Chaitganj, Chaukaghat, Chowk, Dhupchandi, Dumraon, Gandhinagar, Gautam Nagar, Giri Nagar, Gopal Vihar, Guru Nanak Nagar, Jaitpura, Kail Garh, Khanna, Kotwali, Lanka Manduadih, Luxa, Maheshpur, Mahmoorganj, Maulvibagh, Nagwar, Naipokhari, Shivala, Siddhagiribagh, and Sigra
Varanasi experiences a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cwa) with large variations between summer and winter temperatures. The dry summer starts in April and lasts until June, followed by the monsoon season from July to October. The temperature ranges between 22 and 46 °C (72 and 115 °F) in the summers. Winters in Varanasi see very large diurnal variations, with warm days and downright cold nights. Cold waves from the Himalayan region cause temperatures to dip across the city in the winter from December to February and temperatures below 5 °C (41 °F) are not uncommon. The average annual rainfall is 1,110 mm (44 in). Fog is common in the winters, while hot dry winds, called loo, blow in the summers.
TULSI MANAS TEMPLETulsi Manas Mandir-Durgakund
Constructed by family of Varanasi, this modern temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. It is situated at the place Where Tulisdas, the great medieval seer, lived and wrote the epic "Shri Ramcharitmanas", which narrates the life of Lord Rama, the hero of the Ramayana. Verses from Tulidas’s epic are inscribed on the walls. SANKATMOCHAN TEMPLE Lord Hanuman temple, who is known to be the 'Sankatmochak' is just 300 meters from Tulsi Manas Temple. It is an ancient temple considered as built by Goswami Tulsidas himself.
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.
MAHATMA GANDHI KASHI VIDYAPEETH
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 natoinal 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.>MUSUEMS & ARTS GALLERIES Archaeological musuem Sarnath open 09:30 am.- 5 pm. Friday clossed. Ramnager fort musuem, open 10 am.-5 pm. Clossed on Friday. Bharat Kala Bhawan B.H.U. open 10:30 am.- 4 pm. Clossed on Sundays & university holidays. Archaeological musuem, Sampurnanand Sanskrit University open 10 am. – 5 pm. Clossed on Sunday & university holidays.
BHARAT MATA TEMPLE
This Temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936 and houses one perfect relief Map of India carved out of marble. The Temple was gifted by the nationalists Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta (Barat Ratana ) and shri Durga Prasad Khatri, leading numismatists and antiquarians. It is inside the premises of Kashi Vidyapeeth.
Ashoka Piller-Sarnath It is at Saranath, 10km north of Varanasi. Sarnath, the place where Buddha gave his first sermon is a popular Buddhist pilgrimage centre. The Ashoka pillar stands in front of the main stupa where Ashoka sat and meditated. The Sarnath Archaeological Museum at Ashoka Marg, houses a copy of Ashoka's lion pillar and some sculptures.
The residential place of Kashi Naresh (Former Maharaja of Varanasi) across the Ganges at Ramnagar houses a museum with the exhibits of palanquins, costumes, swords, sabres, etc. Dussehra celebration of Ramnagar is an interesting event to witness.14 km. from Varanasi. The fort at Ramnagar houses a museum displaying the Royal collection which includes vintage cars, Royal palkies, an armoury of swords and old guns, ivory work and antique clock. The Durga Temple and Chhinnamastika Temple are also located at Ramnagar. Ramnagar Fort which was built in 1750A.D by the Maharaja of Banaras, is on the right bank of River Ganga. Built of red stones, it provides strength and stability to the city. Visit : Daily from 0900 t0 1200 and 1400 - 1500. It is the residential palace of the former Maharaja of Varanasi. The palace is an astronomical and astrological wonder. Inside the giant walls of the palace, there is a big clock. Besides showing year, month, week and day, it baffles the onlooker with astronomy of the sun, moon and constellation of stars. This wonder clock or Dharam Ghari was made by the court astronomer of Banaras in 1852A.D. The palace has a temple dedicated to Ved Vyas and a museum set up by the last Maharaja of Banaras, Vibhuti Narain Singh. The museum has a collection of brocade costumes, palanquins, weapons and has expensive coaches made of ivory. The palace is decorated majestically and it vibrates with colour and life, during Dussehra festival. The celebrations comes to an end on Vijayadashmi, when the huge effigies of demon king Ravana and his kinsmen are sent up in flames, signifying the victory of good over evil.
An amalgmation of Hindu-Muslim religious sentiments, this mosque is also known as " Beni Madhav ka Darera". Curiously, the entire lower portion of the mosque is retained as a Hindu temple.
CENTRAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER TIBETAN STUDIES
The only institute of its kind in the world, , imprating education in the Tibetan language, it was Est. by the Dalai Lama in 1971. Presently located at Sarnath.The institute has a rare collection of Buddhist texts, Tibetan manuscripts and other journals.
Jantar Mantar is an observatory, built by Jai Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur in the year 1737. Jai Singh was a great admirer of science and technology and he was particularly passionate about astronomy. Before the commencement of construction (of observatories) he sent scholars abroad to study the foreign observatories. The emissaries returned with many manuals on astronomy. The Jantar Mantar at Varanasi was built in line with Delhi, Mathura, Ujjain and Jaipur observatories.
The Jantar Mantar was built to measure the local time, the Sun's declination, altitude, the declination of stars, planets and to determine eclipses The Jantar Mantar at Varanasi has several masonry instruments to record the motion, speed and properties starts and planets and study astronomy that are accurate and can still be used efficiently today. The Jantar Mantar incorporates multiple structures of unique form, each with a specialized function for astronomical measurement.
These structures with their striking combinations of geometric forms have captivated the attention of architects, artists, and art historians. Originally, there were many yantras (instruments). Some of the important ones are the Krantivritta Yantra, Digansha Yantra, Samrat Yantra, Prakash Yantra, Ram Yantra, Disha Yantra and Dhruva Yantra .
Jain temple The Famous Jain Saint Shvetambar temple is there juust on the way from Railway Station to BHU, before Bhelupur street.
Aghor is the pinnacle of spirituality. With the advent of the great saint of 20th century, Parampujya Aghoreshwar Bhagwan Ramji, aghor tradition was integrated in the society. He utilized his spiritual prowess in public welfare and in the eradication of prevailing evils in the society. He established Sri Sarveshwari Samooh on September 21, 1961 for the service of suffering humanity. Public service, establishment of global peace and maintaining harmony among religions are the objectives of this Samooh.
Parampujya Aghoreshwar Bhagwan Ramji also established “Awadhoot Bhagwan Ram Kusta Sewa Ashram” for treating leprosy patients. This institution has been included and certified by the Limca Book of Records and Guinness Book of world records as it has fully cured more leprosy patients than any other hospital.
After Aghoreshwar Bhagwan Ramji left his mortal body on 29th November 1992, all the programmes of the organization are conducted under the guidance of its present president Parampujya Baba Gurupad Sambhava Ramji who established the Mahavibhuti Sthal (Samadhi) of Aghoreshwar Bhagwan Ramji on the bank of Ganga. This establishment is an unprecedented example of architecture and sculpture. On the bank of Ganga itself, a worth-seeing “Aghoreshwar Bhagwan Ram Ghat” has been built by the Tourism Department. Recently an old age home has also been newly constructed.
In addition to above, large number of social welfare programmes are also conducted by the institution.