Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Benaras (Varanasi, Kashi)

"The three worlds form one city of mine, and Kashi is my royal palace therein"
(Lord Shiva: Skand

"Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together"
(Mark Twain, the English author and literature, who was enthralled by the legend and sanctity of Benaras)The Varuna and the Assi rivers originated from the body of the primordial Person at the beginning of time itself. The tract of land lying between them is believed to be ‘Varanasi’, the holiest of all pilgrimages.
(‘Vamana Puraan’)

The word ‘Kashi’ originated from the word ‘Kas’ which means to shine. Steeped in tradition and mythological legacy, Kashi is the ‘original ground ‘ created by Shiva and Parvati. Varanasi is the microcosm of Hinduism, a city of traditional classical culture, glorified by myth and legend and sanctified by religion.

Today the words Varanasi, Kashi, Benaras are used interchangeably.

May be a century ago, Kashi and Varanasi were different places. Varanasi was situated in between Varuna and Assi rivers, while Kashi is on the Banks of Ganges.

In British period, the Varanasi grew and took Kashi in its limits. So today Kashi is an small area within Varanasi City.

Through the ages, Varanasi was known as Avimuktaka, Anandakanana, Mahasmasana, Surandhana, Brahma Vardha, Sudarsana, Ramya, and Kashi.

In the Rigveda, the city was referred to as Kasi or Kashi, "the luminous one" as an allusion to the city's historical status as a center of learning, literature, and culture. "Kasikhanda" described the glory of the city in 15,000 verses in the Skanda Purana.

It is the place santified by Aadi Shankaracharya. It is said that he met with a Chaandaal (the person, who used to provide service in cremation ground). Shankara asked him to go away from the path so that not to touch him. The Chaandaal, who was Lord Shiva himself made a mockery of Aadi Shankara saying that, you are very knowledgeable, but you donot recognise the Bramha in me.

Aadi Shankaracharya realized his mistake and dropped all the ideas of untouchabilities.

Perhaps here he wrote the famous "Bhaja Govindam".

In first look, you may not admire Varanasi. A dirty and crowded place. Narrow streets, filled with humans and animals alike. These things frustrates and also fascinates.But this is just the outer view. Dont just see it..feel it. Feel it deeply, and blissfully.

To be in Varanasi is an experience in itself, an experience in self–discovery, an eternal oneness of the body and soul.

I got the oppertunity to be at this auspicious place on 20th/21st of November. Though I have been to this place many times in past, but this time, I was mature enough to understand the sanctity of this blissful place.

My wife and in-laws are blessed to be belong to this holy place.

Varanasi is one of seven most holy places for Hindus.

“Ayodhya Mathura Maya Kasi Kañchi Avantika Puri Dvaravati chaiva saptaita moksadayikah"
(Garuda Puraan)

(Maya Puri refers to Haridwar and Avantika to Ujjain)

The Garuda Purana enumerates seven cities as giver of Moksha, They are Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya, Kasi, Kañchi, Avantika and Dwarka.

Varanasi has been a symbol of Hindu renaissance. Knowledge, philosophy, culture, arts and crafts have all flourished here for centuries. Also a pilgrimage place for Jains, Varanasi is believed to be the birthplace of Parsvanath and Shreyansnath, the Tirthankars.

Varanasi is one of the holiest places in Buddhism too, being one of the four pilgrimage sites said to have been designated by Gautama Buddha himself (the others being Kushinagar, Bodh Gaya, and Lumbini). In the residential neighborhood of Varanasi lies Sarnath, the site of the deer park where Gautama Buddha is said to have given his first sermon about the basic principles of Buddhism. The Dhamek Stupa is one of the few pre-Ashokan stupas still standing, though only its foundation remains. Also remaining is the Chaukhandi Stupa commemorating the spot where Buddha met his first disciples (in the 5th century or earlier, BC). An octagonal tower was built later there.

Varanasi is said to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and probably the oldest of India. By the 2nd millennium BC, Varanasi was a seat of Vedic religion and philosophy Varanasi was the capital of the kingdom of Kashi during the time of the Buddha (6th century BC), who gave his first sermon nearby at Sarnath. The city remained a centre of religious, educational, and artistic activities as attested by the celebrated Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang, who visited it in about 635 AD and said that the city extended for about 3 miles (5 km) along the western bank of the Ganges.

Varanasi subsequently declined during three centuries of Muslim occupation. Many of the city’s Hindu temples were destroyed during the period of Muslim rule, and learned scholars fled to other parts of the country. There was major setback during the reign of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the late 17th century, but later the Marathas sponsored a new revival. Varanasi became an independent kingdom in the 18th century, and under subsequent British rule it remained a commercial and religious centre.

In 1910 the British made Varanasi a new Indian state, with Ramnagar (on the opposite bank) as headquarters but with no jurisdiction over the city of Varanasi. In 1949, after Indian independence, the Varanasi state became part of the state of Uttar Pradesh.

The Ramnagar Fort was built by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh with creamy chunar sandstone in the eighteenth century. It is a typically Mughal style of architecture with carved balconies, open courtyards, and picturesque pavilions. The other fort of the Kashi Naresh is the Chet Singh Palace, near Shivala Ghat, Varanasi built by Maharaja Chet Singh.

Ramnagar Fort and its museum are the repository of the history of the kings of Benares and since the 18th century has been the home of Kashi Naresh.

The culture of Varanasi is closely associated with the River Ganges and the river's religious importance. It has the finest river frontage in India, with miles of ghats, or steps, for religious bathing; an array of shrines, temples, and palaces rises tier on tier from the water’s edge. The inner streets of the city are narrow, winding, and impassable for motor traffic; the newer outer suburbs are more spacious and are laid out more systematically. The sacred city is bounded by a road known as Panchakosi; every devout Hindu hopes to walk this road and visit the city once in a lifetime and, if possible, to die there in old age.

I reached in the morning of 20th November to my inlaws place. A little tired but feeling bliss to be in Benaras.

I divided my two day stay at Varanasi in folloing manner:

Day one: Visiting major Temples in Varanasi (and Kashi)
Day two: Visting Sarnath.

Though I know I had a very less time. To explore Varanasi properly, one should have atleast one week of time and to understand it may take a journey of understand it means to understand Shiva.

Shiva resides here.

At Sarnath, about 10 KMs north of Varanasi, there are ruins of ancient Buddhist monasteries and temples as well as temples built by the Maha Bodhi Society and by the Chinese, Burmese, Tibetan as well as Buddhists from other countries.

I started with the New Vishwanath temple at Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

The New Vishwanath Temple

The New Vishwanath Temple was mainly funded by Birla family. It was built as a replica of the old Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Planned by Madan Mohan Malaviya, the temple is part of the Banaras Hindu University, and stands for national revival.

Very peaceful and blissful place to be.

My next destination was Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

"Let the mind dwell on your two lotus like feet,
Let my words dwell on your praise,
Let my two hands dwell on your worship,
Let my ears dwell on hearing your holy stories,
Let my mind dwell meditating on you,
Let my two eyes dwell on your beauty,
And after this I do not find any use,
Of other great books to me, Oh supreme God"(Shivananda Lahari Shloka: 7)

This temple is the main attraction of Varanasi and said to be the most important Jyotirlinga.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this place has fascinated everyone since ages.

Gold plating was done on this temple, using one ton of gold donated by Maharaja Ranjit Singh on its 15.5-m high spire.

The original temple was said to be destroyed by Muslim Emperor Aurangzeb, who converted most parts of the temple into a Mosque and the priests hide the Lingam in the nearby well. After invasion, it was tried to bring that Linagm out of the well, but the attempt was unsuccessful.

It is said that one can still see the remnants of the temple in the intricate and fine artwork of the western wall of the adjacent Gyanwapi mosque.

The current temple was later resurrected at a location near the mosque.This was done by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore around 1780.

This temple makes Varanasi a place of great religious importance to the Hindus, as Vishweshwara or Vishwanatha, the afore mentioned Jyotirlinga of the Lord Shiva is enshrined here. It is said that a single view of Vishwanatha Jyotirlinga is considered to merit more than that of any other jyotirlingas.

A Naubatkhana was built up in front of the Temple by the collector Mohammed Ibrahim Khan at the instance of Governor General Warren Hastings in 1785. In 1839, Punjab Kesari, the Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh, donated 1 ton of Gold to cover the domes of temple.

On 28 January 1983 the Temple was taken over by the government of Uttar Pradesh and its management was transferred to a trust with Late Dr. Vibhuti Narayan Singh, then Kashi Naresh, as president and an executive committee with Divisional Commissioner as chairman.

Annapurna Temple (Near the Kashi Vishwanath temple

There is a nice temple of Devi Annapurna, believed as the "Goddess of Fooding". She is a form of Parvati. She is also known as Kashipuraadeeshwari ("Queen of Kasi"). This temple is just next to Lord's temple.

The Kashi Vishwanath Temple is very small if we compare it with the huge temples of South India. Now the Varanasi administration has taken initiative to clear some neighbouring buildings so that temple premises can be expanded.

Then I visited the Durga temple, Manas Temple and SankatMochan Temple. All these are nearby to each other.

Durga Temple

The temple is said to be constructed in 8th century. It is built in Nagara Style and is one of the most important temples of the city. The 'shikhara' of the temple consists of several small spires layered one on top of the other.

"Mind you are, Ether you are,
Air you are, Fire you are,
Water you are, Earth you are,
And you are the universe, mother,
There is nothing except you in the world,
But to make believe your form as the universe,
You take the role of wife of Shiva,
And appear before us in the form of ethereal happiness"(Soundarya Lahari Shloka:35)

The temple got the name 'Monkey temple' because of the presence of large number of monkeys in the temple. According to legends, the present statue of Goddess Durga was not made by man but appeared on its own in the temple. Thousands of Hindu devotees visit the Durga temple during Navratri and other auspicious occasions.

The architecture is of Nagara Style, which is typical of North India. The temple is accompanied by a rectangular tank of water called Durga Kund. ("Kund" meaning a pond or pool.) The Kund was earlier connected to the river itself thus refreshing the water. This channel was later closed, leading to locked water which is replenished only by rain or drainage from the Temple. I have heard that every year on the occasion of Nag Panchami, the act of depicting Lord Vishnu reclining on the coiled-up mystical snake or "Shesha" is repeated in the Kund.

Tulsi Manas Temple

A beautiful temple is dedicated to Lord Rama. This temple was Constructed in 1964 by philanthropist Sureka family of Varanasi. It is situated at the place Where Goswami Tulisdas, the great medieval seer, is said to have lived and wrote the epic "Shri Ramcharitmanas", which narrates the life of Lord Rama. Verses from Tulidas’s epic are inscribed on the walls.

Sankat Mochan Temple

This temple is dedicated to Lord Hanuman and is very popular with the local citizens. This temple is said to be consecreted by Goswami Tulsidas himself. It is a place for many yearly religious as well as cultural festivals.

On 7 March 2006, one of the three explosions carried out by Islamic militants hit the temple.

Tridev Temple

Nearby is the Tridev Temple. This temple is famous for presence of "Rani Sati", "Balaji" and Khaatoo ShyamJi". I visited the place and bowed my head for blessings of blissful deity.
Next day was dedicated to a visit to Sarnath.Second day I visited Sarnath.

Sarnath is renowned for ancient remains of Buddhist stupas, monasteries, Saranganath Shiva and Shreyansnath Jain temples, is situated at a distance of about 10 Kms. to the north of Varanasi city.

My visit to Sarnath started with a visit to Tibetan Monastry. So peaceful place, in the lotus feet of Lord Buddha!

Then I visited Sarnganath Temple.

It is said that the name Sarnath came from "Saranganath" (The Lord of Deer). Their is a old Shiva temple of Saranganath Here. It is also said that this place was a Deer park in old times and so the presiding deity was Saranganath. This name Saranganath later became Sarnath.

The temple of Saranganath is very old one. Nearby is a pond under repair. This temple is famous for having two Shivalingams. It is said that Aadi Shankaracharya got a dream to install a Shiva Lingam at this place. When he reached the exact spot, he found one already existing Shivalingam there. He tried to removed that, but remained unsuccessful. So he installed another Shivalingam just next to that.

Sarnath is one of the four most important Buddhist pilgrimage centres. Buddha, after attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya came to Sarnath and delivered his first sermon to five disciples (i.e. Kaundinya, Bashpa, Bhadrika, Mahanaman and Ashvajit).

Sarnath is also sacred to the Jains because they look upon it as the site of Shreyansanath, the 11th Trithankara. The temple dedicated to Shreyansnath is loacted just next to Dhamekh Stupa.

Ancient Buddhist literature the place finds mention as Rishipatna and Mrigdava or Mrigadaya.

The place was called Rishipatna also , as it was here the bodies of five hundred Pratyeka Buddhas or Rishis(Sages) fell after their attainment of nirvana (Salvation).

According to the Jataka Legends, in one of his previous births, Buddha as aleader of a herd of deer,for saving life of a doe, appeared before the king of Benaras who relished on the flesh of a deer everyday. On being moved by his sacrifical zeal the king made the place a free roaming ground, thus it was known as mrigadava (deerpark). The inscriptions of early medieval period found from Sarnath referred to this place as Dharamchakra or Sadhamacharka pravartana vihar. The mordern name Sarnath seems to be a contraction of Saranganath (Lord of deer) still borne by the Lord Shiva enshrined in the Saranganath temple nearby.

After Sarnaganath temple, I visited nearby Buddha temple. One small piece of bone of lord was on display there.

The Lord was there in the peaceful pose. Completely in bliss, asking all humans to come and dive in the ocean of love and everlasting joy!

Near the Stupa, there is the place where Buddha gave his first sermon. A branch of Bodhi tree, which was taken to SriLanka, has been implanted here. Statues of Lord and the first five blessed disciples mark that place.

Behind that is a deer park and good attraction for children.
Then I visited the Jain temple of Teerthankara Shreyansanath and then to the ruins of Stupas.

Sarnath passed into oblivion in the 13th cent and veil was lifted in 1798 when Mr. Duncan, the resident of Benaras gave an account of a casket of green marble inside a stone box exposed by the workmen of Jagat Singh, Dewan of Raja Chet Singh of Benaras while dismantling the Dharmaralika stupa in order to procure building materials. This discovery had created wide interest about Sarnath. Later on excavations were conducted at the site by Sir Alexander Cunningham (1835-36), Major Kittoe (1851-52), Mr. C. Horne (1865), Mr. F.O. Oertal (1904-5), Sir john Marshall (1907), Mr. H. Hargreaves(1914-15), and Mr. Daya Ram Sahni (1927-32).

Archaeological excavations have brought to light about a dozen carved railing pillars ascribable to the Shunga period (2nd –lst cent. B.C.).

During the Gupta period (4th-6th century A.D.). Sarnath became a main centre of structural and artistic activities. Several structures including Mulgandhakuti, the chief shrine of the Buddha were erected during this period. The Dhamekh stupa is the best preserved and most impressive edifice at Sarnath. It is a cylindrical tower 28.50 mts. In diameter at base and 33.53 mts. In height. Fa-Hien the Chinese pilgrim visited Sarnath at the time of Chandragupta ll (376-414 A.D.) and saw here four stupas and two monastteries.

The reign stupas and Harshavardhan (606-47 A.D.) must have initiated fresh religious activity and restorations of the earlier building at Sarnath. Hiuen-Tsang visited Sarnath during the time and left a vivid descriptinued of its monuments.

This place continued to flourish during the reign of the pala kings. But the monuments of Sarnath experienced a reverse, when Benaras suffered under the spearhead of Mahmud Ghajni’s invasion which is inferred from a record of the time of Mahilala, datable to 1026 A.D.

Kumar Devi, wife of Govindchandra (1114-1154 A.D.) of the Gahadavala dynasty built a large monastery at Sarnath which is probably the last impressive monuments raised here and after which the architectural and artistic activitivs came to a halt. The glorious heritage remained hidden for a larger period and waited for the archaeological spade to uncover it.

As it was Karthick Poornima Day (Dev Deepavali), so Varanasi Ghats were decorated with "deeyas". This day is also marked with a lot of cultural activities across various ghats.

It was quite rush, but I manged to visit the Assi Ghat.

Mother Ganges blesses all with nector.
"Salutations to her who is the ornament
To the three worlds and who is the basis of the world.
Salutations to her who has three strengths,
And to her who is the source of power"
(Ganga Stuti Sholka:5)

It is at the Ganga Ghats at Varanasi, where we see life and death together. For thousands of years people have been thronging these Ghats to offer their morning prayers to the rising sun. There are more than 100 ghats along side Ganga in Varanasi. Some of the prominent and popular Ghats at Varanasi are the Dasaswamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, Harischandra Ghat, Kabir Ghat and Assi Ghat.
Many of the ghats were built when the city was under Maratha control. Scindia, Holkar, Bhonsles, and Peshwas stand out as patrons of present-day Varanasi. Most of the ghats are bathing ghats, while others are used as cremation sites. Many ghats are associated with legends or mythologies, while many ghats are privately owned. The former Kashi Naresh owns Shivala or Kali ghat.
I was there for some time, enjoying the cultural festivals of that auspicious day and pray to the mother of universe.

Then returend back, thinking to come back soon again!


How to Visit
Benaras is in the eastern part of UP about 300 KMs from state capital Lucknow. It is very well connected via road, trains and flight to rest of the India. There are direct trains from Varansi to different parts of country. Varanasi also has an airport, which has daily flights to Delhi.
There are many star as well as budget hotels to take care of everyones need. There are many Dharamshala etc. as well.
In the following section, I have included some more information that I had collected, if someone is interested.

Dashashwamedh Ghat
It is located close to Vishwanath Temple, just behind it and is probably the most spectacular ghat. Two Hindu mythologies are associated with it: According to one, Lord Brahma created it to welcome Lord Shiva. According to another, Lord Brahma sacrificed ten horses in a yajna here. A group of priests daily perform in the evening at this ghat "Agni Pooja" (Worship to Fire) wherein a dedication is made to Lord Shiva, River Ganges, Surya (Sun), Agni (Fire), and the whole universe.
Manikarnika Ghat
Two legends are associated with this Ghat. According to one, it is believed to be the place where Lord Vishnu dug a pit with his Chakra and filled it with his perspiration while performing various penances. While Lord Shiva was watching Lord Vishnu at that time, the latter's earring ("manikarnika") fell into the pit.

According to the second legend, in order to keep Lord Shiva from moving around with his devotees, his consort Goddess Parvati hid her earrings, and asked him to find them, saying that they had been lost on the banks of the Ganges. Goddess Parvati's idea behind the fib was that Lord Shiva would then stay around, searching forever for the lost earrings. In this legend, whenever a body gets cremated at the Manikarnika Ghat, Lord Shiva asks the soul whether it has seen the earrings.
According to ancient texts, the owner of Manikarnika Ghat bought King Harishchandra as a slave and made him work on the Manikarnika at Harishchandra Ghat. Hindu cremations customarily take place here as well as on Harishchandra Ghat.

Scindhia Ghat
It borders Manikarnika to the north, with its Shiva temple lying partially submerged in the river as a result of excessive weight of the ghat’s construction about 150 years ago. Above the ghat, several of Kashi’s most influential shrines are located within the tight maze of alleys of Siddha Kshetra (Field of Fulfillment). According to tradition, Agni, the Hindu God of Fire was born here. Hindu devotees propitiate at this place Vireshwara, the Lord of all heroes, for a son.

Man-Mandir Ghat
Maharaja Jai Singh second of Jaipur built this Ghat in 1770, as well as the Yantra Mantra equipped with ornate window casings along with those at Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, and Mathura. There is a fine stone balcony in the northern part of the ghat. Devotees pay homage here to the lingam of Someswar, the Lord of the Moon.

Lalita Ghat
The late King of Nepal built this Ghat in the northern region of Varanasi. It is the site of the Ganges Keshav Temple, a wooden temple built in typical Kathmandu style, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple also has an image of Pashupateshwar, a manifestation of Lord Shiva.
Assi Ghat
Local festivals including musical parties and games regularly take place at the beautiful Assi Ghat which is at the end of the continuous line of ghats. It is a favorite site of painters and photographers. It is here at the Assi Ghat that Swami Pranabananda, the founder of Bharat Sevasharam Sangh,attained 'Siddhi' (fulfilment/success) in his 'Tapasya'(endeavor) for Lord Shiva, under the auspices of Guru Gambhirananda of Gorakhpur.

Other important places

1.) Vishalakshi Temple
There is a famous saying:
"Kanchi Kamakshi, Madurai Meenakshi and Kashi Vishalakshi"
This temple is dedicated to Vishalakshi (means wide-eyed) or Parvati , the consort of Lord Shiva.

2.) Vyasa Temple (Ramnagar)
According to a popular Puranic story, when Vyasa failed to get alms in Varanasi he put a curse on the city. Soon after, at a house where Parvati and Shiva had taken human form as householders, Vyasa was so,pleased with the alms he received that he forgot his curse. However, because of his bad temper Shiva banished Vyasa from Varanasi. Resolved to be near at hand, Vyasa took his residence on the other side of the Ganges where his temple may still be seen at Ramnagar.

3.) Sankatha Temple Near the Sindhia Ghat
There is an important temple of "Goddess of Remedy" Devi Sankatha. Inside its premises there is a huge statue of a Lion. Also there is nine temples of nine planets nearby to this temple.
4.) Kaal Bhairav Temple
It is the ancient temple of Varanasi near the Head Post Office, VishesharGanj. God KalBhairav is believed as "Kotwal Of Varanasi" , without his permission no one can stay in Kashi.

5.) Mrityunjay Mahadev Temple
Near to Kalbhairav temple this temple of Lord Shiva is situated. Just besides this temple there is a Well of much religious importance, whose water is said to be mixture of several underground streams and good for eliminating several diseases.

6.) Bharat Mata Temple
The Bharat Mata temple at Varanasi is the temple dedicated to Bharat Mata (Mother India). It is located in the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth campus. The Bharat Mata temple was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupt and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936. The statute of Bharat Mata is built in marble and is a model of undivided India, depicting the mountains, plains and oceans. The most peculiar thing about the Bharat Mata Temple is that instead of the customary gods and goddesses, it houses a relief map of India, carved out of marble.

7.) Jantar Mantar
It is an observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh, 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 of stars 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.
8.) Bharat Kala Bhavan
It is located inside the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) campus, is an art and architecture museum and houses a vast collection of paintings, Hindu and Buddhist sculptures and other materials of archeological importance. The Bharat Kala Bhavan was established in the year 1920 A.D. by Rai Krishandas. In the main hall of the Bharat Kala 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 Mount Govardhana. Many images in the Bharat Kala Bhavan confirm to the existence of Krishna cult in Kashi in 15th and 16th century.
Bharat Kala Bhavan also has a great collection of miniature paintings from the courts of Mughals and other Kingdoms and principalities. Some of the important sections in the Bharat Kala Bhavan are Mahamana Malaviya gallery, Nicholas Roerich gallery, Chhavi (Painting Gallery), sculpture gallery, Nidhi (Treasures) gallery, sculpture gallery, archaeological gallery, decorative art gallery and Banaras "through ages" gallery.

9.) The Ramnagar Fort
It lies about 14 km. from Varanasi and is situated on the opposite bank of river Ganges. It is the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Banaras. Maharaja Balwant Singh built this fort-palace in the eighteenth century.

The fort is built in red sandstone. The Ramnagar fort has a temple and a museum within the grounds and the temple is dedicated to Ved Vyasa, who wrote Mahabharata, the great Indian epic. Legends have it that Ved Vyasa stayed here for a brief period.

The Ramnagar fort houses a museum displaying the Royal collection which includes vintage Cars, Royal palkies, an armory of swords and old guns, ivory work and antique clocks. The Durga Temple and Chhinnamastika Temple are also Located at Ramnagar. A temple of Dakshin Mukhi Hanuman is there. Inside the giant walls of the Ramnagar fort-palace, there is a big clock. This clock not only displays year, month, week and day but also astronomical facts about the sun, moon and constellation of stars. An interesting array of ornate palanquins, gold-plated howdahs and weapons are some of the artifacts on display in the Ramnagar fort-palace museum.

10.) Nepali Temple
Built in Nepali style by the King of Nepal on Lalita Ghat, it is also known as the Kathwala temple because of the magnificent woodwork. Tourist attraction for visitors from all over the world, it is said to be incomparable to any other temple in India. It is said that the workers and the wood was imported from Nepal to build this temple and the its specialty is that termites do not eat the wood used to construct it.

11.) Sarnath Museum

Archaeological museum Sarnath is the oldest site museum of Archaeological Survey of India. It is due to initiative of Sir John Marshall, the then Director General of Archaeology in India. The building was completed in 1910 to house, display and study the antiquities.

There are five galleries and two verandahs on the museum to display the antiquities ranging from 3rd century 12the century A.D. found at Sarnath.

My Regards
I would like to thank all from whom, I have gained whatever little knowledge that I have. To prepare the above description, I have referenced a lot of books as well as Internet. My sincere thanks to all.
Let the Lord of Kashi, Prabhu Vishwanath Bless us all!!

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic! It really takes a lot to collect all the information, present it in its best way to whoever interested. I just saw the number of clicks, its just amazing that lots of people do like your blog. I am sure you will have a fan club, if there is not one already! Great work Alok!