River Ganga

River Ganga or the Ganges is a major river of the Indian subcontinent, associated in myth and reality with the land and people of India as well as neighboring countries like Bangladesh. In Hinduism, the river Ganga is personified as Goddess and holds an important place in the Hindu religion. In Hindu mythology, it is believed that bathing in the river Ganga causes the remission of sins and facilitates the attainment of salvation or nirvana. This deep-rooted truth is proved by the fact that people travel from distant places to immerse the ashes of their kin in the waters of the Ganga at Varanasi or other places located on the banks of this holy river. Some of these sacred places, located on the Ganga, are Varanasi, Haridwar and Prayag (Allahabad).

The first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, aptly summarized the importance of River Ganga in the hearts of the Indians, in general, and Hindus, in particular.

"The Ganga, especially, is the river of India, beloved of her
people, round which are intertwined her memories, her hopes
and fears, her songs of triumph, her victories and her
defeats. She has been a symbol of India's age-long culture
and civilization, ever changing, ever flowing, and yet ever
the same Ganga".

Varanasi Ghats

Varanasi or Kashi is older than traditions. Varanasi presents a unique combination of physical, metaphysical and supernatural elements. According to the Hindu mythology, Varanasi liberates soul from human body to the ultimate. It is the Ganga Ghats of Varanasi that complement the concept of divinity. Ghats of Ganga are perhaps the holiest spots of Varanasi. The Ganga Ghats at Varanasi are full of pilgrims who flock to the place to take a dip in the holy Ganges, which is believed to absolve one from all sins.

There are number of temples on the bank of the Ganga river in Varanasi. It is believed that people are cleansed physically, mentally and spiritually at Ganga Ghats. It is at the Ganga Ghats 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.


Temples of Varanasi

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Varanasi is said to be the oldest surviving city of the world. Varanasi is also called as Kashi or Benaras. Being the most venerated pilgrim place in Hindu religion, Varanasi is said to be a museum of temples. Also called the city of temples, Varanasi is home to about 2,000 temples. People from all parts of India as well as the world come to Varanasi to visit these temples, making the holy temples of Varanasi amongst the most visited temples in India. Many important and famous temples are located at Ganga Ghats (river front), adding to the religious value of the holy river, Ganges.

Most of the temples that are located on the Ganga Ghats are old and date back to the medieval period. According to legends the first Siva Jyotirlinga, the fiery pillar of light, came through the earth here and flared into the sky. Therefore Varanasi is also called Kashi, "the City of Light." The Kashi Vishwanath temple, located near the Ganga Ghats, is the most famous and important temple of Varanasi. In this temple resides the guardian of the holy city, Lord Shiva. Other important temples of Varanasi are the new Vishwanath temple, the Sankat Mochan temple, the Durga temple, the Kal Bhairav temple and the Mritunjaya temple.

Bharat Mata Temple | Durga Temple | New Vishwanath Temple |
Sankat Mochan Temple | Tulsi Manas Temple | Vishwanath Temple

Educational Institutes in Varanasi

For centuries, Varanasi, also known as "Sarva Vidya Ki Rajdhani" (capital of knowledge), is reputed as a great centre of education and learning. Itís because since the ancient times, people from all parts of the world have been coming to Varanasi to learn philosophy, Sanskrit, astrology, modern sciences and social science. The first step in the direction of establishing formal educational institute in Varanasi goes back to 1791, when a Sanskrit college was started to train the servants of the East India Company. Mrs. Annie Besant established the Central Hindu School in the last quarter of the 19th century with the aim of imparting modern as well traditional education. The Central Hindu School later formed the core of the prestigious Banaras Hindu University which, at present, is among the leading universities in the world and includes the Institute of Technology, Faculty of Management Studies, Institute of Agricultural Sciences and Institute of Medical Sciences. Other educational institutions of repute in Varanasi are the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University, Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth, Imania Arabic College (Jamia-e-Imania), Udai Pratap College, Institute of Integrated Management and Technology and Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies.

Eventually, the standard of education-in various disciplines such as commerce, science, medical, and engineering and information technology-in these institutes, and the fact that the students completing their education from any of the institutes are given more leverage by the multinationals and top level corporate houses, adds further credibility to the reputation of each. Apart from these institutes dedicated in delivering excellence through quality tertiary education, there are many schools-affiliated with Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)-that instead of focusing on just the academic credibility, strive to provide an all round personality build-up through innovative teaching methodology and extra-curricular activities. However, admission in many of the top primary and secondary schools is fairly tough. Browse through rest of the sections to know in detail about some of the renowned universities and colleges of Varanasi.