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Varanasi Fast Facts
- State: Uttar Pradesh
- District: Varanasi
- Famous for/as: Pilgrim, Jyotirlinga, Varanasi Saree, Fort, Ganga Ghats
- Population: 3, 682, 194
- Religions: Hindu, Muslims, Buddhists, Christians
- Area: 1,550 km2 (600 sq mi)
- Altitude: 80 m
- Language: Hindi, English
- Best Season: Oct - Mar
- Weather: Summer 30 to 45°C, Winter 5 to 15°C
- Clothing: Summer - Cottons, Winters - Woolens
- Local Transport: Rail, Bus, Taxi, Cycle-Rickshaw, Auto-Rickshaw,
- Pincode: 2210xx
- STDCode: 0542
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
Bihar State Tourist Office
Englishiya Market, Sher Shah Suri Marg, Cantt. Telefax : 2223821
Modern Reception Centre, Sarnath
Government of India Tourist Office, 15 B The Mall, Cantt, Varanasi. Ph : 2501784
Lal Bahadur Shashtri Airport Babatpur Ph. 2622494, 2622090.
Varanasi, India Overview
Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India. Scholarly books have been written in the city, including the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas. Today there is a temple of his namesake in the city, the Tulsi Manas Mandir. One of the largest residential universities of Asia the Benares Hindu University is located here. Varanasi is often referred to as "the city of temples", "the holy city of India", "the religious capital of India", "the city of lights", "the city of learning", and "the oldest living city on earth.
Varanasi, also Benares, Banaras or Kashi, is a city on the banks of the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, 320 kilometres southeast of the state capital, Lucknow. It is holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism.
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Must See Places in Varanasi, India
Varanasi, India History
Varanasi grew as an important industrial centre, famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture. During the time of Gautama Buddha (born circa 567 BC), Varanasi was the capital of the Kingdom of Kashi. Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism here around 528 BC when he gave his first sermon, "Turning the Wheel of Law", at nearby Sarnath. The celebrated Chinese traveler Xuanzang, who visited the city around 635 AD, attested that the city was a centre of religious and artistic activities, and that it extended for about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) along the western bank of the Ganges. Hiuen Tsiang also visited Varanasi in the 7th century; he named it "Polonisse" and wrote that the city had some 30 temples with about 30 monks. The city's religious importance continued to grow in the 8th century, when Adi Shankara established the worship of Shiva as an official sect of Varanasi.
Historians have now ascertained that the Aryans first settled in the middle Ganges valley and by the second millennium BC, Varanasi became the nucleus of Aryan religion and philosophy. The city also flourished as a commercial and industrial center famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, ivory works, perfumery and sculptures
Ganges is said to have its origins in the tresses of Lord Shiva and in Varanasi, it expands to the mighty river that we know of. The city is a center of learning and civilization for over 3000 years. With Sarnath, the place where Buddha preached his first sermon after enlightenment, just 10 km away, Varanasi has been a symbol of Hindu renaissance. Knowledge, philosophy, culture, devotion to Gods, Indian arts and crafts have all flourished here for centuries. Also a pilgrimage place for Jains, Varanasi is believed to be the birthplace of Parsvanath, the twenty-third Tirthankar.