Varanasi, situated on the banks of the sacred Ganges, is one of the most important pilgrimage sites in India and also a major tourist attraction. Ghats : Varanasi's principal attraction is the long string of bathing ghats which line the west bank of the Ganges. The best time to visit the ghats is at dawn when the light is magical and Varanasi looks an exotic place. Golden Temple : The temple, with gold plating was built in 1776. Near the temple, which is interesting to visit in the evening, are narrow alleys filled with many shops. Great Mosque of Aurangzeb : This great mosque has minarets towering 71 mtr. above the Ganges. Durga Temple : It was built in the 18th century by a Bengali maharani and is stained red with ochre. The small temple is built in north Indian Nagara style with a multitiered sikhara. Tulsi Manas Temple : This modern marble sikhara-style temple is next to the Durga Temple. The walls of the temple are engraved with verses and scenes from the Ram Charit Manas, the Hindi version of the Ramayana. Benares Hindu University : The university was founded by Pandit Malaviya as a centre of education in Indian art, culture and music, and for the study of Sanskrit. The Bharat Kala Bhavan at the university has a fine collection of miniature paintings and also sculptures from the 1st to 15th centuries. New Vishwanath Temple : It is about a 30-minute walk from the gates of the university. The interior has a Siva lingam and verses from Hindu scriptures inscribed on the walls. The temple is supposed to be a replica of the original Vishwanath Temple.



Alamgir Mosque : It was built by Aurangzeb and is a curious Hindu/Muslim mixture . Bharat Mata Temple : Dedicated to 'Mother India', this temple has a marble relief map of India. It gives an excellent impression of the high isolation of the Tibetan plateau. The temple was opened by Mahatma Gandhi. Ram Nagar Fort and Museum : This 17th century fort is the home of the Maharaja of Benares. The interesting museum contains old silver and brocade palanquins for the ladies of the court, elephant howdahs made of silver,old brocades and an armoury of swords and old guns.



Varanasi is famous all over India for silk brocades and beautiful Benares saris. There is a market near the GPO called Golghar where the makers of silk brocades sell directly to the shops in the area. You can get cheaper silk brocade in this area than in the big stores. The big shops selling silk brocades are all in the Chowk area of the old cities.



GETTING THERE AND AWAY AIR Varanasi is on several Indian Airlines routes including the popular daily tourist shuttle Delhi/Agra/Khajuraho/Varanasi and back. There are also flights to Lucknow, Jaipur and Bhubaneswar. BUS From the bus station opposite the main (Varanasi Junction) railway station there are frequent departures to Jaunpur, Allahabad, Lucknow, Faizabad, and Gorakhpur. There are morning and evening buses to Saunali. TRAIN There are three railway stations - Kashi, City and Varanasi Junction (also known as Varanasi Cantonment), which is the main station. From Varanasi Junction, expresses take 13 to 16 hours to Delhi and 13 hours to Calcutta . The Rajdhani Express is the fastest train to Delhi or Calcutta and it depart from Moghulserai in the middle of the night. Other expresses run to Bombay, Madras, Allahabad, Patna, Lucknow, Jaunpur and Gorakhpur. For Khajuraho take the overnight 4248 Varanasi-Bombay Express to Satna and a bus from there to Khajuraho.

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