Varanasi (Banaras / Kasi)

Varanasi or Banaras -- also well known as Kashi -- is one of the oldest living cities in the world and like most old cities of India, it is closely linked to Hinduism. Come and experience living history when you visit the city during your India tours and travel. Its reputation as an old and enchanting city captivated American novelist Mark Twain who wrote that "Banaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together". The city narrow lanes are charming and so are the shops and eating joints on both sides of the road near the temple, ashrams and river banks.

Located on the banks of the great Ganges and between the Varuna and the Assi streams, from which the city is believed to have got its name, Varanasi welcomes millions of devotees with open arms. It is not that the city is only home to followers of Hinduism for nearby is Sarnath closely associated with the Buddha. Temples abound in the city. There is a temple dedicated to Mother India besides the Durga temple and the Tulsi Manas temple. The city is also the centre of education, art and culture.

Steeped in tradition and mythological legacy, Kashi is believed to have been created by Shiva and Parvati. Revelling in myth and bathed in the holy waters of religion, the city has always attracted pilgrims and worshippers. According to Hindus, the very essence of being in Varanasi is an experience in itself. To every visitor, Varanasi offers a breathtaking experience: watch the rays of the rising sun across the Ganges, the chanting of prayers and temple bells, the ashrams along the banks and smell the fragrance of incense sticks at the many ghats.

Kashi Vishvanath Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. The temple stands on the western bank of the holy river Ganga, and is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, the holiest of Shiva temples. The main deity is known by the name Vishvanatha or Vishveshvara meaning Ruler of The Universe. The Varanasi city is also called Kashi, and hence the temple is popularly called Kashi Vishvanath Temple. The Temple has been referred to in Hindu Scriptures for a very long time and as a central part of worship in the Shaiva philosophy. It has been destroyed and re-constructed a number of times in the history. The last structure was demolished by Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal emperor who constructed the Gyanvapi Mosque on its site.[1] The current structure was built on an adjacent site by the Maratha monarch, Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780.[2] Since 1983, the temple has been managed by the government of Uttar Pradesh. During the religious occasion of Shivratri, Kashi Naresh (King of Kashi) is the chief officiating priest and no other person or priest is allowed to enter the temple sanctorum. It is only after he performs his religious functions that others are allowed to enter. [3] As per Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvati on Mahashivratri and gauna (a ritual associated with consummation of marriage) was performed on Rangbhari Ekadashi. Residents of Kashi - the abode of Lord Vishwanath—celebrate the occasion in a grand style. As per tradition, devotees carried the idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati in a 'palaki' from the house of former mahant of Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Blowing conch, damru and other musical instruments, the devotees went to the sanctum sanctorum of Kashi Vishwanath Temple and offered gulal and rose petals to the deities

Varanasi, also known as Benares,[1] Banaras (Banāras), or Kashi (Kāśī), is the holiest of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism and Jainism, and played an important role in the development of Buddhism. Hindus believe that death at Varanasi brings salvation.[2] It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Varanasi is also known as the favourite city of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva.[3][4] Varanasi is also famous for housing numerous temples. Several temples in Varanasi have great religious and historical importance in Hinduism. There are many temples, erected at different times throughout the history of Varanasi. Some of the popular temples are listed herein.


Nirvikar cahitanya and Sanatan Brahma have assumed the form of Saguna Vishwarupa from the initial Nirgun Roopa or form. The Shiva Shakti roopa became the Purusha (man) and Stree (the woman) again. Prakriti and Purusha (Nature and man) (Shiva-Shakti) were once ordained by Shiva to do tapas in the universe in order to create the best being. He specified the best place for this purpose. When a prayer was held, Nirgun Shiva, with His own powers and aura, created a wonderful city called Panchakoshi. Vishnu, who resided there, spent a lot of time praying to Shiva after which several watersprings originated there. Vishnu was amazed at this wonderous event, and even as he tilled his head, a gemstone fell from his ear. Because of this place, it was also called Manikarnika. The entire Panch Koshi area of Manikarnika waters were then gathered into the Trident by Shiva. Then from the navel of Vishnu was born a lotus flower with Brahma in it. Brahma was ordained by Shiva to create a world, at which Brahma created this wonderful world. It had fifty crore Yojanas of area and fourteen lokas. In order to save the lives of these who are bound by their own actions or karma. Shiva kept panchakoshi city away from the entire universe. In this city, Shiva Himself established the saviour Muktidayak JyotirLinga, which He can never leave.


Shiva The Supreme: Shiva Linga, The Mandala # The frame of the cosmic reality, according to ancient Hindu thought, consists of the three fundamental states called evolution (Shrishthi), existence (sthiti), and involution (samhara) that acts in a cyclic process of infinity. Each one of the forms is controlled by a God, named Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Siva/Shiva (the destroyer); these three Gods are called the Trinity. Shiva, being the last to complete the cycle from where the new cycle starts, is known as Mahadeo, the Supreme Divinity. The iconographic form of the Shiva, the Linga represents the unity of the three states of cosmos (shown in above figure).The Linga consists of the three parts. The first is a square base of three-layers at the bottom showing the three mythical realms (lokas), symbolizing evolution the place of Brahma. The second is an octagonal round form in the middle showing the eight directions, symbolizing existence or perseverance the place of Vishnu; and third is a cylinder at the top with a spherical end, symbolizing involution or completion of the cosmic cycle the place of Shiva. This icon shows the supreme state of integrity, the ultimate form of Shiva linga itself is a symbol of cosmic mandala. As Sadasiva (eternal reality) Shiva is represented as linga, standing also for 'total knowledge'. As Rudra, the destroyer, his consort is Kali. As Bhairava, the terrible destroyer, his consort is Durga. As a jovial god living in the Himalaya his wife is Parvati. As possessor of all forms of divine power Shiva rooms at the bottom of everything that is moving, that is how he is called Ishvara, derived from I-cara, i.e. I the centre, and cara, the rhythm of movement. Shiva is also depicted as cosmic dancer, Tandava Nartakari, the one who keeps up the rhythm of the world in cosmos.

Shiva Linga

Standing on the western bank of India's holiest river Ganges, Varanasi is the oldest surviving city of the world and the cultural capital of India. It is in the heart of this city that there stands in its fullest majesty the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in which is enshrined the Jyotirlinga of Shiva, Vishweshwara or Vishwanatha. Here gravitate the teeming millions of India to seek benediction and spiritual peace by the darshan of this Jyotirlinga which confers liberation from the bondages of maya and the inexorable entanglements of the world. A simple glimpse of the Jyotirlinga is a soul-cleansing experience that transforms life and puts it on the path of knowledge and bhakti. Vishweshwara Jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India. Tradition has it that the merits earned by the darshan of other jyotirlinga scattered in various parts of India accrue to devotee by a single visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodiment of our timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values. The Temple has been visited by all great saints- Adi Shankaracharya, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekanand, Goswami Tulsidas, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Gurunanak and several other spiritual personalities. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple attracts visitors not only from India but abroad as well and thereby symbolises man's desire to live in peace send harmony with one another. Vishwanath being a supreme repository of this spiritual truth thus strengthens the bonds of universal brotherhood and fellow feeling at the national as well as global levels. On January 28, 1983 the temple was taken over by the Govt. of Uttar Pradesh and it's management ever since stands entrusted to a Trust with Dr. Vibhuti Narayan Singh. Former Kashi Naresh, as president and an Executive Committee with Divisional Commissioner as Chairman. The Temple in the present shape was built way back in 1780 by Late Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore. In the year 1785 a Naubatkhana was built up in front of the Temple by the then Collector Mohd. Ibrahim Khan at the instance of Governor General Warren Hastings. In 1839, Two domes of the Temple were covered by gold donated by Punjab Kesari Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. Third dome still remains uncovered, Ministry of culture & Religious affairs of U.P. Govt. is taking keen interest for gold plating of third dome of Temple.

Varanasi Photos

Varanasi Railway Station

Varanasi Train

Varanasi Pooja

Temple Timings

  • 4:00 AM – 11:00 AM – GENERAL DARSHAN
  • 11:30 AM TO 12:00 PM – BHOG AATRI
  • 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM – GENERAL DARSHAN
  • 10:30 PM – SHAYANA AARTI
3.00 A.M. to 4.00 A.M. Mangala Aarti 300.00
3.00 A.M. to 4.00 A.M. Mangala Aarti 1000.00
3.00 A.M. to 4.00 A.M. Mangala Aarti 500.00
3.00 A.M. to 4.00 A.M. Mangala Aarti 1500.00
11.15 A.M. to 12.20 P.M. Bhog/Aarti 125.00
7.00 P.M. to 8.15 P.M. Saptarshee 150.00
9.00 P.M. to 10.15P.M. Night Shringar/Bhog Aarti 150.00
10.30 P.M. to 11 P.M. Night Shayan Aarti FREE




4:00 A.M. TO 6:00 P.M.

Rudrabishek (1 Sastry)

Rudrabishek (5 Sastry)
Rudrabishek (11 Sastry)
Laghu Rudra (11 Sastry)
Maharudra (11 Sastry 11 days)