Special Photo Credits – Ms.Pooja Jewrajka
KK Murali the Marketing Head in a company takes us to Benares and gives a detailed account of Dev Deepavalli celebrations there. Varanasi or Benares is a beautiful Indian city on the banks of the River Ganga in the State of Uttar Pradesh. It is considered as one of the holiest cities in India and has played a very important role in the development of Buddhism. Many Hindus in India believe that dying at Varanasi gives you salvation.
KK Murali went with his fellow members of Rotary YUVIS group and saw many places in Benares. Let us see them one by one:
The Shiv Temple atBHU campus
The new Shiv Temple in the BHU campus in Benares is a major attraction for all tourists who come here. Located around 7 km from the Cannt Railway Station in Benares, it is open from four in the morning to 12 noon and then from one in the afternoon until nine in the night. The first week of January is an ideal time to visit this temple. The temple is a must see in tours to Varanasi and is an elegant structure existing since the year 1931. It is around 250 ft high and the design is very similar to the Kashi Vishwanath temple. It was Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya who thought of this temple, which is also called the Birla Temple.
The temple complex has seven temples with the Shiva temple on the ground floor. The Durga temple and the Lakshmi Narayan temple are on the first floor. Murali recounts how the walls of the temple have the whole text of Gita extracts written on them and how enchanting the ambiance here is.
Sarnath is around 10 km from Benares and is famous for its tranquil beauty. Murali and his fellow Rotarians then went to the beautiful land of Sarnath. Here the Sarnath temple was the major attraction. Buddhists world wide come here and look up to this land as the land of the Enlightened one. After Lord Buddha got enlightenment, he came to Sarnath. He gave his first sermon in the Deer Park and the wheel of Law or the Dharmachakra Pravartan started.
Emperor Ashoka erected the Sarnath Stupa here and the Sarnath temple, the museum and the ruins are a sight to behold in tours here.
Murali vividly has taken pictures of this place and takes back with him a valuable travel kitty.
The next stop that the group had was the Sankat Mochan Temple, which is again one of the sacred temples of the Hindu God Lord Hanuman.
This is located on the River Assi and is on the way to the BHU campus and the Durga temple. Built in the early 1900s it is a major sacred attraction in the world.
Kashi Vishwanath temple
Murli says a visit to Benares is incomplete without the visit to the Kashi Vishwanath temple here.With Lord Shiva as its presiding deity, pilgrims and devotees come here and enjoy this Jyotirlingams, which is one of the twelve Jyotirlingams in the world. The main deity here is Lord Visweswara who is the ruler of the Universe.
In Murali’s words
The place is a visual charm for any devotee. Though the roads are narrow and not really maintained, yet there is a certain captivating charm about the whole place. The traffic, the dust, the dirt seems to fade away as we see the swarms of people everywhere and the organized chaos gets into you.You soon begin to like it and things are just moving with a sea of humanity moving towards the ultimate purpose of seeing God. The faith and the spirituality enthrall you and it is an amazing feeling to be here. Benares is a must for those who want to feel closer to spirituality.
Benares City fog
Food Delicacy Recommended by Murali and his Fellow Rotarians
Lal Peda, Jalebi, Kachori, Thandai, Maggai paan notwithstanding the delicious Supari which is a must do here. Benares without a Benares paan is incomplete. Have this he says and enjoy your sweet tooth while you reminisce about the travels here.