Varanasi the heart of Hinduism:
It is perhaps the ancient city of Varanasi that is often referred to as the cradle of the Hindu universe. This city is situated right on the banks of the holy river Ganges and is situated around 450 miles to the south of India’s capital Delhi. This city is also known as Banaras or Kashi which are two names that it was known in the city, whereas the Name Varanasi is a more modern one. This is one of the seven most revered cities in Hindu lore and one can find mention of this city even in the ancient Indian texts such as the Puranas.
This is the city ruled by the Hindu deity lord Shiva’ The Destroyer” and the heart of this city if the famous Vishawnath Mandir or temple. It is right to say that Varanasi is to Hinduism, what the Vatican City is to Christianity and Mecca is to Islam. The prime artery of this river is however the banks of the river Ganges or called Ganga in the Indian Languages. The sights and sounds of this city is simply bewildering and awe-inspiring for any first time visitor, and especially so for a foreign visitor.
Through the river Ganges flows the life blood that drives Hinduism and the sights along the banks of the river is ample proof to this effect. There are many Hindus who have taken refuge in this city post retirement and harbor the hope that they can die here in peace. To be able to die in the holy city of Varanasi is a dream cherished by many Hindus. A boat ride along the Ganges here is enough to dispel doubts as how important this river is not just for the Hindus in general but Indian as a nation.
This city is also well known for its crematoriums that are situated right on the banks, for the Hindus believe that the river is the route to salvation. Even the dead from distant places are transported here by boats for the last rights and the burning of the body. For perhaps more than 3000 year this city has been the cradle of Hinduism and great historical travelers have visited this place and written about it in many historical a treatise.
The river water is said to wash away ones sins and grants a person freedom from the cycle of birth and death. Interestingly hardly about 13 kms away from this city was born Buddhism another great world religion and perhaps Varanasi did cast a great influence on that too. The river at Varanasi is the site for almost about 70,000 Hindus taking bath every day in the hope that they are touched by a spiritual energy that only exists here. People not only come here looking for salvation but seeking mental peace, tranquility and oneness with a higher entity. One can usually see the city teeming with visitors from foreign lands who are aware a visit to India isn’t worth it without a visit to this Ancient city of Varanasi.