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Dussehra Festival in India

Dussehra is one of the most important Hindu festivals celebrated all across India with great pomp and gusto. This festival celebrates the victory of good over evil and marks the occasion in the great Indian epic Ramayana when Lord Ram, the good kills Meghnath (Lord of the moon), the bad and Ravana (Of sun race), the ugly to rescue his captive wife Sita.

Did you know that we have mention Dussehra as one of the top reasons to travel in India in October.

The name of the festival is etymologically derived from Ravana. Since Ravana, the wise (he is referred to as great Brahman by his adversary Ram) had 10 heads - which according to the epic Ramayana, he earned from Hindu God Shiva’s blessing - the  killing of Ravana meant the defeat of the one with 10 heads hence the name Dussehra (Das meaning 10 and hara meaning defeat).

Dussehra Festival in India
In India, the festival is celebrated on a large scale in different parts of the country. The manner in which it is celebrated is different all across the country. As the place of its celebration changes in the country, the celebration type also changes. While it is known as Durga Puja in Kolkata, it is Dasara in Mysore and Navaratri in Gujarat. The varied style of celebration makes it the most loved and popular festival. This colorful festival has much more to it which is further discussed in our following segment. Most popular places for attending Dussehra in India are Kullu in Himachal Pradesh and Mysore in Karnataka.

Flipping back the pages

Dusshera is a festival which is celebrated in the country from years. It is important for all to know the significance of the festival. We hope that this helps you in knowing about the history which makes us celebrate this festival today.

According to the Hindu religion, on the day of Dusshera in the Treta Yug, Lord Rama killed demon Ravana who abducted Lord Rama’s wife Sita. Lord Rama along with his brother Lakshmana, Hanuman and an army of monkeys fought a battle to rescue Sita. This entire story is recorded in the epic Ramayana. Lord Rama prayed to Maa Durga who blessed him and gave him knowledge to kill Ravana. Lord Rama and his team defeated Ravana on the day of Ashwin Shukla Dashami.  The day later was termed as Vijaya Dashami. From then, the day is celebrated on a grand scale to remember the victory of good over evil. Huge effigies of Ravana, his son Meghnath and brother Kumbhkaran are burnt on this day. All this is done to signify the end of evil.

Customs and rituals

Navratri festival precedes Dusshera. Navratri is a festival where Maa Durga and Lord Rama are worshipped for nine days. With the coming of Dusshera, people start cleaning and decorating their homes with beautiful items like flowers, leaves and bead strings. Puja is performed on a large scale to seek blessings of Maa Durga and Lord Rama.

One main ritual of Dusshera is Ravan Dahan. Ten heads of demon Ravana are burnt which symbolize the evil inside a human being. By burning the effigies, people pray to get rid of all these evils:
  • Kama vasana: Lust
  • Krodha: Anger
  • Moha: Attachment
  • Lobha: Greed
  • Mada: Over Pride
  • Matsara: Jealousy
  • Swartha: Selfishness
  • Anyaaya: Injustice
  • Amanavta: Cruelty
  • Ahankara: Ego

There is one more ritual as per which, people worship their weapons, pens and other instruments. All these things act as a symbol of fighting injustice.

Major Celebrations

Dusshera is celebrated on a large scale in:
  • Kullu: Kullu Dusshera is celebrated in the Dhalpur maidan in the Kullu Valley. The celebrations of the festival begin on Vijay Dashmi and they continue for seven days. It celebrates the triumph of Lord Ram over evil.
  • Mysore: Dasara in Mysore is a 10-day long celebration. The festival celebrated victory of good over evil. It is celebrated to recall the day when Maa Durga killed demon Mahishasur.
  • Varanasi: Ram Nagar in Varanasi is a place which celebrates Dusshera in a unique manner. During the celebrations, multi-stage performances are given by different artists. Sadhus from different parts of the country come here to recite Ramayana. The celebrations go on for 31 days.
  • Delhi: The capital city showcases a unique blend of Ramlila and Durga Puja. Around 1000 Ramlila programs and 250 Puja pandals are organized in the city. The celebration is completed by burning cracjer-stuffed effigies of Ravana and feasting with family and friends.
  • Kota: A huge Dusshera Mela is organized at Kota, Rajasthan. The Mela is organized for three days and it has decorated shops which offer handicrafts, rides and food items. On the last day of the festival, effigies of Ravana are burnt to recall the victory of good over evil. 
  • Bastar: Dusshera is the most important festival in Bastar. During the festival, all the deities from all the villages come together to the temple of Danteshwari in Jagdalpur. Here, the festival is celebrated completely for the devotion towards Goddess Danteshwari Devi.

  • Kolkata: In Kolkata, the celebrations are known as Durga Puja. It is one of the most awaited festivals of West Bengal. During the festival, all the streets remain crowded and huge Pandal’s are set up to celebrate the festival.

Dusshera Mela

Dusshera Mela is organized in different parts of the country to add to the celebrations of the festival. The Mela is a complete riot of colors where people come with their family and friends to enjoy the festival. The Dusshera Mela houses a number of well-decorated shops offering local handmade items, food and toys. Cultural performances are given by different artists to entertain the public. Dancing competitions are also organized for the public where families perform together. At the end of the festival, effigies of the demons are burnt which is followed by feasting.

Dusshera is considered the most auspicious day of the year. Those who wish to start a new venture, choose this day with a wish to get success. The festival is a part of a long celebration which starts from Navaratri to the tenth day- Dusshera and Diwali which is celebrated after 20 days. The festival brings in with it a lot of colors, celebrations and happiness which is enjoyed by all.
Truth is always victorious! Celebrate the victory of good over evil this Dusshera.

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Festivals in India in October 2014
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Festivals in India in October 2014

Festivals in India are times when families, friends and even entire communities come together to mark the occasion The air is redolent with the color and enthusiasm. There's joy, celebrations and events to mark the religious and cultural fests in India. The festivities are further enhanced by colorful lights, music and dance.

From the dances and rituals to mark the victory of good over evil across India to world's largest cattle fair in Pushkar, festivals in India in October give you ample reasons to pack your bags and head to the locations where they are celebrated at their best.

Here are the most important fair & festivals in India in October in no particular order:

Navratri Festival

Navaratri Festivals
A nine-day festival, Navaratri is when Mother Goddess is worshipped in all her manifestations. These manifestations include Maa Durga, Saraswati and Lakshmi.

During this festival, devotees worship and fast all day. At night, devotees enjoy the festival with dancing and feasting. The festival ends with Dussehra on the tenth day. Plays are organized all over Delhi and they feature the Navaratri celebrations. 

When: 25 September- 3 October, 2014

Where: All across India. Celebrated particularly in Gujarat, Mumbai, Varanasi, Mysore and Manali

Mysore Dasara

Mysore Dasara Festivals
Yes! Mysore Dussehra festival has something different to it. The festival is celebrated on a large scale. The festival is celebrated to honor the Goddess Chamundeswari who killed the great demon Mahishasur. It is celebrated to enjoy the victory of good over evil. 

When: 25 September- 4 October, 2014


Where: Mysore, Karnataka


Jaipur Shopping Festival

Jaipur Shopping Festival in India
Jaipur shopping festival is India’s biggest shopping festival which runs for a month. The festival features more than 7,000 retailers who come from major markets of the city. The craft bazaar showcases the best handicrafts which have been designed by local and national artisans. And shopping is not all! The festival brings along, tons of entertainment in the form of music, plays, folk dancing, competitions, fireworks and fashion shows. 

When: 25 September – 23 October, 2014
Where: Different locations in Jaipur, Rajasthan

Durga Puja Festival

Durga Puja Festivals

Durga Puja is celebrated in the honor of warrior Goddess Durga. During this festival, one can witness beautifully handcrafted statues of Maa Durga which are installed all around the city. People from different places roam around the streets to see the statues of Goddess Durga. At all the streets, there are different light shows and food stalls offering lip smacking dishes. All the statues of Maa Durga are paraded throughout the city before they are submerged into the river. 
When: 1-4 October, 2014
Where: Kolkata, West Bengal

Matsya Festival

Matsya Festival
It is the Matasya Festival which provides a look of the Rajasthani culture and heritage at its best. This colorful festival has a number of attractions including folk music, folk dance, exhibitions, competitions and sports. 


When: 2-3 October, 2014
Where: Alwar, Rajasthan


Ashwa Poojan

Ashwa Poojan Festival
Ritual performance
Ashwa Poojan is a unique Rajasthani festival which is well-known as the Worship of the Horse. It is celebrated on a grand scale by the Mewar royal family of Udaipur on the last day of Navaratri. 

The festival celebrates and honors the relationship between the warrior and horse. So, the royal horses are worshipped by the current head of the royal family which is accompanied by the palace band. The key highlight of the festival is the mouth-watering Rajasthani cuisine which is served during the festival.


When: October 3, 2014
Where: Udaipur City Palace, Rajasthan

Dussehra

Dussehra Festival
Dussehra is celebrated on the tenth day of the Navaratri festival. The festival is all about celebrating the victory of good over evil. 

It recalls the defeat of Ravana by Lord Rama. During the festival, a number of fairs are organized wherein the large models of Ravana are burnt on bonfires.

When: October 4, 2014
Where: Particularly in North India

Kullu Dussehra
Kullu Dussehra Festival
Ceremony in Kullu
Kullu Dussehra is a week-long festival during which Goddess Hadimba is carried from the temple in Manali down to Kullu. From here, she is taken to the palace where she blesses the royal family. The goddess is then taken to Dhalpur where the idol of Lord Raghunath joins. Gods and goddesses from all over the valley come to meet Hadimba and Lord Raghunath. Further, they are taken to the Dhalpur Maidan where they stay till the end of the festival. There are cultural performances and exhibitions which are organized during this festival. Lastly, the chariot carrying Goddess Hadimba and Lord Raghunath is taken to Beas River. Here, a pile of thorn bushes are burnt to show the burning of Lanka. 

When: 3-9 October, 2014
Where: Dhalpur Maidan, Kullu Vallery, Himachal Pradesh

Marwar Festival

Marwar Festival
This festival mainly celebrates the culture of Rajasthan’s Marwar region. The festival lasts for two days over the full moon. It is organized to remember medieval heroes of the state.

Classical folk dance and music is the key highlight of this festival. There are many fun activities which are organized including horse riding, horse polo and camel tattooing.

When: October 7-8, 2014.
Where: Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

Rajasthan International Folk Festival

Rajasthan International Folk Festival
Rajasthan International Folk Festival
The Rajasthan International Folk Festival is a unique one where in regional root music and art is presented. A number of things are organized during this festival such as jam sessions, interactive educational events and staged performances. The public gets to enjoy great performances of dancers, singers, instrumentalists and storytellers who come from different Rajasthani folk communities. Performances are also given by nationally and internationally renowned artists. The festival is organized in Mehrangarh fort and this further adds to the colors of the festival.

When: 8-12 October, 2014
Where: Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan

[ Read More about Folk Sounds of Rajasthani Music


Diwali

Diwali Festival
Diwali is celebrated all over India as the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. It represents the beginning of the Hindu New Year. During this festival, people light diyas and candles in their houses. Fireworks are let off all around to add to the celebrations. People clean up their houses and decorate them with Rangoli. Also, people buy new clothes, gamble and exchange gifts and sweets with family and friends.

When: 23 October, 2014
Where: Throughout India, except in the southern state of Kerala

Chhath Puja

Chhath Puja Festival
A homage to sun god
Chhath Puja is mainly a north Indian festival and is celebrated by people in Bihar Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. In Chhat Puja, all the devotees worship the sun.

They offer prayers to the Sun God at the time of sunset. Women sing hymns and songs during the festival. They also fast and pray for the well-being of their family and friends. 

When: 27- 30 October, 2014 
Where: Bihar, Jharkhand and U.P



Pushkar Camel Fair

Pushkar Camel Fair Festival
Pushkar Camel Fair is a traditional Indian style festival in which around 50,000 camels come together on the desert town, Pushkar. All these camels are dressed up and for them, beauty contests, parades and races are organized. From 3rd to 6th November, the festival changes its focus to the religious celebrations.

When: 30 October- 6 November, 2014
Where: Pushkar, Rajasthan

Kolayat Fair (Kapil Muni Fair)

Kolayat Fair Festivals
Camel trading at Kolayat
Kolayat Fair is the biggest of all fairs which is organized in Rajasthan. A huge cattle fair is organized along with a pilgrimage to the town’s holy lake. In the festival, camels, buffaloes, horses and cattle’s are traded. People take a sip in the holy lake and float diyas in the lake. 

When: October 30-November 6, 2014
Where: Kolayat (near Bikaner), Rajasthan





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Best Museums in India for Cultural Insights

As per the dictionary a museum myo͞oˈzēəm/ - noun is a building in which objects of historical, scientific, artistic, or cultural interest are stored and exhibited. Museums in any country are great insights into the cultural heritage of a country. These repositories of art, science and culture offer great insights into a nation's road to civilization and progress. So when we say that if you are traveling in India - notwithstanding the fact whether you are an Indian or a traveler from overseas - you should visit some of the best museums in India to get a peek into the soul and character of this nation and see the evolution of this country from the ancient ages into a progressive nation that it is now.

To make it simpler, we have listed below the top 10 popular museums in India. All these museums are architecturally beautiful and they have unique collections of the artifacts belonging bygone era as well as the modern marvels. A visit to any of these museums is your insight into India's rich culture, art, science and traditions. So here we go with the list of best museums in India for cultural insights into this incredible country.

1. National Museum, Delhi

 National Museum, Delhi
National Museum - One of the largest museums in India
National Museum is one of the largest museums in India. It was constructed long back in the year 1949 in Delhi. This museum is a must-visit for those who wish to turn back the pages of history. The museum presents a collection of luxury coaches of trains, paintings, jewellery, armors, decorative arts and manuscripts. One section of the museum has a big Buddha statue which was constructed by Sovereign Ashoka in the 3rd century BC.

2. Government Museum, Chennai

Government Museum, Chennai
Government Museum in Chennai
Also known as Madras Museum, Government Museum is the second largest museum in India. The museum was established in 1851. The museum has the finest masterpieces related to art, archaeology, anthropology, numismatics and many more fields. There some sections in the museums which show the main times of South India. The museum has a special section for children also. Book lovers will love the museum as it has a well-stocked library with a good collection of books.

3. Indian Museum, Kolkata

Indian Museum, Kolkata
Indian Museum in Kolkata
Indian Museum was established by Asiatic society of Bengal in 1814 in Kolkata. The museum is well-known for its unique collection of armors, ornaments, Mughal paintings and skeletons. The museum is divided into 6 sections wherein there are galleries having creative and scientific work of arts. These include works of geology and archaeology. It is one of the oldest museums of the world and a popular attraction of Kolkata.

4. Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai

Prince of Wales Museum, Mumbai
Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai
Founded in the early years of the 20th century, Prince of Wales Museum is located in the center of Mumbai near the Gateway of India. The museum has three sections, namely the natural history section, archeology section and art section. All the sections also showcase different work of arts which come from the Gupta and Chaulkyas era.

5. Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad

Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad
Salar Jung Museum in Darulshifa, Hyderabad
Salar Jung Museum is located in Hyderabad. The museum has an exclusive collection of textiles, clocks, paintings, metallic artifacts and carvings. All these come from different parts of the world including Egypt, China, North America, Nepal, Europe, Burma and India. The museum is known as an institution of National importance which was acknowledged by the Indian Parliament. Special exhibitions and workshops are organized every year in the museum.

6. Shankar’s International Dolls Museum, Delhi

Shankar’s International Dolls Museum, Delhi
The International Dolls Museum - A large collection of dolls in Delhi
Located in Delhi, Shankar’s International Dolls Museum has the largest collection of dolls. The museum has two sections; one section has dolls collected from European countries such as UK, USA, New Zealand and Australia and the other section has dolls from Asian countries such as Middle East, Africa and India. On their visit to the museum, visitors can also have a look at the wide collection of costume dolls which represent Indian tradition and dances.

7. National Rail Museum, Delhi

National Rail Museum, Delhi
The National Rail Museum in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi
Children’s all time favorite, the National Rail Museum has a vast collection of displays of Indian rails. Situated in the heart of Delhi, the museum covers an area of 10 acres. The museum also has a collection of working models, historical photographs and antique furniture. Old coaches of Maharaja’s are displayed in the museum. The key attraction of the museum is Fairy Queen which is one of the best preserved steam locomotive engines.

8. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai

 Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai
 Bhau Daji Lad - The oldest museum in Mumbai
The oldest museum in Mumbai, the Bhau Daji Lad Museum was established in 1855. The museum houses beautiful decorative and industrial arts of the 19th century. It also has historical photographs of Mumbai, copper and silver ware and costumes. The most important of all collections is the 17th century manuscript of Hatim Tai. There is a monolithic basalt elephant sculpture installed which originated from Elephanta Island.

9. Calico Museum, Ahmedabad



Calico Museum, Ahmedabad,Gujarat
Calico Museum in Ahmedabad,Gujarat
A famous attraction of Ahmedabad, Calico Museum was established in the year 1949 by Gautam Sarabhai and his sister Gira Sarabhai. The museum has a collection of fabrics which comes from the pre-historic times. The museum leaves the visitors enthralled with its art work. All the textiles which are displayed in the museum come from the exclusive collection of Mughal rulers.

10. Napier Museum, Thiruvananthapuram

Napier Museum, Thiruvananthapuram
Napier Museum in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
Napier Museum is the oldest museum in Thiruvananthapuram. It was constructed back in the 19th century. The museum takes its name from Lord Napier who was the Governor of Madras. The museum has a collection of historic artifacts which include Kathakali puppets models, Kerala chariots, musical instruments and bronze idols of gods and goddess. Visitors can have a close look of the the culture and history of Kerala through this museum.

[Explore Best Museums and Art Galleries in India at Indianholiday.com]

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Travel Guide to Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi

The glorious Humayun’s tomb, in New delhi, is known to be the first significant display of Mughal architecture in India.

Built after Humayun’s death, by Humayun’s wife Bega Begam, the Humayun’s tomb gained popularity for being the first garden tomb in the country.

Built completely out of red sandstone, UNESCO included The Tomb in the list of World Heritage Site in the year 1993.


Humayun’s Tomb, New Delhi

Location: Opp. Dargah, Nizamuddin, Mathura Road, New Delhi

Built by: Bega Begam

Built in: 1565 A.D

How to Reach: Local transports including taxis or buses are easily available to reach Humayun’s Tomb within the capital city. The nearest metro station to Humayun’s Tomb is Pragati Maidan station which is at a distance of 5 km. The distance between Delhi Airport and Humayun’s tomb is 19 km and it is only 1 km away from Nizamuddin railway station.

Best time to visit: Due to the scorching heat of New Delhi in summers, winters are the best season to visit the Red Fort.

Entry Fee: Rupees 10 for Indians and Rupees 250 for foreigners

Timings: Everyday Sunrise to sunset

Introduction

The Humayun's Tomb is a glorious example of the architectural superiority of Mughal Empire and holds the testimony for their skilled craftsmanship. Included in the list of every itinerary to Delhi, the Tomb is a must visit monument. The mausoleum, built by Humayun’s Widow Bega Begam, has a complex structure, but retains her grandeur and charm amongst the thousands of tourists, that visit the Humayun's Tomb, from all over the world.

The classical touch of Islamic architecture is visible amongst the geometric patterns, high arches, round domes and lattice stone windows in the tomb. The structure of Humayun’s Tomb is quite similar to that of the famous Taj Mahal.

Being one of the most stunning monuments in Delhi, the tomb was recognized as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Surrounded by vibrant Mughal gardens and pathways separating them in to four parts and numerous fountains, till today, The Tomb remains as one of the leading attractions of Delhi, luring tourists from all over the world.

History

After Humayun’s death in 1556, Bega Begum or Haji Begum, Humayun's first wife, was extremely upset and she decided to dedicate her whole life for the construction of a grand mausoleum in the Empire, to commemorate and remember her late husband. After coming back from Mecca where she went for Hajj Pilgrimage, Begum ordered the construction of Humayun’s Tomb.

Humayun’s tomb History

For the purpose, a Persian architect namely Mirak Mirza Ghiyas was invited from Heart. But, as tragedy would have it, the architect died before completing the project. Then, the construction was looked after by Ghiyas’ son, Sayyed Muhammad ibn Mirak Ghiyathuddin who finished the construction in 1972.

After a while, The Mughal Empire started to decline which led to the destruction of Mughal architectural site as well. The popular Charbagh (Four-square) gardens were completely destroyed by British after the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was captured during The Revolt of 1857. The Mughal Gardens in the tomb were changed to English style gardens by 1860. The true Mughal style of gardens was restored in 20th century, by Viceroy Lord Curzon during the restoration project in 1903–1909.

In August 1947, when India and Pakistan divided, large population of Muslims found refuge in Humayun's Tomb. A lot of damage was done to the tomb during this time. Later, the gardens and the buildings in the tomb were reconstructed by The Archeological Survey of India (ASI), who decided to preserve India’s Heritage Sites. In 1993, when the monument was include in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list, ASI with aids from Aga Khan Trust began a rigorous restoration project of the tomb which was finished by 2003.

Major Attractions

There are numerous attractions inside the magnificent Humayun's Tomb and therefore only it is a truly grand structure. There are beautiful bath chambers (hammam) and pavilions (baradari) inside the tomb, which is completely made of red sandstone except the dome, which is built with shining white marble. Tourists can also witness the octagonal chambers that comprises of the tomb of Humayun. Besides Humayun’s tomb, the tourist can also view the graves of various Mughal princes including Dara Shikoh (Shah Jahan's son), Bahadur Shah Zafar (Last Mughal Emperor) and Hamida Begum (Akbar's mother).

Some Fascinating Facts on Humayun’s Tomb
  •  The inspiration of the monument was the tomb of Oljeytu, Persian Mongol ruler, located at Sultaniyya.
  •  After fourteen years of Humayun’s death, the construction for the tomb was started. 
  •   The architecture of the tomb was a Persian Architect namely Mirak Mirza Ghiyuath.
  •   Located nearby the Humayun’s Tomb is the Old fort or Purana Qila. 
  •   The location for the construction of the tomb was chosen to be the banks of Yamuna River, as it was closer to Nizamuddin Dargah, the mausoleum of Nizamuddin Auliya, the renowned Sufi saint.
  •  Crowning the Humayun's Tomb is a sparkling white dome made out of shiny white marble, with a 42.5 m long spire on top of it. The monument is rising from a couple of huge platforms, on top of each other that are joined together by a flight of stairs.
  •  The tomb is constructed in a peculiar fashion. With each step you take inside the tomb, the path start to ascend gradually and the height of the tomb keeps on increasing.
  •   The majestic grave of Mughal Emperor Humayun is surrounded by adjoining rooms in which the tombs of a couple of Emperor Humayun’s wives or begums and tombs of other Mughal Emperors are kept.
  •  For the construction of Humayun’s Tomb, approximately a wealth of Rupees 1.5 million was spent by the Mughal Empire. The whole project took a time period of approximately 8 years to be completed.
  •  The idea for using the four –quartered gardens was given to Mughal architects by Humayun's Tomb.
  •  The Persian double dome structure was first used in construction of Humayun’s Tomb.
  •  The architecture of magnificent Taj Mahal, which is included in the list of Seven Wonders of the World, was inspired from the architecture of Humayun’s Tomb. The Tomb was inspiration for many other Mughal architectural innovations as well.

[Explore Delhi Tour Packages at IndianHoliday.com]

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Last updated on 17th September 2014 by
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Kashi Vishwanath Temple: Manifestations of Shiva

The oldest and the holiest place among the Hindus, Varanasi, along the banks of the sacred Ganga is also considered as the cultural city in India. The river bank is dotted with numerous temples and shrines of several gods and goddesses.

According to the Rigvedas, Varanasi is the favorite city of Lord Shiva. So in his high reverence, the Kashi Vishwanath temple stands in its splendor. It holds one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and attracts a large number of pilgrims to the site. The architecture of the temple is noteworthy and is also known as the Golden Temple, because of the gold used in the making of the tall spire and the dome. All devoted Hindus aspire to visit this site once before they die, for they believe that liberation from worldly thing can be achieved here.

[Also Check out the 12 Jyotirlingas Tour Package]

Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Location:

Along the western banks of holy river Ganga, lies the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh State, India. It is located 5 km away from the Varanasi railway station and is fairly close to the Banaras Hindu University. Varanasi is the oldest city in the country and serves as the center for the Hindu religion.

Who Built it:

The reference of the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been made in the Hindu scriptures, as one of the prime Lord Shiva centers. It is believed that the structure was demolished and remade several times, the last person to reconstruct it was Maratha monarch, Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore in 1780. However, now the temple is managed by the government of Uttar Pradesh.

How to reach in Varanasi:

Varanasi, the cultural and religious capital brings forward a large number of devotees to the spot. It is made readily accessible through advanced transport network services.

By air: Varanasi is well connected to the major cities of the country by air, daily domestic flights run to and fro from here. Babatpur Airport is 22 km from Varanasi.

By rail: The location of Varanasi makes it easily accessible to the rest of the country. There are two railway stations in the city: the Kashi Junction and the Varanasi Junction/ Varanasi Cantonment. Mughalsarai, another station just 10 km south of Varanasi.

By road: many public and private buses and other vehicles run on the NH2 (National Highway), which connects Kolkatta to Delhi. Varanasi is also linked with NH7.

Best time to visit in Varanasi:

Varanasi experiences Summer, Monsoon, however the best time to visit is in between the months of October to March.

Summer:
It starts from April to June and is quite hot during the time, with temperature ranging from 32 to 46 degree Celsius.

Monsoon:
The climatic condition during the monsoon is harsh, it is hot and humid with moderate rainfalls.

Winter:
It is an ideal time to visit Varanasi during the winter season. The temperature ranges from 5 to 15 degree Celsius. The pleasant season starts from October and lasts till March.
  
Interesting Facts:
  • Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the most popular temple among the Hindus, placed in the holiest Hindu place too, and the main deity is addressed as Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara, which means, ruler of the World.
  • The temple has been demolished and reconstructed many times, the last was torn down by Aurangzeb and he started a mosque on the site.
  • The temple preserves one of the twelve Jyotirlingams, it is considered very holy and believed that even a glance of Jyotilinga delivers liberation from Maya and materialistic entanglements.
  • According to a legend, the Jyotilingam is basically a pointless reality, from where Lord Shiva appears, more like a column of light. 
  • It is believed that originally there were 64 Jyotilingas, only 12 of them are considered holy. The 12 Jyotilingams are at Gujarat, Somnath, Malikajurna, MAhakaleshwar, two in Madhya Pradesh, Andra Pradesh, two in Maharashtra, Varanasi, Himalayas and in Tamil Nadu.
  • The Kashi Vishwanath Temple holds the highest of Hindu spiritual values.The Manikarnika Ghat on the banks of the Ganges, close to the temple is considered as a Shakti Peetha, a holy place for worship for the sect called Shaktism.
  • The temple complex consists of several other shrines, placed along a small lane called the Vishwanatha Galli.However the main temple is ornamented by the shrines of other gods. The temple has a 15.5 m high gold spire and gold dome, three domes made up of pure gold.
  • Inside the temple is a small, well, called Jnana Vapi, it is believed that the Jyotilingam was hidden in this well, to protect from the invaders.
  • Around 3000 visitors come to the Kashi Vishwanath everyday.
  • There is a popular belief that Shiva himself chants some words of salvation into the ears of people who choose to end their lives at the Vishwanath temple.

Places of Interest:
  • Visit the Temples, it is an obvious thing you will do once you are in Varanasi, enjoy the evening Aarti in the temple.
  • The Ghats along the Ganges.
  • Sarnath is near Varanasi, and it is where the Lord Buddha preached his first sermon.
[Explore Temple Tour Packages at IndianHoliday.Com]

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