#1 of 24 Things to do in Varanasi | Added 12950 times in trip plans
Dharmpal Rd, 10 Km North of Varanasi, Varanasi, India
An old Buddhist story tells us the Bodhisattva is a deer and offers his life to the king. The king was planning to kill the doe for his feast. He was so moved that he created a park as a sanctuary for deer. Sarnath from Saranganath means “lord of the Deer”. Sarnath is a city located 13 kilometres north-east of Varanasi. It is near the confluence of the Ganges and the Gomati rivers in Uttar Pradesh, India. The deer park in Sarnath is where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma. This is where the Buddhist Sangha (society) came into existence.
Sarnath is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage centres in India. It is also an important place for the followers of Jainism. In the 3rd century BC, Emperor Ashoka had elegant stupas and monasteries built here. In AD 640, Sarnath had a 100m-high stupa and 1500 monks living within the monasteries. But Buddhism went into decline and when Muslim invaders attacked the city, Sarnath sank into oblivion. British archaeologists brought back the glory of Sarnath in 1835.
Sarnath is a place of pilgrimage, both for Buddhists from India and abroad. Buddhism is a major religion in Thailand, Tibet, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. They have established monasteries in Sarnath in their typical style. Pilgrims and visitors get an overview of Buddhist architecture for various cultures. Sarnath became a prominent centre of Buddhism in the Gupta period. There was an abundance of carved sculptural art and this gave rise to the Sarnath School of Art. This school is known for its simplicity of forms and sublimity. Chaukhandi is the first monument one encounters in Sarnath. It is a lofty mound of brick work whose square edifice is surrounded by an octagonal tower. The most remarkable structure at Sarnath is the cylindrical Dhamek stupa. This is built part stone and part brick. The stone facing the lower part is adorned with delicate floral carvings of the Gupta origin.
Sarnath attracts visitors and followers especially on Purnima, informally Buddha's birthday. On this occasion Buddha's life, death and enlightenment are celebrated, usually in April or May.
#2 of 24 Things to do in Varanasi | Added 13329 times in trip plans
Varanasi U.P 221001
The sound of the conch is a call for prayers. Come to the Dasaswamedh Ghat to rejoice in the Agni Puja. Young priests in saffron coloured dhotis starts the aarti by chanting mantras and songs. They light up brass lamps and incense sticks next to the puja thali. This aarti is a dedication to Lord Shiva, River Ganges, Surya, (sun) Agni (fire) and the whole universe.
Dashashwasmedh Ghat is one of the oldest, most spectacular and important ghat. It is located at the bank of the river Ganges near the old Vishwanath Temple. The literal meaning is Dash which means 10, ashwas meaning horse and medh mean sacrifice. There are two mythologies about the ghat. One says Lord Brahma created the ghat to welcome Lord Shiva back from a period of banishment. The other is that Lord Brahma sacrificed 10 horses in a spiritual ritual here. The Dashashwasmedh Ghat was built by the Bajirao Pesava I in 1740 AD. It was restored in 1774 by the Queen of Indore, Ahilyabai Holkar.
Dashashwasmedh is one of the oldest Ghats of Varanasi yet it remains unspoilt and clean. This ghat is famous for the Agni Puja. But a group of sadhus can be seen performing religious activities throughout the day and night. Historically, it is considered as the most favourite and main ghat among the Hindu devotees. It attracts foreigners and pilgrims from all over the world. Along the ghat, there are various religious temples as well as tourists’ destinations. Some of the devotees come here daily in the morning to pay homage. They bathe in the holy Ganges and then offer prayers. The Ghat evokes spiritual thoughts and people meditate here on a daily basis. The beautiful environment, cool, fresh air at the break of dawn is heavenly. Sun rise and Sun set over the water of the Ganges adds glorious colours.
The Ganges Aarti is performed every evening after sunset. Thousands of earthen lamps are immersed in the Ganges. The floating lamps gives the water an ethereal touch. Sit in a boat in the water and watch the lamps float by. A maha Ganges aarti held at the ghat at Kartik Purnima attracts unbelievable crowd.
#3 of 24 Things to do in Varanasi | Added 11534 times in trip plans
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001
03:00 am - 11:00 am
Feel close to God when you are in a temple. Feel blessed to be there and carry this closeness when you return home to your everyday life. Your presence at the temple will give you a clearer sense of purpose and peace. Visit and revel in the history of Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi and receive spiritual perspective.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is also known as the Golden Temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva. In ancient times a beautiful city was built where the rivers Varana and Asi joined the Ganges. Thus the city was named Varanasi. The local tribe called Kasha lived there, so Varanasi was also known as Kashi. Ganges is considered a holy river by Hindus and it flows in the shape of a bow near Varanasi. The main deity in the temple is known as Vishwanatha or Vishweshwara meaning Ruler of the universe. This temple town claims to be the oldest living city in the world with 3500 years of documented history.
The temple is the central part of worship in Shiva philosophy. The temple faced a lot of challenges in history and the current structure was built by the Maratha monarch, Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore. The gold used to cover the two domes of the temple was donated by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, the ruler of Punjab. Since 1983 the temple has been managed by the Uttar Pradesh government.
Inside the temple is the Jyotirlinga of Shiva. A Jyotirlinga is a devotional object representing Lord Shiva. Jyoti means radiance and lingam is the sign of Lord Shiva. It is the Radiant sign of the Almighty. In the Hindu religion, a glimpse of the Jyotirlinga is a soul cleansing experience. It plays a very significant part in the spiritual history of India. It transforms life and puts you in the path of knowledge and devotion. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple Aarti and Kashi Vishwanath Darshan are very popular amongst the Hindu devotees from all over India and abroad. It attracts foreigners as well.
#4 of 24 Things to do in Varanasi | Added 12484 times in trip plans
Varanasi, U.P., India
Manikarnika Ghat is the main cremation Ghat of Varanasi. Manikarnika Ghat is one of the oldest and most sacred Ghats in Benaras. According to the Hindu mythology, being burned here provides an instant doorway to freedom from the cycle of births and rebirths. It is believed Lord Vishnu meditated here for many years and left his footprints in a circular marble slab.
According to mythology Lord Vishnu went through several thousand years of prayers and meditation to appease Lord Shiva. He wanted to convince him not to destroy the holy city of Kashi. Lord Shiva came with Parvathi to grant him the wish. Lord Vishnu dug a well (kund) on the bank of the Ganges for the couple to bathe in. When Lord Shiva was bathing, a Mani from his earring fell into the well hence the name Manikarnika. Mani means beads, Karnam means ear and Angad means ornaments. The other myth is that the ear jewel from Lord Shiva fell down to earth while he was dancing angrily. The temple of Lord Shiva and Mata Durga was built around 1850 by the Maharaja of Awadh. The pond dug by Lord Vishnu is a holy pond called Cakra-Pushkarini. History has it, this kund existed earlier than the origin of the Ganges.
Lying at the centre of the five tirthas, Manikarnika Ghat symbolizes both conception and devastation. Mortal remains are consumed by fire with prayers so that the soul rests in eternal peace. The hot ashes of the burnt bodies makes you ponder over the inevitable destruction of everything in the world. Bodies are brought to the ghat on a bamboo stretcher covered in the red cloth which handled by the Doms. The Ghat is always crowded with funeral parties. Shops nearby sell everything from Ghee, wood, offerings to clothes. Doms who are considered the guardian of death perform the burning ceremonies. Manikarnika Devi who is worshipped by millions every year inhabits the place. The Tarakeshvara Lingam also draws people throughout the year. The busy cremation ground is called Jalasi Ghat. You cannot miss this because of a dark, smoke-stained temple that stands there.
Manikarnika Ghat is one of the sacred ghats in Varanasi which will help you to soak in divinity. The ghat has a lot of religious and historic significance attached to it and hence it is mandatory to explore the same, during your Varanasi trip. Even though the entrance to the ghat is free and there are no Manikarnika Ghat tickets in general, still there are Manikarnika Ghat tours which will give you some enlightenment about the holy place. Buy the Manikarnika Ghat tour tickets and know the historical significance of the same
#5 of 24 Things to do in Varanasi | Added 9855 times in trip plans
Narad Ghat Road, Bangali Tola Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001
12:01 am - 12:00 am
Narada was a celestial sage. He practised sage hood and linked it to self-cultivation and strived for balance. He believed in harmony and human perfection. He dedicated his life into finding a balance between himself and other human beings. He wanted the greater order of things. He emerged from the forehead of Lord Brahma, the Creator. Hindu mythology tells us how he chanted the name Narayana, which is another name for Lord Vishnu. He is regarded as the inventor of the musical instrument veena.
Ghats in Varanasi are riverfront steps leading to the banks of River Ganges. The city has nearly 100 Ghats. Most of the Ghats are used for bathing and puja ceremony. Most of these Ghats were built after 1700 AD when the city was part of the Maratha Empire. The Marathas, Scindias, Holkars, Bhonsles, and Peshwes were patrons who helped build these Ghats. All the Ghats are associated with myths and religious legends. Boat rides at the break of dawn are very popular with tourists.
The previous name of this Ghat is Kuvai Ghat. It was constructed by Dattatreya Swami, a monastery chief, in 1788. The four important idols in the temple at Narad ghat are Naradeshvara, Atrishvara, Vasukishvara and Dattatreyeshvar. Swami Dattatreya is recognized as an Avatar or incarnation of Shiva and as the Adi-Guru (First Teacher) of the Adinath Sampradaya of the Nathas. He was at first a "Lord of Yoga" exhibiting distinct tantric traits. Tantra yoga is a practice that can be used to expand the connection and awareness between couples. This creates a deeper bond spiritually with each other.
However legend has it that couples should not bathe together in this Ghat. The myth states that there will be contention between them in the future. The reason for this is that if you go in to bathe on your own, you will receive moksha for life.
One of the spiritual corners in the religious city of India, Varansi, the Narad ghat is always crowded with devotees. Since this is a spiritual site, there are no tickets for Narad Ghat, however, a tour offers you one of the best ways to go about this attraction along with useful information. As you buy tickets for Narad Ghat tours, you get an easy access to this place, surfing away from all the crowds that can otherwise frustrate you. Narad Ghat tickets for tours are laced with stories and mythologies that surround this attraction. Narad Ghat ticket prices are completely a fair deal when you see the kind of knowledge that the tour offers.
#6 of 24 Things to do in Varanasi | Added 7686 times in trip plans
K-32/22 Bharonath, Vishweshwarganj, Varanasi.
Come out of your worldly difficulties. Your mind is heavy with problems which is crucial. Who can you share them with? Where can you find peace? You cannot think or see clearly at home and you need attention. Enter Kaal Bhairav Temple, the dust of disturbance will be lifted. The fog and haze you are in will settle. You will find a path that did not exist before, find solutions to unanswered questions. See things in a different light, a light that will work through your troubles. The Kaal Bhairav Temple is dedicated to Bhairava, a Hindu deity who is a fierce manifestation of Lord Shiva. He is associated with annihilation. He is one of the most important deities in Nepal, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand.
Legend has it that no one can stay in Varanasi without the permission of God Kaal Bhairav. He wears a garland of skulls and carries and club of peacock feathers. The name Kaal Bhairav stands for both Death and Fate. He is depicted decorated with a range of twisted serpents, as earrings, bracelets, and anklets. He wears tiger skin and a ritual apron made of human bones.
The temple is guarded by Bhairava’s mount, the dog at the entrance. Upon entering you will find a courtyard which hosts the main shrine. His silver face is draped with flowers and can be seen through the doorway of the inner sanctum. The rest of the idol holds a trident and is seated upon a dog. But this is concealed with a cloth drapery. The origin of Bhairava can be traced to the conversation between Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu where Vishnu asked Brahma who is the supreme creator of the Universe. After a battle between them Lord Shiva came out as the supreme creator. In the form of the Kaal Bhairava, Shiva is said to be guarding Kashi. This temple was a spiritual centre for extreme Shiva ascetics, and yogis. Today any one can visit for his blessing. The locals in the Kotwalpuri section of the city reveres this temple and is under its blessings and influence.
You can’t touch your toes? You are not flexible? You are not strong or patient? It does not matter. Everyone starts somewhere. Give yoga a try and control your breathing, move your body and find peace in this crazy life. Join the Yoga Education Training Society and find enlightenment.
The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit root "yuj", which means to yoke. Put the spirit and physical body together with simple movements. Yoga has evolved over thousands of years with a wide range of styles and disciplines. It can be practised by athletes, children, and seniors. It can be modified to suit your level of strength and flexibility. Yoga energises your body and calms your mind. Age does not matter or your physical capabilities. You should be doing Yoga whatever your current weight or fitness goals.
The Yoga Education Training Society is a registered and certified yoga society in holy and old city Varanasi. Their yoga instructor is Somit, who has been practising and teaching yoga for 12 years. He studied under his Guru and with hard discipline and determination. The centre is a non-profit organisation which offers free education for helpless kids. The idea is to enhance their lives and guide them to a better life. These children are slum dwellers or live on the street. They come from abusive parents or no parents at all and some have drug addictions. The main idea is to educate these children and make them feel safe and self-confident. They are given a lot of love so that they can stand on their own feet.
The Yoga Education Training Society offers free Yoga lessons to these kids. They also provide classes for adults separately. All levels of yoga training are taught here. The various forms are Hatha, Asthana, Vinyasa, Vikram, Kundalini, Raja, Pranayama, and Tantra. They also have a Yoga Teacher training programme, Ayurveda, Massage, Reiki, and language classes for Bengali, Hindi and other Indian languages. Students have to follow strict rules and regulation under guidance of the Yoga society. Enrol and do either a 4 hours class or 6 hours a day till you complete 120 hours. After completion they will provide a yoga certificate or license. The fees are very reasonable and range from a week to a month. There are accommodation facilities for travellers and volunteers who wish to work there.
#8 of 24 Things to do in Varanasi | Added 11699 times in trip plans
It was a joyous moment for Goddess Durga. She triumphantly killed the demon Shumba-Nishumba. And to mark her victory she threw her sword in the Assi River. The place where the sword fell resulted in a big stream, known as Assi River. This was then known as Assi Ghat.
Assi ghat is described as Saimbeda Tirtha. This means that if you take a dip in the waters here, even once, all your sins will be washed away for life. Hindu pilgrims come here during the month of March/April which is called Chaitya month and again during Jan/Feb during Magh month. There are significant solar and lunar eclipse months which is called Probodhoni, Ekadashi, Makar, and Sankranti.
There is a big Shiva Lingam under the Peepal tree where pilgrims offer water and worship. This is done after a dip in the Ganges River. There is another Shiva Lingam in a small temple made of marble near Assi Ghat.
Assi ghat is very peaceful and preferred by tourists and locals alike. Researchers, foreign students and other travellers favour this location for its environment. Whenever there is any Hindu festival, people gather here to take a dip in the water to feel cleansed. It sets the mind and body free from depravities and only then the person can concentrate on the Puja. There are a lot of open boats moored by the water’s edge. Most tourists like to take a boat ride to see Varanasi.
On a typical day about 300 people visit every hour in the mornings, and on festival days 2500 people arrive per hour. The ghat accommodates about 22,500 people at once during festivals like Shivratri. It was at Assi Ghat that Tulsidas left for his heavenly abode. After the 2010 Varanasi bombing, the city commissioned extra security to ensure people’s safety.
#9 of 24 Things to do in Varanasi | Added 12514 times in trip plans
Ramnagar Road, Samne Ghat Chaumuhari, Varanasi
05:00 am - 08:00 pm
The Durga temple was constructed in the 18th century by a Bengali Maharani but in a North Indian style. The temple has a rectangular tank of water called the Durga Kund meaning a pond or pool. The pond has stone stairs on all sides and a watch pillar at each corner. It has multi-tiered spires and is red in colour, representing the colour of Durga. The Kund was connected to the river thus the river was always replaced. This channel was later closed locking off the water supply. This is now replenished by rain water.
The temple is also known as monkey temple because of the presence of so many monkeys. Every year on Nag Panchami, the act of depicting Lord Vishnu reclining on a coiled mystical snake or Shesha is recreated in the Kund. According to the Puranas, Goddess Durga protects Varanasi from the South through this temple. It is believed that the idol of Durga was not man made but appeared mysteriously on its own. Durga is represented as the embodiment of female power. She is clad in red, riding a tiger and fully armed with Shiva's trident, Vishnu's discus and a sword. Non-Hindus can enter the courtyard of the Durga temple but not the inner sanctum.
The temple is based on a square shape. It has a square campus. The main building of temple is built on a square shaped stage. The shape of building is also four-sided. The stage of the temple contains rooms in it, which are used for temple's staff purposes and sometimes, for Yagya. The campus is a green campus with trees and plants. Visitor can walk around the main temple building in the campus. According to a religious faith in Hinduism, you should walk around the entire building while praying, so you do it. The walls have ornamental scrawls on them and looks divine. The Durga Mandir has fine stone works, which is a fabulous example of north Indian stone work arts. They are simply fabulous.
#10 of 24 Things to do in Varanasi | Added 7407 times in trip plans
Near Vyas Mandir, Ram Nagar, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh 221001
The Ram Nagar Fort bears brilliant testimony of a civilisation that disappeared. The Moghul Empire. The building was constructed with creamy coloured chunar sandstone. It was built in typical Mughal style of architecture, with engraved balconies, open court yards and rotundas. The fort was built on high ground and is located near the Ganges River on its eastern bank. Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh built it in 1750 and housed a Veda Vyasa Temple, and a residential complex. It also has a museum and a Dakshin Mukhi temple of Hanuman facing the south. The current king, Anant Narayan Singh is the Maharaja of Varanasi though the royal title has been abolished in 1971.
The Ramleela fair started since the 18th century. It’s a month long festival depicting the life of Rama, ending up in ten day battle between Rama and Ravana. This is the story of the epic Ramayana. Ram Nagar got its name from this. Flanked by two white towers, the fort is a residential area of the King of Kashi. A small portion is open for the public, yet its historical look inspires filmmakers to use it for shooting.
The museum is known as the Vidya Mandir or Sarasvati Bhavan Museum and there is the Durbar Hall as well. Together they are a mirror image of courts back in primeval time. The museum houses a variety of Royal collection of old guns and traditional cars. It has an old armoury, swords, old armoured matchlocks and ornate hookahs. The walls are adorned with portraits of Maharajas, and a palki can be found as well. There are daggers, bejewelled sedan chairs, and silver elephant saddles carved in silver. Religious writings, old documents and antique pieces attracts historians to this museum.
In the month of October, Ramleela is celebrated annually and this attracts a large crowd. People celebrate the festival Dussehra by burning an effigy of the demon king Ravana. The celebration starts with King of Kashi coming to the fair on an ornamented elephant. He comes with his family to witness the victory of good over evil.
The Bharat Mata Temple was built by Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936. This is the only temple dedicated to Mother India and is within the campus of Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth. This shrine houses a map of undivided India carved out of marble with plains, mountains, and oceans. Mahatma Gandhi hoped this temple would serve as a cosmopolitan table for all Indians. He did not want religions, castes and creeds, including Harijans to judge vision. The temple was to promote unity, peace, and love amongst Indians.
The marble idol of Bharat Mata is showed as a woman dressed in a saffron-coloured sari. She is holding the flag of India in one of her hands. There are 8 storeys and elevators have been installed for tourists. Each level has its own theme with figures of mythological legends, and religious deities. There are freedom fighters and leaders. The museum pays respect to all those who helped shaped India.
Find the statue of Bharat Mata adorning the hall in the first floor. She has a pot of milk in one hand and grain in the other. This is to signify the nature of a mother with her baby. 'Shoor Mandir' is the title fixed to the second floor and it is dedicated to the legendary heroes of India. The third floor is dedicated to honoured women of India. 'Sant Mandir' is the fourth floor is devoted to the great saints from different religions of India. The assembly hall on the fifth floor has different religions in India represented on the walls. The Goddess Shakti is represented in different forms in the sixth floor. The seventh floor is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva shrine is on the eighth floor.
The design of the temple is unique. It stands on five pillars which represents the four elements and the Sky. Earth, wind, air and fire are the basic elements of creation. All these pillars merge at the top with the Supreme sky.
The other unique feature of this temple is its unique design. It stands on five different pillars and each pillar symbolizes earth, water, fire, water and Sky which constitutes the five basic elements of creation. This temple is placed amidst the natural beauty overlooking the Ganges and holy Ghats.
#12 of 24 Things to do in Varanasi | Added 9619 times in trip plans
Lalita Ghat Varanasi
04:00 am - 09:00 pm
Nepali architecture is a unique strain of art and pragmatism. Nepal is situated in between trade routes from India to Tibet and China. Therefore Nepali architecture has been influenced by these cultures. The Nepali Temple in Varanasi is a replica of the famous Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. There is evidence to suggest that the land was actually transferred by the ruler of Varanasi to the Nepalese king back in 1843.
The 167-year-old structure, the Lalita Devi temple, is headed by Pandit Gopal Prasad Adhikari. The temple and its dharamshala belongs to the Nepal government. He is a Nepali migrant and a teacher of Vedanta Darshan and proud to have a bit of Nepal in India. The temple is also called Mini Khajuraho because of its exquisite art work. A special wood had been used while building this temple to ensure safety against termites. The workers were brought in from Nepal and there is a display of excellent craftsmanship. It is surrounded by tamarind and peepal trees. There is a statue of Nandi Bull outside the garbagriha. Nandi is the name for the bull which serves as the mount of the god Shiva and as the gatekeeper of Shiva and Parvathi. The Garbha Griha is the innermost sanctum of a Hindu temple. The primary deity resides here and in this case it is Shiva Lingam called Pashupatinath Mahadeva.
The temple offers magnificent views of Varanasi and the holy River Ganges. From the temple’s platform, there is a unique perspective of the city’s everyday life. Visitors walking along the Ghats, a tired pilgrim stopping for a rest, an Indian tour group, perhaps a family of monkeys. A tourist attraction for visitors from all over the world, it is said to be unparalleled to any other temple in India. The temple presents a beautiful opportunity to observe and appreciate the art of Kama Sutra carved out of wood.
#13 of 24 Things to do in Varanasi | Added 7841 times in trip plans
Sarnath, Near Sangharama Monastery, Varanasi
10:00 am - 05:00 pm
Buddha delivered his first sermon in 528 BC at Sarnath which now has a museum dedicated to him. There is an excellent display of artefacts from the Maurayan era and Gupta era. The earliest image of Buddha is housed in this museum with other Hindu Gods and Goddesses. In 1904 the Government of India decided to construct this museum on site after excavating antiquities here. Sir John Marshall, the Director General of Archaeology of India and Mr. James Ramsone, his consultant, completed the museum in 1910. Archaeological museum in Sarnath has five big galleries and two verandas to show artefacts from 3rd century B.C. to 12th century A.D.
The galleries have been named on the basis of their contents, the northern most gallery is Tathagata while next one is Triratna. The main hall is known as Shakyasimha gallery and adjacent to it is Trimurti. The southernmost is Ashutosh gallery. The verandas on northern and southern side are Vastumandana and Shilparatna. Entrance to the museum is through the main hall. The Shakyasimha gallery displays the most prized collections of the museum. The main attraction is the Mauryan pillar. It has four back-to-back lions, which has been adopted as the National symbol of India. Below this are representations of a lion, an elephant, horse and the bull.
Triratna gallery exhibits the images of Buddhist deities and some associated objects. Tathagata gallery displays images of Buddha. Here he sits cross-legged, with eyes downcast in deep meditation. There is a halo around his head. Trimurti gallery contains pot-bellied seated Daksha figure, image of Trimurti (Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh) Surya and Sarasvati. It has some secular objects like figures of birds, and animals. On display are male and female heads as well as some stucco figures. Ashutosh gallery exhibits deities like Shiva in different forms. Also worth exploring are several beautiful figures of the bodhisattvas.
#14 of 24 Things to do in Varanasi | Added 8817 times in trip plans
D 33/81, Khalishpura, Varanasi Uttar Pradesh 221001
Discover more about receiving the fine art of music as a gift. Listen to tabla player Shri Keshava Rao Nayak, and santoor player Sri Shivaji Rao Nayak Kevale. Enrol in music lessons which include the sitar, tabla and flute. Concert completed, you leave with new appreciation for the International Music Centre Ashram.
The tabla is a membranophone percussion instrument which is similar to bongos. It is often used in Hindustani classical music. It is also used in traditional music of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The instrument consists of a pair of hand drums of contrasting sizes and timbres. Playing techniques involves extensive use of the fingers and palms. The heel of the hand is used to apply pressure on the larger drum. The carvings in Bhaja Caves in the state of Maharashtra in India shows a woman playing Tabla. There is another woman performing a dance, and this dates back to 200 BC.
The Indian santoor is an ancient string musical instrument native to Jammu and Kashmir, with origins in Persia. A primeval ancestor of this type of instrument was invented in Mesopotamia (1600-911 BC). The santoor is a trapezoid-shaped hammered dulcimer often made of walnut. It has seventy two string. The santoor is played while sitting in an asana. The santoor is placed on the lap with the broad side closer to the waist. It is played with both hands.
The flute is a family of musical instrument of the woodwind group. A flute is an aerophone or reed less wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening. Flutes are the earliest known musical instruments. A flute produces sound when a stream of air directed across a hole in the instrument. This creates a vibration of air at the hole.
Apart from these instruments, the musicians also teach the sitar. There are classical dance tuitions too which cost INR 150 per hour. This centre is tucked away in the winding streets of Bengali Tola, and run by a family of musicians. The ashram hosts performances every Wednesday and Saturday and will leave you enthralled.
#15 of 24 Things to do in Varanasi | Added 11303 times in trip plans
Varanasi Uttar Pradesh
12:01 am - 12:00 am
A man bound by duty, resilience, and honesty, a king in more ways than one. Such a man was King Harishchandra. He was the 36th king of the Solar system. His fable is very popular and taken as a yardstick for an ideal life. His name meant having golden splendour. He never took back his word and never uttered a lie in his life. This was tested heavily in his life that led to destitution and separation from his family.
Sage Vishwamitra approached Harishchandra to keep his promise and donate his entire kingdom. Harishchandra made good his word and gave away his kingdom and walked away with his wife and son. He went to Varanasi with his family, where more disaster struck. He had to sell his wife and son to a Brahmin to pay extra dues to the sage. Yet that was not sufficient, so he sold himself to a guard at the cremation ground. He was in charge of collecting taxes for the bodies to be cremated. The king, his wife and son had to sustain tremendous hardships doing their respective chores. One day, his son was bitten by a snake and died instantly. In order to cremate their son, his wife was willing to give her sari as tax. Lord Vishnu, Indra and the sage Vishwamitra manifested themselves on the scene, and praised Harishchandra for his perseverance and steadfastness. They brought his son back to life. And he was given his kingdom back.
Harish Chandra Ghat is one of the two cremation Ghats, the other being Manikarnika Ghat. It is at times referred as Adi Manikarnika (the original creation ground). Hindus from near and far bring the dead bodies of their loved ones to the Harishchandra Ghat for cremation. In Hindu mythology, it is said that if a person is cremated here, the person gets salvation. The Harishchandra Ghat was modernised in the late 1980’s when an electric crematorium was opened here.