Varanasi Trip - The City Of Lord Shiva
India has attracted scholars and philosophers across the world since ages. Its history is as fascinating as the country itself. It is a treasure trove of cultures and traditions that spellbound the world, even in this age of modernism. There are plenty of cities the history of India couldn’t be written without. One such city is Varanasi situated at the banks of the sacred river ‘Ganges.’ It was created by Lord Shiva himself who bestowed upon it an ocean of legacies that guide the world even today. No wonder it was also called ‘Shiv ki Nagari.’ This reference has been cited in the holy book, Rigveda. Today, it is a reservoir of Hindu tradition and culture. It is as old as the universe itself. Such is the belief and conviction of Hindus in the sanctity of this city that they wish to be cremated here in order to get freed from the cycle of birth.
Being in Varanasi is like experiencing life amidst mysticism. Every speck of the sun rays that fall in the city replenishes one’s body and heart with pure devotion. The innumerable temples in the city are a witness of the stronghold Hinduism holds since ages. This is why it is considered as one of the seven sacred cities of Hindu. The morning chants, the evening prayers with several lighted candles flowing in the Ganga River fill one’s soul with utter jubilation. When the prayers begin along with the ringing of temple bells, they create such as atmosphere and spectacle that one doesn’t feel like leaving the city. Consequently, a rare kind of feelings erupt within oneself as if one is praying directly to the God and not just a statue.
The city got its name from an ancient river known as ‘Varuna’ and a stream named ‘Asi’ both of which still flow through the city. As the city got recognition due to its religious significance, it earned several epithets which are still in use. Kashi, which means ‘City of Light,’ and Beneras are the two names the city is referred as. As the city has lot to offer on terms of learning religion and arts, it became a ‘karma-bhoomi or Land of Duty/Destiny’ for many scholars and others interested in the mysticism of Hindu religion. Every person, whether an Indian or a foreigner, visited this city has been mesmerized by its vibrant color and culture. Mark Twain, Xuanzang, and Hiuen Tsian were the luminaries who tasted the water of the city and were enthralled by its religious and artistic activities.
The city also gave birth to Buddhism and Shaivism. The former was founded by Lord Buddha in 528 BC, and the latter by Adi Shankaracharya during the 8th century. Accordingly, the city’s importance grew four-fold from religious aspect, and thus become the Hindu pilgrimage. Besides Shaivism and Buddhism, Jainism also existed here around the 8th century BC. The city not only excelled in the religious front, but also emerged as the flourishing centre for industrial trade due to its famous silk fabrics, ivory works, muslin and sculpture.
Varanasi has long been the symbol of altruism, and is continuing to be so even today. Not only Hindus from all over the world, but also people of other religions throng to this city to experience spiritual enlightenment the city offers. If one wants to visit a city that is created, nurtured and blessed by the God, he or she must come to Varanasi.