Banaras - Spiritual Capital of India

28 Jun 16 06:52:16

Varanasi is a city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dating to the 11th century B.C.E. Regarded as the spiritual capital of India, the city draws pilgrims who bathe in the River Ganges’ sacred waters and perform funeral rites. Along its winding streets are some 2,000 temples, including Kashi Vishwanath, the “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. Banaras is the most visited pilgrimage destination in all of India. One of the seven Holy Cities, one of the twelve Jyotir Linga sites and also a Shakti Pitha site, it is the most favored place for Hindus to die and be cremated. Myths and hymns speak of the waters of the Ganges River as the fluid medium of Shiva's divine essence and a bath in the river is believed to wash away all of one's sins. The particular river-side location of Banaras is considered especially potent because, in less than six miles (ten kilometers), the Ganges is met by two other rivers, the Asi and the Varana. Commenting of this specific location of Banaras along the river Ganges, the Hindu scripture Tristhalisetu explains that, There whatever is sacrificed, chanted, given in charity, or suffered in penance, even in the smallest amount, yields endless fruit because of the power of that place. Whatever fruit is said to accrue from many thousands of lifetimes of asceticism, even more than that is obtainable from but three nights of fasting in this place.


Hardik Dubal


World Explorer