Categories: Religion

10 interesting facts about Varanasi everyone should know

It is believed to be the abode of God Shiva and Mata Arnnapurma. Being the city of Annapurna, no one…

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Banaras, Varanasi or Kashi has from time immemorial remained as one of the most sacred pilgrimage centres of the Hindus across the length and breadth of India.

Adi Shankara wrote Kasi Panchakam, an ode in the praise of Varanasi.

Enthralled by its beauty and ancientness, famous US author Mark Twain said: “Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”

Let us know 10 interesting facts about this sacred city.

1. Kashi is considered as the oldest continuously inhabited city of the world. Let alone traditional Hindu time cycle, even according to the modern historical chronology, its history spans more than three millennia!

2. In our sacred text, the city is known as Maha Smashana (the greatest cremation ground). The famous Manikarnika Ghat witnesses around 300 cremations daily.

3. It is believed to be the abode of God Shiva and Mata Annapurna. Being the city of Annapurna, no one remains here hungry, according to Hindu belief. So, it is also called Ananda Kanan (The forest of Bliss)

4. It has been for thousands of years revered as the greatest seat of learning in India.

Intellectuals and mendicants from all over India come here to do “shastrartha” (debate on religious texts) and get acceptance for their respective ideas or “darshana”. From the great Adi Shankara to Ramakrishna Paramahansa, everyone visited this holy place.

5. Varanasi is not only sacred to the Hindus, but also it holds spiritual significance to the followers of all the Indic religions.

It is the birthplace of four Jain Tirthankaras. Buddha taught his first Sutta or Sutra in Sarnath near Varanasi after his enlightenment at the Bodhgaya. Varanasi is also sacred for the Sikhs.

6. On the field of science, Varanasi boasts of having one of the five observatories or Jantar Mantars, constructed by Raja Jai Singh in the year 1737.

However, there is an interesting controversy going on over the date of its construction following new findings that it was constructed nearly 200 years before.

7. A lesser known organisation, Awadhoot Bhagwan Ram Kusta Sewa Ashram, of Varanasi has treated 99,045 cases of full blown leprosy cases and 1,47,503 partial cases (all cured).

This institution has been included in and certified by the Limca Book of Records and Guinness Book of world records as it has fully cured more leprosy patients than any other hospital.

8. As per Buddhist texts, Varanasi has been famous for its muslin silk and wool clothes for ages. According to legend “when Buddha died, his remains purified with balm were wrapped with brand new cotton cloths of Kasi”.
You may want to read

9. In 1810, the application of civil disobedience in Banaras against the British government’s unjust decision to levy taxes on houses and shops was the earliest known civil disobedience movement in India till now, many years before Gandhiji’s. (Civil Disobedience in Indian Tradition, Dharampal, Pg. 19)

10. Mahatma Gandhi’s proposal for ‘Asahayog Satyagrah’ (Non-Cooperation Movement) was first discussed at a meeting of the Congress Working Committee at Seva Upavan in Varanasi.

Seva Upavan was the residence of Shiv Prasad Gupta, the founder of famous Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith, Varanasi.

Big Wire

Recent Posts

Protect the poor from cheap imports

Jobs in the organized sector are shrinking. Automation in the manufacturing sector and use of Artificial Intelligence in the services…

15 hours ago

Fake news: Govt asks Whatsapp for effective solutions

The Indian government has asked popular Android messaging app WhatsApp to find more effective solutions to check fake news from…

2 days ago

10 things to know about India’s Chandrayaan-2 Mission

  India is readying itself for Chandrayaan-2 Mission, where it will explore the lunar surface for a second time. Here…

4 days ago

RoboShop – Indian malls go hi-tech to woo and wow shoppers

The Advent of 'Smart' Stores In today’s digital era, physical stores are getting ‘smarter’ by using technologies like robotic intelligence,…

4 days ago

Workers of closed tea gardens struggle to make a living

Sali Ram finds it difficult to hide his poverty under his tattered clothes. Clearly undernourished, the 52-year-old worker at the…

4 days ago

Why are 237,000 low cost housing units laying vacant in India

In any discussion about affordable housing in India today, the fact that a lot of such housing is actually lying…

1 week ago