Varanasi is the oldest city with lots of interesting and amazing historical facts. Varanasi is one of the oldest living city on earth, the chief centre of civilization for more than 3000 years. It is said that the person who takes his last breath in Kashi (Varanasi), attain salvation for sure. Varanasi is considered as “Mahashamshana” or “the great cremation ground”. Dead bodies are brought here from far off places for cremation in “Manikarnika Ghat”.
How the name “Varanasi” came into existence
Traditional etymology links “Varanasi” to the names of two Ganges tributaries forming the city’s borders. Varanasi Name comes into existence because of its two rivers, Varuna and Assi. Varuna River is located in northern Varanasi and Assi River is now just like a little stream located in the southern a part of the town. Varanasi is found on the north shores of the Ganges, bounded by Varuna and Assi.
In the Rigveda (an ancient Indian sacred collection of Vedic Sanskrit hymns) the City is mentioned as Kāśī (Kashi), the word is derived from the Sanskrit verbal root kaś- “to shine”, making Varanasi referred to as “The City of Light”, the “luminous city as an eminent seat of learning”. The name was also employed by pilgrims dating from Buddha’s days.
Hindu religious texts use many epithets to ask Varanasi, like Kāśikā (the shining one), Avimukta (never forsaken by Shiva), Ānandavana (the forest of bliss), and Rudravāsa (the place where Rudra/Śiva resides).
Varanasi: Hindu Mythology & Amazing Historical Facts
According to Hindu mythology, Varanasi was founded by Shiva, one among three principal deities alongside Brahma and Vishnu. During a fight between Brahma and Shiva, one among Brahma’s five heads was torn off by Shiva. As was the custom, the victor carried the slain adversary’s head in his hand and let it hang down from his hand as an act of ignominy, and a symbol of his own bravery. A bridle was also put into the mouth. Shiva thus dishonoured Brahma’s head and kept it with him in the least times. When he came to the town of Varanasi during this state, the hanging head of Brahma dropped from Shiva’s hand and disappeared within the ground. Varanasi is therefore considered a particularly holy site.
The Pandavas, (the protagonists of the Hindu epic Mahabharata) visited the town in search of Shiva. They come here to catch up on their sin of fratricide and Brāhmanahatya, that they had committed during the climactic Kurukshetra War .Varanasi is considered as one among seven holy cities (Sapta Puri) which may provide Moksha. Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Kashi, Kanchi, Avanti, and Dvārakā are the seven cities referred to as the givers of liberation.
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Varanasi remained a centre of activity for intellectuals and theologians during the centre Ages. Further contributed to its reputation as a cultural centre of faith and education. Several major figures of the Bhakti movement were born in Varanasi. One of enlightened personality Kabir who was born here in 1389, and Ravidas, a 15th-century socio-religious reformer, mystic, poet, traveller, and spiritual figure. Ravidas was born and lived within the city and employed within the tannery industry.
Now here are some Amazing Varanasi Facts
- Varanasi(Benares) is the birthplace of twenty third “Tirthankara, Parsvanath”,
- Banaras is the only place in the whole world with 84 ghats. Varanasi also has the highest number of river banks in the world.
- Banaras Hindu University is one of the biggest universities in the world offering studies in Hindu scriptures.
- Here marriage of Frog is carried out with much pomp and show. Hundreds of people gather at Ashwamegh Ghat every year to see the interesting frog marriage carried out by Hindu priest.
- Varanasi is also the birthplace to world-renowned artists like Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Bismillah khan
- Thousands of tourists come here every year and hundreds of them make this place their home, such as the richness of this pious Land!
- It is also famous for its five-day musical dhrupad festival held at Tulsi Ghat and Ganga Mahotsav festival held in November.
- One of the most famous temples of Lord Shiva Kashi Vishvanath Temple is situated here. Kashi Vishwanath temple is referred to in Hindu scriptures for a very long time, a central part of worship in the Shaiva philosophy.