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Varanasi Names

Varanasi Travel Guide

The land of Varanasi (Kashi) has been the famous pilgrimage spot for Hindus for ages. The holy city is situated on the banks of the river Ganges in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Ganges in Varanasi is believed to have the power to wash away the sins of mortals. Often referred to as Benares, Varanasi is the oldest living city in the world. It is said to be the abode of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Another name Kashi which is yet another different name for Varanasi is mentioned in the Rig-Veda. It is often also referred to as "city of temples and learning". Buddha preached his first sermon after enlightenment at Sarnath, just 10 km away from Varanasi. This city is believed to be the birthplace of Parsvanath, the twenty-third Tirthankar therefore it is a famous pilgrimage centre for the Jains. Various Jain Tirthankars (religious prophets and Jainism Founders) have been known to be born in Varanasi and they even achieved their enlightenment here. To make Your Varanasi tourism worth happiness, knowledge-ful, extravagant; it is required to understand the essence and roots of the city as a whole. Knowledge, philosophy, culture, devotion to Gods, Indian arts and crafts has all flourished here for centuries. Vaishnavism and Shaivism have co-existed in Varanasi harmoniously. Apart from Hindu religious sects, Jainism and Buddhism are also a part of the different religions and cultures being followed here. With a number of temples, Mrs. Annie Besant chose Varanasi as the home for her 'Theosophical Society' which was a social cultural organization formed by her in the starting of 19th century for social and mass reforms of Indian people during the British Raj. Being a prosperous city, the place was mercilessly invaded by many Muslim rulers therefore the Muslim influence is also present here. However, the various culture influences did not happened to be bringing any specific change to the roots and majority religious culture of the city which is still based on Hinduism.

Different Names
The sacred city of Varanasi is been called by many names. The different names express the various powers and attributes of the city and reveal the dimensions of its sacred authority. All the names occur frequently in the Sanskrit religious books of Hinduism such as Vedas, Upanishads, Mahatyams, Purans etc. The different names of Varanasi are Kashi, Banaras, Banares, Avimukta, Anandavana, Rudravasa, Mahashamshana. The first name Kashi is very ancient and perhaps the oldest. As for its etymology, it has been suggested that the name Kashi comes from Kasha which was the name of an ancient king whose dynasty later produced the famous legendary king Divodasa of Kashi or that it comes from Kasha, the name of tall silver flowering grass which grows wild along the riverbank. It is however also said that this name is derived from the Sanskrit word Kash which means to shine, to brilliant or beautiful. The second name Varanasi is also an ancient name which is found in both Buddhist Jatak tales and in the Hindu epic book Mahabharata. From the pali version of this name Banarasi comes the corrupted name Banaras by which the city is most widely known today. In both Muslim and British India, the city was Benares but in the Independent India, Varanasi has been revived as the official name of the city. The third name Avimukta means not let loose and in this context, it means the city is never forsaken by the Lord Shiva. According to the city's mythology, this was the place where the linga of Shiva was first established and worshipped on earth as Lord's perpetual presence. Hence the name Avimukta was kept. The fourth name Anandavana means sacred city as Forest of Bliss. A forest, with Shiva lingas as thick as the fresh sprouts of spring. This imagination of sacred city as a forest full of devotion towards Lord Shiva and his presences in form of Shivlings made Varanasi have this name Anandavana. The fourth name Rudravasa means the native residing place of Lord Shiva who is the supreme God in Hinduism. The word Rudra means Shiv himself and the word vasa means residing place. People say in Varanasi that the very stones in Kashi are Shiva and his particles. Shiva dwells not only in the city's great temples but in the very ground and substance of the place itself. The fifth name Mahashamshana means the biggest ever cremation ground. In India, the cremation grounds are called as Shamshanghats or simply Shamshans and are specifically marked off outside the town, often to the south which is the direction of Yama or Yamraj who is the Lord of Death. As we have discussed before that people come to Varanasi to die means this city is so sacred that death coming here will guarantee the liberation of the departed soul and peace after death with all sins committed during lifetime are being forgiven. Hence, unfortunately Varanasi also became the volunteer place for people to come and spend their remaining days before their destined death. Hence the name Mahashamshana was kept. So we can deduce that Varanasi tourism is a must do for one in his/her entire to get the real spiritual meaning of life and death and to understand the purpose of why are we born on this earth. We offer soothing, comfortable and best affordable tour packages for tour and tourism in Varanasi. Kindly fill up the given below form and send it to us.

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