Location : Varanasi, India
Destination Type: Cultural destination
Varansi ( reffered to as Benaras / Kasi also) is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city has references in Hindu mythology. The Kasi Vishwanatha Temple is dedicated to Shiva one of the main deities of Hinduism. Unlike other Hindu festivals, Maha Shivratri pojas or rituals are more on night time.The Mahashivratri celebrations here attracts lakhs of devotees to Varanasi. The vibrant atmosphere here during the celebrations is euphoric.
History of Maha Shivratri in Varanasi
- Being an ancient city dates when the Maha shivratri celebrations started here is not clear
- The 8th century BCE manuscript of Skanda purana has references of Kasi Vishwanath temple
- Different legends are there regarding the origin of Shivratri celebration like the its the day when Shiva performed cosmic dance or its the day of marriage of Shiva and Parvati
- Adi Shankaracharya increased the importance of the Kashi as religious center by 8th century BCE
- Post Indian independence in 1947 the city became part of state Uttar Pradesh and now the state and Indian governments make elaborate arrangements for the celebrations here
Activities for tourists at Varanasi during Maha Shivratri celebrations
- Attend the rituals or poojas whih start from early morning
- Attend the cultural events with classical Indian arts forms
- Go for a boat ride in river Ganga
- Learn more about Indian heritage from Bahrat Kala Bhavan
- Attend Ganga Arti at Dasshaswamdh Ghat
How to reach there
The nearest airport to reach Varanasi is Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport, 25 kilometers from the city center. There are daily domestic flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Khajuraho and Visakhapatnam. Regular flights from Kathmandu and Thailand are also available.
Varanasi Railway Station enjoys regular connectivity of trains from all over India. Multiple daily services to cities including Delhi, Agra, Lucknow, Mumbai and Kolkata.
The road network to reach Varanasi is wonderful. By road the city is has connectivity with major cities of Uttar Pradesh and neighboring states. State-run buses, private air-conditioned buses also run on the route.
The dry summer starts in April and lasts until June, followed by the monsoon season from July to October. The temperature ranges between 22 and 46 °C (72 and 115 °F) in the summers. Winters in Varanasi see very large diurnal variations, with warm days and downright cold nights.
Nearby destinations for tour operators / travel agents
- Saranath ( 11kms away)
- Bodh Gaya ( 255kms away)
- Vindhyachal (62 kms away)
- Allahabad ( 120 kms away)
- Chitrakoot( 260 kms away)
Some hotels in Varanasi for tourists and tour operators with room tariff less than Rs.5000/- per night
Comfort Inn Benares http://www.comfortinnbenares.com/
Stay Baaras http://staybanaras.in/
Hotel Surya, Kaiser Palace https://www.hotelsuryavns.com/en-gb
The Clarks http://www.clarkshotels.com/
Hotel The Westinn Varanasi https://thewestinnvns.com/
Hotel Varanasi Inn http://www.hotelvaranasiinn.com/
Palace on Ganges Varanasi http://palaceonganges.com/
Photo courtesy: By AKS.9955 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40968060