Varanasi stands as the ultimate pilgrimage spot. Hindus believe that those who perish here unlock spiritual freedom, breaking the shackles of the birth/re-birth to ascend into eternal salvation. But Varanasi is not just for those who confess the Hindu faith. It’s for anyone in search of inner peace or just trying to make meaning out of life. These spiritual adventures are also for the weary soul and the heavy-hearted. You can get new perspectives on life while challenging both your heart and mind. If you’re running low on spiritual batteries, Varanasi is the place to renew your resolve and fortitude. But what exactly does it have to offer those seeking the quest of a higher calling? Let’s find out.
Discover Lord Shiva at Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Lord Shiva holds a special place in the hierarchy of deities in the Hindu religion. He is known as the king of dance, the first yogi, and perhaps most crucially, the most powerful Hindu god there is. He reigns supreme above all others and has connections to time, destruction, and creation.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple Varanasi was built in honor of Lord Shiva. You can escape here to get an understanding of the deity and to perform special pujas. The temple has been built and rebuilt for more than a millennium and has helped many discover enlightenment on their path to better living.
Some of the top highlights of Varanasi temple include:
- The Nandi Bull statue, which towards 7 feet in the air
- The temple’s massive gold dome and spire
- River trips to nearby ghats where you can meditate in the solitude of beautiful nature
As a side benefit, you’ll bump into many friendly monkeys who are just as curious about you as you are about them. The temple complex is frequented by monkeys so much that some locals have branded it the “Monkey temple”. Besides that and paying your respects, the Banarasi silk sarees also make for amazing souvenirs.
Sip at the bossom of wisdom at Gyan Kup Well
What if you were able to channel the wisdom of Solomon? What would you do with it? Asking a local about the Gyan Kup Well of Varanasi evokes so many supernatural incidents and tales. What’s for sure when you set foot here at the place is that it is a section of great reverence and holiness. You can almost feel the special energy around so intensely, and there’s a strong calmness that stills the soul.
The well’s origin is quite mysterious and contentious. Legend has it that it came into being when an accomplished Rish tore open the ground using Shiva’s trident, at a time when the people of Varanasi were in the midst of a 12-year-long drought. It is said that Lord Shiva vowed to leave his presence at the well for eternity when he heard about this. Of course, there are many other origin stories doing rounds as well.
Gyan Kup well should feature on the bucket list of anyone seeking spiritual nourishment. It offers you the opportunity to quite literally drink from a fountain of wisdom, with priests offering the well’s waters to all who journey here. Whether it works or not, we’ll let you be the judge.
Be part of spiritual events at Kashi temple
When it comes to trip planning, the best time to visit Kashi temple is usually between October to March. Temple timings shouldn’t be an issue as they are usually open from 3 AM through 11 PM. Some important events that you might want to plan around here include:
- Makar Sankranti- which happens on the 14th of January
- Dev Diwali which happens on the 26th of November
- During February and March, Maha Shivratri is on
Participating in these events at Kashi temple offers a spiritual exploration of human geometry and the cosmic state of affairs. Makar Sankranti, in particular, is commemorated on a day when three are significant Zodiac shifts as Earth’s orbital patterns change. Besides, you also get to enjoy elaborate kite flying and some super delicious sesame sweets that both characterize the festival.
Tread the path to utter peace at Assi Ghat
Varanasi is full of scenic and holy ghats that make for an excellent spiritual retreat. If you crave solace and spending time with yourself and the powers that be, a day trip to Assi Ghat is well-advised.
Unlike other crowded ghats, Assi receives far fewer visitors, so you’ll have more of the ambiance to yourself. Lord Shiva’s presence here manifests in the form of a massive lingam (devotional image) that resides under a pial tree.
Hindu devotees bathe in the waters therein before they pay their respects to Shiva. While you don’t have do to that, it’s nice to witness and appreciate the devotion of the faithful and pick their brains on a huge range of matters from life to death and much more in between.
In terms of timing, sunrises are best for a visit. That’s when the morning aartis are held so you get to experience the Subeh Benares. Afterward, you can enjoy a riverboat trip as you take in the sights and sounds of the highly popularized Ganga Aarti.
Trace the roots at Sarnath Temple
Not too far off the Varuna rivers of the Ganges is Sarnath Temple, which marks the place of Gautama Buddha’s maiden sermon following his enlightenment. Additionally, it is heralded as the cradle or origin of Buddhis Sangha.
Emperor Ashoka constructed Sarnath Temple and it today stands as not just a religious landmark but a cultural and architectural beacon. A few things you’ll want to do at the temple include:
- Seeking enlightenment at Dhamek Stupa
- Get a front-row seat to the Buddha Purnima celebrations
- Marvel at the Majestic Bodhi Tree
- Pay homage to the resting place of Buddha
Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India!
With many sacred ghats, temples, and features in its expanse, Varanasi is the spiritual heart of India. It’s the place to go if you’ve ever felt like you’re lost in life or don’t know your purpose in it. Varanasi might just offer the revelation you need to cope with a difficult period of your life, or even inspire you to greatness. Moreover, it might just provide the answers you seek about the world and your place in it. Let travel agency Akshaya India help make your spiritual adventure to India a successful one. Visit their website for tour packages.