Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dashashwamedh Ghat

Sapta Puri, and the Seven Temples.
Famous Dashashwamedh Ghat
Festival of the Ganges River worship by Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat
Varanasi (25.282°N 82.9563°E) also called Kashi, Benares, is an ancient city, said to be the oldest inhabited one. The city was known by several names such as Avimuktaka, Anandakanana, Mahasmasana, Surandhana, Brahma Vardha, Sudarsana, and Ramya.
In view of its ancient historic, cultural and religious heritage it is considered as “the most holy of the seven sacred cities of Hinduism”. Its historical and religious legacy dates to the Budhha period (6th Century BC) and has been the centre of religious “Brahminical learning” with sages, philosophers, writers and musicians making it their home in the past several centuries. But much of its temple glory was subject to plundering and destruction by Mohammad Ghauri in the 12th century. The temples and religious institutions seen now in the city are mostly of the 18th century vintage.
The temples and the bathing ghats (ghats are embankments made in steps of stone slabs along the river bank where pilgrims perform ritual ablutions) are located on the left west bank of the holy Ganges river and the count of temples in the city is claimed to be 23,000 and the bathing ghats number 81. The most venerated and frequented ghats for devotional worship by the pilgrims are the Manikarnika Ghat, Dashashwamedh Ghat (pictured) and Panchganga Ghat. At one of the ghats, Hindus cremate their dead. The rivers 'Varun' and 'Asi' combined form the name of the city "Varanasi". These two rivers flowing on the left bank of the Ganges enclose the old city of Varanasi. The ghats at the confluence sites of these two streams with the Ganges are also held in veneration. All these factors have contributed to the city being called the religious capital of Hinduism.
Varanasi is also known as the favourite city of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva as it has been mentioned in the Rigveda that this city in older times was known as Kashi or "Shiv ki Nagri".The Pandavas went to Kashi in search of Shiva to atone for their sins of fratricide and bramhanahatya that they had committed during the epic Kurukshetra war of Mahabharata epic.
Among the innumerable temples in the city, most worshipped are: the Kashi Vishvanath Temple of Shiva; the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple; and the Durga Temple known for the band of monkeys that reside in the large trees nearby. In addition, there are two new temples, the Tulasi Manas and the Vishvanatha temple located in the Banaras Hindu University campus. Ancient Buddhist monasteries are seen at Sarnath, but they are mostly in ruins. There are also temples built by the Maha Bodhi Society and by the Chinese, Burmese, and Tibetan Buddhists.
Religious festivals are held here. On the occasion of the Mahashivaratri (meaning great night of Shiva) a procession of Shiva is taken from the Mahamrityunjaya Temple to the Kashi Vishvanath Temple. Another popular festival is the Ganges festival held in November or December when the Ganges is venerated by arti offered by thousands of pilgrims who also release lighted lamps to float in the river from the ghats (pictured). The historic event of Rama returning after 14 years of exile, termed vanavas (living in forest) in Sanskrit, and meeting his younger brother Bharat is celebrated during October or November as Bharat Milap ('Milap' means "meeting") festival. At the Tulsi Ghat, a classical musical soiree, particularly of dhrupad style, is held during March for 5 days where iconic artists from all parts of India are invited to perform.
In one sentence, Mark Twain, the renowned Indophile, has extolled the greatness of Varanasi thus: "Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together."
Varanasi is 780 kilometres (480 mi) from Delhi, the national capital and 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Lucknow, the provincial capital of Uttar Pradesh.Sapta Puri and the Seven Temples. End of Report.
Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia.

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