Varanasi, May 2 (ANI): Special prayers were organised on the bank of Ganga River in Varanasi marking the birthday of the river.
People performed prayers by offering milk to River Ganga on Friday and pledged to stop the pollution of the river. According to the organiser of the Gangotri Welfare Committee, Kishori Raman Dubey, prayers offered to prevent the river from getting further polluted.
"The condition of Ganga River has worsened. The river is drying up and has almost turned into a drainage. To retain its lost glory, we decided to celebrate its birthday every year," said Dubey.
Legend has it that on this day, Goddess Ganga descended from heaven onto Lord Shiva's matted locks and then flowed onto the Himalayas.
The Ganga runs its course of over 2,500 kilometres from Gangotri in the Himalayas to Ganga Sagar in the Bay of Bengal through 29 cities.
In 1996, the Supreme Court had banned the discharge of effluents from various tanneries and factories located on its banks in Kanpur.However, with one billion tons of waste being dumped into it everyday, the River Ganga unfortunately remains to be one of the most polluted rivers. Pl offer your earnest help in terms of your time and presence on the banks of Mother Ganga for selfless service for the mankind.
May you be blessed by Mother Gangaa !
The land of Varanasi (Kashi) has been the ultimate pilgrimage spot for Hindus for ages. Often referred to as Benares, Varanasi is the oldest living city in the world. These few lines by Mark Twain say it all: "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together". Hindus believe that one who is graced to die on the land of Varanasi would attain salvation and freedom from the cycle of birth and re-birth. Abode of Lord Shiva and Parvati, the origins of Varanasi are yet unknown. Ganges in Varanasi is believed to have the power to wash away the sins of mortals
Ganges is said to have its origins in the tresses of Lord Shiva and in Varanasi, it expands to the mighty river that we know of. The city is a center of learning and civilization for over 3000 years. With Sarnath, the place where Buddha preached his first sermon after enlightenment, just 10 km away, Varanasi has been a symbol of Hindu renaissance. Knowledge, philosophy, culture, devotion to Gods, Indian arts and crafts have all flourished here for centuries. Also a pilgrimage place for Jains, Varanasi is believed to be the birthplace of Parsvanath, the twenty-third Tirthankar.
Vaishnavism and Shaivism have co-existed in Varanasi harmoniously. With a number of temples, Mrs. Annie Besant chose Varanasi as the home for her 'Theosophical Society' and Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, to institute 'Benares Hindu University, the biggest University in Asia. Ayurveda is said to be originated at Varanasi and is believed to be the basis of modern medical sciences such as Plastic surgery, Cataract and Calculus operations. Maharshi Patanjali, the preceptor of Ayurveda and Yoga, was also affiliated with Varanasi, the holy city. Varanasi is also famous for its trade and commerce, especially for the finest silks and gold and silver brocades, since the early days.
Varanasi has also been a great center of learning for ages. Varanasi is associated with promotion of spiritualism, mysticism, Sanskrit, yoga and Hindi language and honored authors such as the ever-famous novelist Prem Chand and Tulsi Das, the famous saint-poet who wrote Ram Charit Manas. Aptly called as the cultural capital of India, Varanasi has provided the right platform for all cultural activities to flourish. Many exponents of dance and music have come from Varanasi. Ravi Shankar, the internationally renowned Sitar maestro and Ustad Bismillah Khan, (the famous Shehnai player) are all sons of the blessed city or have lived here for major part of their lives
Varanasi has been a centre of learning and civilisation for more than 2000 years. Kashi and Benares are the other names of Varanasi but its present name is the restoration of an ancient name which means the city between two rivers — Varauana and Asi.
The old city of Varanasi is situated along the west bank of Ganges and extends back from the river ghats in a winding collection of narrow alleys. Areas such as Chowk, Lahurabir and Godaulia are just outside the vicinity of the old city. These areas can also be described as shopper’s paradise for the sheer variety of things that are available. However, if you’re not too careful you might fall prey to some stall owners whose goods are exact the opposite of what they are made out to be!
After a delicious lunch of Missi Roti, Sabji and Dal Makhani, the next afternoon we headed towards the Ramnagar Fort. It is the home of the Maharaja of Benares and was built way back in 17th century. The fort has massive walls and magnificent gateways flanked by high towers. It is at its most impressive when viewed from the river while boating. The museum ingeniously displays a vast collection of silver and brocade palanquins, swords, guns, clothes and jewellery depicting the different phases of colonial history.
The next day as dawn was breaking, myself and my brother decided to go for bathing in the Ganges — Varanasi’s capturing attraction. A long string of bathing ghats lines the western bank of the river. Ghats are the steps which lead down to the river where pilgrims take dip into its holy water and perform pooja in the rising sun, offering cups of candles, flowers and incense which float down the Ganga. The best time to visit these ghats is at dawn — the city becomes alive and the exhilarating breeze welcomes everyone.
There are a total of 100 ghats. After taking a dip in its sacred waters we decided to have an enjoyable boating too. Hence we started our trip from Dasaswamedh ghat which is the most convenient starting point. A trip from there to Manikarnika ghat by boat made an interesting short introduction to the river! We were informed that the Asi ghat, the furthest upstream is one of the five special ghats where devotees are supposed to bathe. Many of the ghats were owned by Maharajas or other princely rulers.
The Dandi ghat is the ghat of ascetics known as Dandi Panths and close to that is a very popular Hanuman ghat. Kedar ghat is a shrine popular with Bengalis and South Indians. Manasarowar ghat was built by Raja Mansingh of Amber and is named after the Tibetan lake at the foot of Kailash Peak. The Munshi ghat is extravagant and situated amidst picturesque surroundings whereas Ahalya Bai’s ghat is named after the Maratha woman ruler of Indore.
These ghats are an ideal place for relaxation — which freshens up the tired minds, body and soul! The Ganga aarti in the evening in respect of goddess river Ganga is a unique experience in itself. Fast moving flames, resonance of sonorous music of bells and hymns sung by devotees at the backdrop of the gushing river create a mesmerising effect.
Varanasi is the birth of bliss. It is renowned the world over as an abode of saints and sages. It is strewn with beautiful temples for devotees such as The Golden Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Sankatmochan (Hanuman) Temple, Durga Temple and Bharat Mata Temple.
Dedicated to Lord Viswanath (Shiva), the golden temple is one of the most ancient temples in Varanasi. It is known for its architectural and historical splendour as it is for its sacredness. The present temple dates back to 1776 by Ahalya Bai of Indore and the gold plating on the towers were provided by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore
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Har Har Gange, Jai Maa Gange !