what religion considers varanasi a sacred city?

[8] In 2001, Hindus made up approximately 84% of the population of Varanasi district. The present temple was rebuilt by Rani Ahalya Bai Holkar, the ruler of Indore, in 1776. He came in 1502 as a young man on a pilgrimage. The Muslim sacred places in the city are of seven categories which comprise 415 mosques (masjid), 299 religious cultural sites called mazars, 197 crossings where the taziya procession crosses (known as imamchauks), 88 burial places called talaya, 11 special locations for prayer known as idgah, three sites for burying the taziyas, and 375 other religious sites. [5] It is one of the seven holiest cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism, and is considered by the faith as the giver of salvation (moksha). Varanasi also known as Banaras/Kashi is one of the oldest cities to be inhabited in the world, dating back to 1800B.C. After Parsvanatha, Mahavira came here in the 6th century BC. Profile of the Hindu Poet Goswami Tulsidas, Characters of the Mahabharata: Glossary of Names (A to H), Ramayana Character Map: People and Places in the Great Hindu Epic, The Ramayana: India's Most Beloved Epic Tale, Mystical Saint-Poet Sant Kabir (1440 to 1518), M.A., English Literature, University of North Bengal, Another popular temple is the Sankatmochan Temple, dedicated to the simian-god. The festival attracts a large number of devotees. [15] The Roman Catholic Diocese of Varanasi (Latin: Varanasien(sis)) is located in the city under the Ecclesiastical province of Agra in India. During the occupation by the Persian Empire in the 17th century, many of Varanasi's Hindu temples were destroyed and replaced with mosques, but in the 18th century, modern Varanasi began to take shape as Hindu-led governments facilitated the restoration of temples and the building of new shrines. [13], Approximately 250,000 Muslims reside in Varanasi. All this makes Varanasi a significantly holy place. Since then it is also known as the Golden Temple. In 2001, they made up approximately 18% of the population of Varanasi district,[9] and 29.7% of the city's population. Subhamoy Das is the co-author of "Applied Hinduism: Ancient Wisdom for Today's World." [3] In addition to its 3,300 Hindu religious places, Varanasi has 12 churches, three Jain mandirs, nine Buddhist shrines, three Gurdwaras (Sikh shrines), and 1,388 Muslim holy places. [17] Under this Diocese, the St Thomas Church in Godowlia, in the heart of the Hindu dominated area of the city, is an ancient Protestant church, the location of which is said to be the place where St. Thomas had visited to preach in 52 AD. [26][30][31][32], The Ramlila of Ramnagar is a dramatic enactment of Rama's legend, as told in Ramacharitamanasa. The sacred city of Varanasi or also known as Benares is one of the oldest in the world and one of the seven sacred cities for Hinduism, since according to cosmology it is considered the center of the earth. By the 8th century CE, Varanasi had become a center for the worship of Shiva, and accounts from foreign travelers during the medieval period show that it had an unsurpassed reputation as a holy city. Both Hindus and non-Hindus from around the world visit Varanasi for different reasons. [21] Also remaining is the Chaukhandi Stupa commemorating the spot where Buddha met his first disciples in the 5th century. [10] Hindus of the Shakti sect make a pilgrimage to the city because they regard the Ganges itself to be the goddess Shakti. Buddhism is said to have started here in 528 BCE in nearby Sarnath when the Buddha gave his lecture on the first turning of the Wheel of Dharma. [25], On Mahashivaratri (February), a Hindu festival, a procession of Shiva proceeds from the Mahamrityunjaya Temple to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It rests on the left bank of the holy river Ganga (Ganges) and is one of the seven sacred spots for Hindus. Father Stevens of the church believes that the church's brick structure is dated to a period earlier than 1700 AD. Inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in 1936, it has a big relief map of India carved in marble. In 1830, the first English Seminary, named Anglo-Indian Seminary, was instituted and Christian missionaries came to preach but it had no impact on the upper caste Hindus. [19], Sarnath, a suburb of Varanasi, is a place of Buddhist pilgrimage. Other notable religious places of the community are three sacred sites known as Sangats, and a monastery at Ramnagar which is stated to possess an original copy of the Guru Granth Sahib. Varanasi, also known as Kashi, is considered as the religious capital of Hinduism. The 9th Guru Tegh Bahadur (1664–1675) came to Varanasi in 1666 and the place where he resided is called Asu Bhairava Sangar (Nichibagh), which was also the place where Guru Gobind Singh the 10th and the last Guru also stayed. A majority of Sikhs here are migrants from West Punjab in Pakistan who settled here after India's partition in 1947. Varanasi lies along National Highway 2, and is served by The gentle waters of the Ganges, the boat ride at sunrise, the high banks of the ancient ghats, the array of shrines, the meandering narrow serpentine alleys of the city, the myriad temple spires, the palaces at water's edge, the ashrams (hermitages), the pavilions, the chanting of mantras, the fragrance of incense, the palm and cane parasols, the devotional hymn—all offer a kind of mystifying experience that is unique to the city of Shiva. [6][7] Over 50,0Brahmins live in Kashi, providing religious services to the masses. [33] On the last day, the festivities reach a crescendo as Rama vanquishes the demon king Ravana. [33] The plays, sponsored by Kashi Naresh, are performed in Ramnagar every evening for 31 days. The city is a major religious hub in India for Hindus and has an estimated 23,000 temples in the vicinity. Other Hindu holy places, such as the Kedarnath at Kedar Ghat, Mathura at Bakaruia Kund or Nakhi Ghat, Prayagraj (Allahadbad) at Dashahvamedha Ghat, Kamakhya (Assam) at Kamachha, Kurukshetra at Kurkukshetra Kund[1] near Asi, and Lake Manasarovar at Mansarovar near Shyameshvara are a part of the city's religious and cultural heritage. The city has 22 churches. By the 2nd millennium bce, Varanasi was a seat of Aryan religion and philosophy and was also a commercial and industrial centre famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works, and sculpture.

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