Varanasi also knows as Banaras, is regarded as the spiritual capital of India, a city in the North India state of Uttar Pradesh, from the very 11th century B.C. The city ties Hindu devotees that bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and also perform funeral rites. Along the city's convolution streets are some 2,000 temples, that include the Kashi Vishwanath also known as the “Golden Temple,” dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva.
Virgin as the oldest of traditions and as modern as the new world if ever there was a perfect mix of two ends here it is, the city is, as often said older than history, older than the tradition itself, older than the legends and if you look it looks twice as old as all of them put together.
This being the poetic notional of the spirit of a religion, an ideology and a set of people brought together by it, takes its share of productive liberty ,yet isn’t far from the truth. A city located in modern times and geography by relativity, yet caught in a time set of its own, Varanasi or Banaras as its people call it with love and passion is a beautiful bundle of contradictions, a curious collection of contradictions and a beautiful design of dichotomy of religion and spirituality of advances and soul-searches of belief and rationality of Gods and Humanity. As a result, what transpires is a beautiful affability of various colours of chaos, bound together by desires towards a common purpose to some which is salvation,to some moksha, to some nirvana, and to some simply loveand affection.
A Hindu mythology says that Varanasi was founded by their Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva is considered to be one of the main deities along with Brahma and Vishnu.
Coming on to Lord Buddha, The Buddha is believed to have founded Buddhism here, when he gave his first oration, "The Setting in Motion of the Wheel of Dharma", at Sarnath.
The dominant languages of Varanasi are the Awadhi and Bhojpuri local parlance of Hindi-Urdu.
Varanasi is one of the largest tourist attraction places in India, it grew and keeps growing as an important industrial centre, very famous for its muslin and silk fabrics, scents, ivory works, and sculptures.
Varanasi remained a centre of venture for prodigies and scholars during the Middle Ages, which further accorded to its status as a cultural centre of religion and education. Many major individuals of the Bhakti movement were born in here, including Kabir Das Ji and Ravidas Ji. Kabir Das Ji was a 15th-century socio-religious anarchist, mystic, poet, traveller, and spiritual person.
The native symbols of Varanasi's faith has the stories of past written all over it so clearly that it always has and will keep influencing the individuals to express its story and often find their own stories in it and demonstrating it in the most beautiful ways. No wonder then that this city has been the hosts of some of the most admirable musicians, writers, dancers and men of spiritual belief in recent times. The city does inspire others to find themselves and find peace from within, however, is not easy to find its own path. The city is not easy; with its small trails that try to absorb the wisdom and history of centuries within them, it is easy to forget your paths here hence, giving you a feeling that you’re in a labyrinth. With a temple on each corner and lanes and places named after Gods, it is usually baffling to adjust to the places here. With people, cows and the river living in a limited space, it often creates a chaos but who even has found a right path without choosing some wrong paths at the beginning?
Varanasi is believed to be a city of celebrations. But leave alone festivals, even deaths are celebrated here. One of the so many festivals that are celebrated here is called “Rangbhari Ekadashi”. It is noticed that on the eleventh day during the enlarging phase of the moon in the “Phalgun” month that is the last month of the Hindu Calendar. This festival marks the beginning of Holy celebrations in the city.
According to the Hindu Beliefs, Lord Shiva got married to Goddess Parvati on Mahashivratri which is celebrated on the 13th or the 14th night of the diminishing phase of the moon in the month of Phalgun. It was on Rangbhari Ekadashi that Goddess Parvati came from her father’s house to forever live with Lord Shiva. Locals of the city mention this ritual as “Gauna”.
Each year, the statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are carried on acessorised Palakis from the house of previous Pandit that is the Head Priest of Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The parade goes from there through the narrow alleys and bylanes to the temple. During the entire parade, the followers play with colors and sing and dance along with many musical instruments. They offer gulal and flowers to the Gods. Every lane that the parade passes by is covered in the colors, flowers and the high spirits of the followers.