The sacred most sites for Buddhists, Bodhgaya is situated about 255kms from Varanasi. It is reckoned to be the place where Buddha attained enlightment. The Mahabodhi Temple is the major attraction of Bodhgaya; this temple is recognized by its soaring pyramidal spire. In the temple, the image of Bodhi Tree can also be seen. The tree is believed to be the one under which Buddha meditated before attaining enlightment. In Bodhgaya, there are a number of temples and monasteries that are worth seeing; the Thai Temple, Japanese Temple, Bhutanese and Tibetan Monasteries are established here by devotees from China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Bhutan and Nepal. The Archaeological Museum in Bodhgaya is also worth seeing. The museum has beautiful 3rd century BC temple railings, bronze and stone images that dates back to 8th-12th century.
Considered to be an auspicious place to be cremated, Manikarnika Ghat is among the pivotal places of interest in Varanasi. This ghat is an exasperating and startling experience in itself as absolutely nothing is considered sacrilegious here. The setting sun and the glowing pyres along with candle-lit flower bowls floating down the holy river Ganga make Manikarnika Ghat a sight to behold. extra info on Alaknanda cruise online booking.
Kalbhairav Temple: This temple is located close to Visheshar Ganj. The temple is open from 5 in the morning to 1:30 in the afternoon and from 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm. According to legends, when the Vedas and sages declared Lord Shiva to be the greatest power of all, Lord Brahma became very arrogant and even laughed at the decision. Lord Shiva took the form of Kaal Bhairav and broke the fifth head of Brahma. Lord Shiva then mentioned that his new form, Kaal Bhairav will stay in Kashi (today’s Varanasi) forever to remove the sins from the world. According to another legend, Lord Shiva took the form of Kaal Bhairav and broke the head of Lord Brahma. At that instant, he was affected by Brahma Hastiya sin (sin of hurting a Brahmin). The fifth head of Lord Brahma stuck to Lord Shiva’s hand. He roamed all around the universe with the severed head. When he reached Varanasi, the head dropped from his hand, indicating that his sins have been washed. Thus, Varanasi became the place for any sin to be washed.
In an effort to promote tourism, Varanasi has started a 5-star luxury tourist cruise at Khidkiya Ghat, on September 2. The vessel named Alaknanda, is the first ever luxury cruise that will ferry passengers around all the 84 ghats. The 30-metre long double-decked modern liner, can ferry up to 110 passengers. The service is started by Varanasi-based start-up venture Nordic Cruiseline.
Chandraprabha sanctuary is situated to the Southeast of Varanasi. Though one of India’s lesser-known sanctuaries, Chandraprabha is endowed with beautiful picnic spots, dense forests, and scenic waterfalls like Rajdari and Devdari that attract a large number of tourists.
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