Saturday, November 13, 2010

Essay on Varanasi

Essay on Varanasi

If I had a chance to visit any city in the world I would want to visit a city that is renowned for its spirituality. For this I would almost certainly have to go to the East. I think I would want to go to either Varanasi, India or Kathmandu, Nepal.

These two cities come to mind because many people have traveled to both cities on religious pilgrimages. There is a lot of sight seeing in both cites specially the temples and holy shrines.

In Kathmandu many of these sites are huddled together in a place called Durbar Square some of these include: Kasthamandap dedicated to Gorakhnath, Maju Deval a Shiva temple, Jaganath Temple a place dedicated to the human body and adorned with many erotic carvings. Also, located here is Taleju Temple, probably one of the most beautiful temples in Dunbar, is unfortunately not open to the public. There is a bell here that would be worth checking out because it is believed to ward off evil spirits when rang.

Varanasi, I think is a little more famous for its temples and there is a lot more as well. Many people travel from far away to visit the temples along the river to bath in the holiest river in India. There is also a temple that is dedicated to Shiva that is gold plated called Kashi Vishwanath. Durga Temple which was built in the 8th Century is thought of as the most important temple in this city. There is a temple dedicated to Mother India which has a three dimensional map that has all the mountains, plains, and oceans in the right proportions. There is a temple that is probably the most appealing to me which is adorned with wood carvings, and unlike any temple in India it is known as the Nepali Temple. It was built by people from Nepal out of wood from Nepal. There is also a observatory that was built in the 1600s called Jantar Mantar. There is instruments here that record the motion, speed, and properties of various heavenly bodies and are as accurate as any of the modern instruments today.

Both of these cities have museums. In Varanasi the museum is at the Kashi Hindu University, although small in size it has many ancient artifacts, statues, paintings, and manuscripts. In Kathmandu, there is a museum that celebrates a former ruler, King Tribhuvan, and you can get an interesting glimpse into his own personal life.

Kathmandu has a place that is of some importance to our own modern history. This place is called Freak Street; it was made famous in the 60's and 70's. Many hippies traveled here because of the cheap hotels, a more diverse culture, and shops that sold enlightenment, epiphany and pretty much any drug you could think of.

Although I like the idea of visiting Kathmandu, I think I like Varanasi better. The name of Varanasi means the city of spiritual light, and also, it is found in the both the Hindu mythology and the Buddhist scriptures. It is said to be the place where Shiva and his wife stood when time started ticking. It is kind of ironic though, that the temple that I am the most interested in is built in the same fashion as the temples in Kathmandu. I think the real seller on Varanasi is that any one who dies in it’s city limits is automatically granted into heaven, and lets face it in this day and age this definitely needs to be taken into consideration.

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