Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri, which literally translates to “great night of Shiva” is a Hindu festival largely celebrated in India as well as in Nepal. The festival is celebrated on the new moon day in the month of Maagha according to the Hindu calendar. The day is celebrated to venerate Lord Shiva, an important deity in Hindu culture.
There are many mythological legends associated with this day. According to a popular legend, when a hunter could not find anything to kill for his food in a forest, he waited on the branch of a Woodapple tree. In order to attract deer, he started throwing the leaves of the tree on the ground, unaware that there was a Shiva Lingam beneath the tree. Pleased with the Woodapple leaves and the patience of the hunter, it is believed that Lord Shiva appeared in front of the hunter and blessed him with wisdom. From that day onwards, the hunter stopped eating meat.
Another legend has it that after the Earth was faced with an imminent destruction, Goddess Parvati pledged with Lord Shiva to save the world. Pleased with her prayers, Lord Shiva agreed to save the world on the pretext that the people of the Earth would have to worship him with dedication and passion. From that day onwards, the night came to be known as Maha Shivratri and people began worshipping Shiva with a great enthusiasm.
Some folklore also consider this to be Shiva’s day as this was believed to be the answer given by Lord Shiva when asked about his favorite day by Goddess Parvati.
Maha Shivratri is a Hindu festival which is celebrated by people following Hinduism in India. People often fast on the night of Shivratri and sing hymns and praises in the name of Lord Shiva. Hindu temples across the country are decorated with lights and colorful decorations and people can be seen offering night long prayers to Shiva Lingam. Woodapple leaves, cold water and milk are offered to the Shiva Lingam on this day as they are believed to be Lord Shiva’s favorite.
It is believed that the people who fast on this night and offer prayers to Lord Shiva bring good luck into their life. The most popular Maha Shivratri celebrations take place in Ujjain, believed to be the place of residence of Lord Shiva. Large processions are carried out throughout the city, with people thronging the streets to catch a glimpse of the revered idol of Lord Shiva.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Markande Mahadev Temple

Markande Mahadev Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located in Kaithi (Varanasi - Ghazipur Highway) at a distance of about 25 km from Varanasi on the confluence of River Ganges & Gomti. The temple opens on all days from 3am-11pm. Monday is considered auspicious day. Many festivals like Mahashivratri, Dev Deepawali, Kartik Purnima, fair in Shravan month, 13th day of month (twice), are held here. People come here to perform many rituals in large numbers during these festivals. Dharmsalas are also available to devotees.

Sarang Nath Temple

Sarang Nath temple (lord of deer) had the idol of lord Shiva, With time its name changed to Sarnath temple. it is believed that in ancient days, the temple was known as Mrig Dev temple which means the forest of deers. Mahatma Budh is called the lord of deers.
There is a saga famous about the naming of this place. Forest of deers was ruled by a king Vodhisatva. In his past life, he saved the life of a pregnant female deer by sacrificing his life. Hence this forest is called Sarang + Nath. This place has became dear for the devotees of lord Shiva since, it is located near Kashi.


Ramnagar Lassi

Shiv Prasaad Lassi Bhandar has been serving up lassi since the 1960's.  It is located right at Ramnagar Fort having been built into the fort wall. The snack called "lassi" consists of sweetened yogur topped with "rabri" which is sweetened condensed milk.  It is served in a clay cup called a "coolherd."  A "bhandar" is a warehouse or storeroom.Shiv Prasaad Lassi Bhandar certainly has a lot of lassi stored up!  If your sightseeing at Ramnagar, you wont want to pass up an opportunity to enjoy a lassi at Shiv Prasaad Lassi Bhandar.


Thandai means "a cooling drink or portion containing certain ground spices and seed."  There are two types of thandai: one in which marijuana is mixed called "Bhang" and one called "Sookhaa Mevaa" meaning "dried fruits" in which is mixed crushed nuts such as cashews, pistachios and almonds.  The thandai in which is mixed marijuana (bhang) is drank on the Hindu holidays Holi and Shivratri.  As bhang contains marijuana, it is regulated by the government and sold at government approved shops.  Thandai has several flavours and the price reflects what is mixed into it.  Godowlia crossing is the best place to find thandai.  If you come to Varanasi during Holi or Shivratri and ask for thandai, most people will think you want to drink the one mixed with marijuana.  You will have to clarify it if you want "bhang" or "sookhaa mevaa."  The latter one tastes quite sweet and is really refreshing to drink during the hot season.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ganga Aarti

In Varanasi Ganga Aarti takes place every sunset at holy Dasaswamedh Ghat, near Kashi Vishwanath Temple. It differs from the aartis at Haridwar and Rishikesh in that it's a highly choreographed ceremony. Although a spectacular must-see, some people consider it to be too much of an artificial and showy extravaganza to have a lot of meaning in a spiritual context.
The aarti is performed on a stage by a group of young pandits, all draped in saffron colored robes with their puja plates spread out before them. It commences with the blowing of a conch shell, and continues with the waving of incense sticks in elaborate patterns and circling of large flaming lamps that create a bright hue against the darkened sky. The movement of the lamps, held in the pandits' hands, is tightly synchronizing to the rhythmic chants of hymns and clang of cymbals. The heady scent of sandalwood thickly permeates the air.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Come winter season and the local delicacy of 'malaiyo', the foaming and fizzing seasonal sweet that delights every local of Varanasi with its deliciousness, is seen selling abundantly in the old areas of the city.
Notably, only a few people in old localities of the city are dexterous and experienced enough to have the expertise in preparing the sweet item from raw milk and dew drops. Localities near Kaal Bhairo temple, Maidagin, Chowk, Thathery Bazar and adjacent areas are known for preparing best 'malaiyo' in town. In fact the method of preparations of raw milk into 'malaiyo' in dew drops of winters also differs from one shopkeeper to other.

Banarasi Saree

Banaras is one of the rich weaving craft centre of India, famous for Brocade saris and allover dress material. Exclusive varieties of the saris are Jangla, Tanchoi, Vaskat, Cutwork, Tishu, and Butidar which are made of silk warp and silk weft, on plain/satian ground base, brocaded with extra weft patterns in different layouts introducing Buties, Bells, creepers, Buttas in ground, border and Anchal for getting glamours appearance. As in the History of the India Banaras is known since regveda about 1500 year 2000 year BC and also a period of Ramayana and Mahabharat come to know identical reference about the fame of Banarasi Sharee and Fabrics as known Hiranya Vastra (Putamber Vastra). In the ancient time Banaras was famous for the weaving of cotton saree and dress materials, but slowly switched over to silk weaving, during the Moghal period around 14th century weaving of brocades with intricate designs using gold & Silver threads was the speciality of Banaras.

Banarasi Paan

Banarasi paan is world famous betel leaves. Banarasi  Paan (Betel leaves) to whole world in fresh natural.  banarasi paan which is renowned all over. Paan is also an alternative to mouth refreshner. Banarasi paan is offered with gulkand,grated coconut and dry dates flavers All rolled in an betel leaf. Preparing paan is very artistic, correct proportion of the ingredients make it delicious.With a shelf life ever 4 month, it is an ideal product to served at weddings, parties etc.
The tradition of chewing pan (betel leaf) is deeply rooted in India. From times immemorial, pan has remained a part of sacred Hindu rites and is always offered to the deities. Pan has great significance in the wedding rituals and all other important functions where its offering is a mark of respect for the guests. The earliest known mention of Pan have been found in the inscription found at Mandasor, Madya Pradesh.
Pan popularly known as tambula in Sanskrit is often consumed after the meals as it helps in digestion, also it gives fresh feeling the mouth and relieves the bad breath. Some important facts are that it reduces the blood pressure assists in digestion, relieves hunger, eliminates bad breath, strengthens the teeth and decreases menstrual bleeding. In unani tradition it is used as household remedies.

Seer Goverdhanpur

Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan Mandir, Seer Goverdhanpur, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India is called the "Begumpura" and is the ultimate place of pilgrimage or religious headquarters for followers of the Ravidasi religion. It has become a cherished dream of devotees of Guru Ravidass from the world over to pay their obeisance at Shri Guru Ravidass Janam Asthan Mandir at Seer Goverdhanpur Varanasi at least once in their life. The foundation stone of this Mandir was laid on Monday the 14 June 1965 on Ashad Sankranti day by Sant Hari Dass, along with a large number of devotees of Dera Ballan, specially deputed by Sant Sarwan Dass for the purpose. Devotees traced the birthplace of Guru Ravidass and temple was built. It is believed that Guru Ravidass used to live and do bhakti at this place. The construction of the temple was completed in 1994. Babu Kanshi Ram, the BSP supremo, performed the ceremonial installation of the golden dome atop the temple. KR Narayanan, the then-President of India, performed the opening ceremony of the huge monumental entry gate to the temple, on July 16, 1998.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Saraswati Puja

Maa Saraswati idols (Goddess of Learning) were installed at different Puja Pandals on the occasion of Basant Panchami in Varanasi on February 04, 2014. Thousands offered prayers seeking Vidya and Buddhi (knowledge and wisdom) from the Goddess.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Kachari Chauraha

The spiral fountain will be the major attraction of the Kachari Crossing.The foundation stone of the renovation work of the park was laid by District Administration last month. Some very innovative and new ideas will be used to make the Kachari Crossing attractive as well as educative for the kids.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Vasant Panchami

Vasant Panchami is the Hindu festival that highlights the coming of spring. This festival is usually celebrated in Magh, which is between the months of January and February in Gregorian calendar.
Vasant Panchami is a famous festival that marks the end of the winter season and ushers in the springtime. Sarasvati is the Hindu goddess of the Vasant Panchami festival. Young girls wear bright yellow dresses and participate in the festivities. The color yellow holds a special meaning for this celebration as it signifies the brilliance of nature and the vibrancy of life. The whole place bursts with yellow during the festival.
People dress in yellow and they offer yellow flowers to others and to the gods and goddesses.  They also prepare and feast on a special pastry called kesar halwa or kesar halva, which is made from flour, sugar, nuts, and cardamom powder. This dish also includes saffron strands, which gives it a vibrant yellow color and mild fragrance.  During the Vasant Panchami festival, India’s crop fields are filled with the color yellow, as the yellow mustard flowers bloom at this time of the year. Pens, notebooks, and pencils are placed near the goddess Devi's feet to be blessed before they are used by students.