Tourist Attractions in Varanasi
The various other attractions in Varanasi besides the
Kashi Vishwanath Temple are the Mosque of Alamgir,
Annapurna Temple, Panch Kosi Road, Bhaironath Temple,
Gopal Mandir, Durga Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Bharat
Mata Temple and Banaras Hindu University.
Panch Kosi Road
Every pilgrim, in addition to visiting the holy
sites, must make a circuit of the Panch Kosi Road
which runs outside and round the sacred territory
of Varanasi. This starts at Manikarnika Ghat, runs
along the waterfront to Asi Ghat then round the
outskirts in a large semi-circle to Barna Ghat.
The 58 km route is lined with trees and shrines
and the pilgrimage is supposed to take 6 days,
each day’s walk finishing in a small village,
suitably equipped with temples and Dharamshala.
Varanasi is said to combine all the virtues of all other
places of pilgrimage and anyone dying within the area
marked by the Panch Kosi road is transported straight to
heaven. This encourages some of the very devout to move
to Varanasi to end their days.
Mosque of Alamgir
The Muslim Mosque of Alamgir lies to the north west of
the Gyan Kuan or the well of knowledge. The imposing
minarets are 70 m high and was built by Aurangzeb on the
site of a Hindu temple. Hindus have since reclaimed part
of the land and in consequence, the mosque is entered
from the side.
The Annapurna Temple (18th century) is dedicated to
Kali. The name is derived from Anna (food), purna (who
is filled). The goddess Annapurna is supposed to have
been given orders to feed the inhabitants of Varanasi.
Consequently, there are always a number of beggars in
front of the temple which was built by the Peshwa Baji
The Bhaironath Temple was built by the ex-Peshwa Baji
Rao II in 1825. The image inside is believed to be that
of the Kotwal or next to it. You can buy sugar dogs from
the stalls outside to offer to the image.
The Gopal Mandir is also near the Kotwali and in the
temple garden is a small hut in which Tulsi Das is said
to have composed the Binaya Patrika poem which some
authorities believe to be superior to the Ramayana.
The Durga Temple (19th century) has finely carved
columns and a colonnaded courtyard. This is also
called the monkey temple as many have made it
their home. It is painted ochre and was built by a
Bengali Maharani. It is closed to non-Hindus but
there is an upper level walkway that you can walk
round and get view inside.
Tulsi Manas Temple
Tulsi Manas Temple, a modern marble building whose walls
are engraved with verses from the Charit Manas, the
Hindi version of the Ramayana, on the walls. Non-Hindus
are not allowed inside the temple.
Bharat Mata Temple
Bharat Mata Temple, is situated south of Cantonment
Station. There is a relief map of Mother India in
Banaras Hindu University
Banaras Hindu University is one of the largest campus
universities in India to the south of the city and is
almost opposite Ramnagar Fort on the other bank. Founded
at the turn of the century, it was originally intended
for the study of Sanskrit, India art, music and culture
and has a museum. The New Visvanath temple is in the
university semi circle and was financed by the Birla
family. Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya (1862-1942),
long-serving chancellor of the university, was a great
nationalist and wished to resurrect the idea of Hinduism
without cast distinctions. Consequently, the marble
temple, said to be modeled on the old Visvanath Temple
destroyed by Aurangzeb, is open to all.
Ramnagar fort was the residence of the former Maharaja
of Varanasi where the Durbar Hall (hall of Public
Audience) houses a museum. This fort is very beautifully
situated and surrounded by narrow, crowded streets, but
the Fort is run down.