Why Varanasi is Called Banaras?
Kashi, also known as Varanasi, is one of India’s oldest and most sacred cities. It is situated in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, along the banks of the Ganges River. For thousands of years, the city has served as a significant religious and cultural hub in India. Banaras is another name for Varanasi, and it is more widely used than Varanasi.
This article will go into the origins of Varanasi’s name change, the significance of Banaras in Hinduism, and why Varanasi is referred to as Banaras.
The Name-Changing of Varanasi to Banaras: History
Varanasi, the city’s prehistoric Sanskrit name, is where Banaras gets its name. Varanasi is often referred to as Banaras, a shorter and more common name for the city that is popular in India. Early in the 17th century, during the rule of the Mughal emperor Akbar, the name Banaras rose in popularity.
Maharaja Ishwari Prasad Narayan Singh, a Hindu monarch, governed Varanasi during Akbar’s dominion. Ishwari Prasad Narayan Singh was a strong and well-respected monarch who got along well with Akbar. Akbar was awestruck by Varanasi’s beauty and cultural importance when he visited. In order to respect the Hindu ruler and his people, he chose to rename the city. Varanasi was renamed Banaras by Akbar, which is Sanskrit for “the city of light.”
Since then, Varanasi and Banaras are often used interchangeably. It is more widely used than Varanasi and known as the name of the holy city all across the world.
Banaras’ significance in Hinduism
One of the seven most significant Hindu pilgrimage sites is Banaras. Lord Shiva, the remover of evil and one of Hinduism’s most revered deities, is thought to reside in the city. Hindu legend states that Lord Shiva once resided in the city and bestowed his blessings upon it. Everyone who passes away in Banaras is thought to be saved and released from the cycle of birth and death.
Banaras is renowned for its ghats, which are steps that descend to the Ganges river’s banks. Hindus often go to the Ghats to do religious ceremonies and take a holy bath in the Ganges. The Ganges river in Banaras is said to have the power to cleanse the soul and wash away sins.
The city is renowned for its historic temples and places of worship. One of Banaras’ most well-known and significant temples is Kashi Vishwanath. It is devoted to Lord Shiva and is thought to be one of India’s twelve Jyotirlingas.
Moreover, Banaras serves as a hub for the study of Hindu philosophy and Sanskrit. The prominent Banaras Hindu University, one of India’s oldest and most esteemed universities, is located in the city. The institution, which was established in 1916, is renowned for providing top-notch instruction in Hindu philosophy, Sanskrit, and other conventional Indian disciplines.
The city of Banaras is rich in religious significance and history. It is well-known on a global scale as one of Hinduism’s holiest and most significant cities. Varanasi is now more often known by the name Banaras, which has come to be considered synonymous with the city. Millions of tourists from around the world travel to the city to enjoy its spiritual and cultural significance because of its rich cultural and religious legacy.
The city of Banaras is intricately woven with Indian culture and society. People from all walks of life converge in this city to experience the magic of the Ganges and the spiritual energy of the place, where ancient traditions and modern life coexist. Many temples, ashrams, and holy sites may be found throughout the city’s vivid and colourful streets, providing visitors with a window into India’s rich history and culture.
In the end, changing the name of Varanasi to Banaras in the 17th century was a sign of the unity between the Mughal emperors and the Hindu kings of India in terms of race and culture. Since then, the term Banaras has become an essential component of the city’s character and is acknowledged as the most often-used name for the holy city. Due to Banaras’ unrivalled cultural and religious importance in Hinduism, the city continues to draw millions of tourists each year who come to enjoy the allure of this old and sacred city.