Why Varanasi is called Kashi: An Overview
Varanasi, a city in the Uttar Pradesh region of northern India, is often referred to as Kashi. It is regarded as one of the oldest cities that have been inhabited continuously on the globe and is a significant center for Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism.
The Ghats, temples, and cultural and spiritual legacies of the city are well-known. This article will examine the origins of the term “Kashi,” its meaning, and the etymology of Varanasi’s Kashi moniker.
Why Varanasi is called Kashi: The name’s origin of Kashi
The word “Kashi,” which means “to shine” or “to appear,” is derived from the old Sanskrit word “Kas.” Hindu legend says that Lord Shiva once told his wife Parvati to find a place where people could stop being born and dying.
Varanasi, known at the time as “Avimukta,” or the “eternally pure,” was Parvati’s choice. According to legend, Lord Shiva visited this location and showed up in his dazzling form; as a result, the location became known as “Kashi,” which means “the bright one.”
Why Varanasi is called Kashi: Kashi in Hindu Texts and Mythology
Kashi is one of India’s seven holiest places, and Hindu mythology has a lot to say about it. Those who pass away at Kashi are said to be freed from the cycle of life and death, or moksha. The Hindu book Skanda Purana says that Kashi is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, which are the most revered lingams or symbols of Lord Shiva.
It is also said to be his home. One of the oldest Hindu books, the Rigveda, also talks about the city and calls it the “city of light.”
The Mughal Period in Kashi
Kashi saw considerable alterations during the Mughal era. During his visit to Kashi in 1575, Mughal Emperor Akbar gave the order to build the magnificent Gyanvapi Mosque next to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. The mosque was erected where a temple had been razed, which infuriated the Hindu community greatly. In spite of this, Kashi thrived as a hub for spirituality, culture, and the arts.
Kashi Today: A Center for Spirituality and Culture
Every year, millions of pilgrims still go to Kashi, which is still an important Hindu religious center. More than 2,000 temples can be found in the city, including the well-known Kashi Vishwanath Temple, which is devoted to Lord Shiva. Ghats, which are steps that descend to the banks of the Ganges, are another well-known feature of the city. These ghats are used for rituals, bathing, and funeral rites.
In addition, Kashi is a center for artistic pursuits like dance, music, and literature. The city is the birthplace of the Kashi-born Benares Gharana, a type of classical music. Several talented writers have come out of the city, including the well-known Hindi poet Kabir and the writer Munshi Premchand.
In conclusion, Kashi is a city with a long history and a rich cultural legacy. The Sanskrit term for “to shine” in the name “Kashi” carries significant meaning on its own. Kashi is still a very important place for spirituality, art, and culture. People come from all over the world to see its unique beauty and charm.