Varanasi has a vast number of beautiful Hindu temples and we visited Durga Temple, Tulsi Manas Mandir and Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Unfortunately I don’t have many photos as most of the temples don’t allow phones or cameras inside.
The Tulsi Manas Mandir was my favourite with beautiful inscriptions along the wall of the Ramayan in Hindi. The story was originally written in the ancient Sanskrit language which was not understood by the masses, so having the translation in Hindi made it accessible to the public.
We also went to Bharat Mata Temple (meaning Mother India Temple) which isn’t actually a temple with murthis (statues) of god and goddesses but instead has a magnificent stone map of India carved into the floor. It was constructed by freedom fighters as a symbol of an independent undivided India and inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi.
In the afternoon, after a brief visit to Banaras Hindu University, we visited Sarnath which is known as the birthplace of Buddhism. There’s a museum, an archaeological site of ancient monasteries and a huge Stupa which marks the place where Buddha gave his first sermon.
It’s a beautiful peaceful site which many Buddhists visit, along with the Mulagandhakuti Vihara Temple which has stunning murals depicting the life of Buddha painted along the walls.