Kabir, a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint
Banarasi sari
Bhagirathi River at Gangotri.
Tourists shopping for jewellery in Varanasi
Devprayag, confluence of Alaknanda (right) and Bhagirathi (left), and beginning of the Ganges proper.
Ganges view from Bhadaini water works, Varanasi
The Himalayan headwaters of the Ganges River in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, India.
Ramnagar Fort was built in 1750 by Kashi Naresh Raja Balwant Singh.
The Gandhi Setu Bridge across the Ganges in Patna, Bihar
Alamgiri Mosque
A sailboat on the main distributory of the Ganges in Bangladesh, the Padma river.
Memorial of Sant Ravidas at Sant Ravidas Ghat
The Ganges delta in a 2020 satellite image.
Sarnath, the suburb of Varanasi
A 1908 map showing the course of the Ganges and its tributaries.
Bharat Kala Bhavan Museum, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
The River Ganges at Kolkata, with Howrah Bridge in the background
Wall paintings, Varanasi, 1973
Lower Ganges in Lakshmipur, Bangladesh
Sant Goswami Tulsidas Awadhi Hindi poet and propagator of Bhakthi music in Varanasi
Hardinge Bridge, Bangladesh, crosses the Ganges-Padma River. It is one of the key sites for measuring streamflow and discharge on the lower Ganges.
Krishna standing on serpent Kaliya during Nag Nathaiya festival in Varanasi
Chromolithograph, Indian woman floating lamps on the Ganges, by William Simpson, 1867
The Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi
Descent of Ganga, painting by Raja Ravi Varma c. 1910
Indian Institute of Technology in Varanasi
Preparations for cremations on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi], 1903. The dead are being bathed, wrapped in cloth, and covered with wood. The photograph has a caption, "Who dies in the waters of the Ganges obtains heaven."]
The Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport is the main airport that serves Varanasi.
Women and children at a bathing ghat on the Ganges in Banares (Varanasi), 1885.
Varanasi Junction, is the main railway station which serves Varanasi.
Shiva, as Gangadhara, bearing the Descent of the Ganges, as the goddess Parvati, the sage Bhagiratha, and the bull Nandi look on (circa 1740).
Banaras railway station at night
A procession of Akharas marching over a makeshift bridge over the Ganges River. Kumbh Mela at Allahabad, 2001.
Ring Road Phase I
Head works of the Ganges canal in Haridwar (1860). Photograph by Samuel Bourne.
Road in Varanasi Cantonment
The Ganges Canal highlighted in red stretching between its headworks off the Ganges River in Haridwar and its confluences with the Jumna (Yamuna) River in Etawah and with the Ganges in Cawnpore (now Kanpur).
BLW manufactured locomotives hauling load across the nation.
A girl selling plastic containers in Haridwar for carrying Ganges water.
A lithograph by James Prinsep (1832) of a Brahmin placing a garland on the holiest location in the city.
Ganges from Space
A painting by Edwin Lord Weeks (1883) of Varanasi, viewed from the Ganges.
Lesser florican (Sypheotides indicus)
An illustration (1890) of Bathing Ghat in Varanasi.
The catla (Catla catla) is one of the Indian carp species that support major fisheries in the Ganges
Maharaja of Benares, 1870s.
The threatened gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is a large fish-eating crocodilian that is harmless to humans
Map of the city, c. 1914.
The Gangetic dolphin in a sketch by Whymper and P. Smit, 1894.
An 1895 photograph of the Varanasi riverfront.
People bathing and washing clothes in the Ganges in Varanasi.
The lanes of Varanasi are bathed in a plethora of colours.
Dashashwamedh Ghat
Manikarnika Ghat
The Jain Ghat/Bachraj Ghat
Kedar Ghat during Kartika Purnima
The Kashi Vishwanath Temple, the most important temple in Varanasi.
Shri Vishwanath Mandir has the tallest temple tower in the world.<ref name="Brief description">{{cite news|title=Brief description|publisher=Benaras Hindu University website|access-date=7 March 2015|url=http://www.bhu.ac.in/VT/|url-status=dead |archive-url=https://www.webcitation.org/6zTH4V8Me?url=http://www.bhu.ac.in/VT/ |archive-date=17 May 2018}}</ref>
The 18th century Durga Kund Temple
Parshvanath Jain temple

Varanasi is a city on the Ganges river in northern India that has a central place in pilgrimage, death, and mourning in the Hindu world, even as the traditions are transformed in the face of modernization, generational changes and emigration.

- Varanasi

It has been important historically, with many former provincial or imperial capitals such as Pataliputra, Kannauj, Kara, Munger, Kashi, Patna, Hajipur, Delhi, Bhagalpur, Murshidabad, Baharampur, Kampilya, and Kolkata located on its banks or the banks of tributaries and connected waterways.

- Ganges
Kabir, a 15th-century Indian mystic poet and saint

10 related topics


North India

Loosely defined region consisting of the northern part of India.

Loosely defined region consisting of the northern part of India.

States under Northern India Zonal Council in orange
Late Vedic Culture (1100-500 BCE)
Vedic India covered North, Central, Western and Eastern India
Children playing cricket in North Indian state of Himachal Pradesh
Sunset on the sand dunes at Thar desert located in North Indian state of Rajasthan
Distribution of Indo-Aryan languages.
North Indian Hindu bride in Lehenga
Chinkara in Madhya Pradesh, India
Goat at Great Himalayan national Park in Himachal Pradesh
Jim Corbett National Park
Sunrise in Kishtwar National Park, Jammu and Kashmir, India
Akshardham Temple, Delhi
The Taj Mahal at Agra
Amer Fort in Rajasthan

It has a diverse culture, and includes the Hindu pilgrimage centres of Char Dham, Haridwar, Varanasi, Ayodhya, Mathura, Allahabad, Vaishno Devi and Pushkar, the Buddhist pilgrimage centres of Sarnath and Kushinagar, the Sikh Golden Temple as well as world heritage sites such as the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Khajuraho temples, Hill Forts of Rajasthan, Jantar Mantar (Jaipur), Qutb Minar, Red Fort, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and the Taj Mahal.

Varanasi, on the banks of the River Ganga, is considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the second oldest in India after Nalanda.

Uttar Pradesh

State in northern India.

State in northern India.

A part of the Gangetic Plain
Monsoon clouds over Indirapuram
Divisions of Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh is the largest subdivion by population in the world. The red area has a smaller population than Uttar Pradesh.
Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha), the lower house of the bicameral legislature.
Logo of Uttar Pradesh Police, the largest police force in the world.
Sown saplings of rice in a paddy; located in the rich fertile Indo-Gangetic Plain, agriculture is the largest employment generator in the state.
IT premise in Noida, which is known for infrastructure and services, as well as high-end housing complexes.
A section of Delhi–Noida Direct Flyway
Indian field hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand
Ekana Cricket Stadium in Lucknow.
JRHU is the world's first school for the handicapped
Central Drug Research Institute, an autonomous multidisciplinary research institute
Kumbh Mela 2013 at Sangam, Allahabad
The battle of Kurukshetra, folio from the Mahabharata
Kathak dancer performing
Devotees inside Krishna temple during Lathmaar Holi
Uttar Pradeshi thali with naan, sultani dal, raita, and shahi paneer
Paan (betel leaves) being served with silver foil
Anandabodhi tree in Jetavana Monastery, Sravasti
A hybrid nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) showing nectar spur, found mainly in Hardoi district
View of the Terai region
The threatened Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) is a large fish-eating crocodilian found in the Ganges River

The two major rivers of the state, the Ganges and its tributary Yamuna, meet at the Triveni Sangam in Prayagraj, a Hindu pilgrimage site.

Uttar Pradesh has several historical, natural, and religious tourist destinations, including Agra, Aligarh, Ayodhya, Kushinagar, Prayagraj, Varanasi and Vrindavan.


Metropolis in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Metropolis in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

The Ashoka pillar at Allahabad (photo c. 1900) contains many inscriptions since the 3rd-century BCE. Sometime about 1575 CE, Birbal of Akbar's era added an inscription that mentions the "Magh mela at Prayag Tirth Raj".
Allahabad Fort, built by Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1575 on the banks of the Yamuna River.
Tomb of Nithar Begum (daughter of Mughal Emperor Jahangir) at Khusro Bagh.
Mahatma Gandhi at a January 1940 Congress Working Committee meeting with Vallabhbhai Patel and Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit at Anand Bhavan in Allahabad
Allahabad University, established in 1887, is one of the oldest modern universities in the Indian subcontinent.
Pilgrims at the Triveni Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges and the Yamuna rivers in Allahabad.
The Yamuna in Allahabad during the rainy season
A typical Indian peacock, found in Allahabad on a large scale
The Allahabad High Court is India's fourth-oldest high court
New Yamuna Bridge in Allahabad
MLN Medical College, the Government Medical College in Allahabad
Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology Allahabad, a public engineering and management school
Anand Bhavan, owned by Indian political leader Motilal Nehru
A procession of pilgrims cross the Ganges during the 2001 Kumbh Mela in Allahabad

Allahabad lies close to Triveni Sangam, the "three-river confluence" of the Ganges, Yamuna and Sarasvati rivers.

Alam, who was abandoned by Shuja after the defeats, surrendered to the English and was lodged at the fort, as they captured Allahabad, Benares and Chunar in his name.

A Balinese Hindu family after puja at Bratan temple in Bali, Indonesia


Indian religion and dharma, or way of life.

Indian religion and dharma, or way of life.

A Balinese Hindu family after puja at Bratan temple in Bali, Indonesia
Om, a stylized letter of Devanagari script, used as a religious symbol in Hinduism
Swami Vivekananda was a key figure in introducing Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and the United States, raising interfaith awareness and making Hinduism a world religion.
Ganesha is one of the best-known and most worshipped deities in the Hindu pantheon.
The Hare Krishna group at the Esplanadi Park in Helsinki, Finland
The festival of lights, Diwali, is celebrated by Hindus all over the world.
Hindus in Ghana celebrating Ganesh Chaturti
Holi celebrated at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Utah, United States.
Kedar Ghat, a bathing place for pilgrims on the Ganges at Varanasi
Priests performing Kalyanam (marriage) of the holy deities at Bhadrachalam Temple, in Telangana. It is one of the temples in India, where Kalyanam is done everyday throughout the year.
A statue of Shiva in yogic meditation.
Basic Hindu symbols: Shatkona, Padma, and Swastika.
Kauai Hindu monastery in Kauai Island in Hawaii is the only Hindu Monastery in the North American continent.
A sadhu in Madurai, India.
The Hindu Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram was built by Narasimhavarman II.

In these texts, Varanasi (Benares, Kashi), Rameshwaram, Kanchipuram, Dwarka, Puri, Haridwar, Sri Rangam, Vrindavan, Ayodhya, Tirupati, Mayapur, Nathdwara, twelve Jyotirlinga and Shakti Peetha have been mentioned as particularly holy sites, along with geographies where major rivers meet (sangam) or join the sea.

This pilgrimage rotates at a gap of three years among four sites: Prayag Raj at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers, Haridwar near source of the Ganges, Ujjain on the Shipra river and Nasik on the bank of the Godavari river.

David Teniers the Younger: Flemish Pilgrim


Journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about their self, others, nature, or a higher good, through the experience.

Journey, often into an unknown or foreign place, where a person goes in search of new or expanded meaning about their self, others, nature, or a higher good, through the experience.

David Teniers the Younger: Flemish Pilgrim
Ancient excavated Buddha-image at the Mahaparinirvana Temple, Kushinagar
Tibetans on a pilgrimage to Lhasa, doing full-body prostrations, often for the entire length of the journey
Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, Israel according to tradition is the site where Jesus was crucified and resurrected
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fátima is one of the largest pilgrimage sites (Marian shrine) in the world.
Kumbh Mela
Muslim pilgrims circumambulate the black cube of the Kaaba in the Al-Haram Mosque
Arba'een pilgrims in Mehran
Jews at the Western Wall in Jerusalem during the Ottoman period, 1867
Sikh pilgrim at the Harmandir Sahib (the Golden Temple) in Amritsar, India.
Baishatun Pilgrimage: Mazu and her palanquin
The Yazd Atash Behram in Iran is an Atash Bahram, the highest grade of fire temple in Zoroastrianism

Kanwar Pilgrimage: The Kanwar is India's largest annual religious pilgrimage. As part of this phenomenon, millions of participants gather sacred water from the Ganga (usually in Haridwar, Gangotri, Gaumukh, or Sultanganj) and carry it across hundreds of miles to dispense as offerings in Śiva shrines.

Old Holy cities per Puranic Texts: Varanasi also known as Kashi (Shiva), Allahabad also known as Prayag, Haridwar-Rishikesh (Vishnu), Mathura-Vrindavan (Krishna), Pandharpur (Krishna), Paithan, Kanchipuram (Parvati), Dwarka (Krishna) and Ayodhya (Rama).

Indo-Gangetic Plain

Indo-Gangetic Plain

172 e6acre fertile plain encompassing northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, including most of northern and eastern India, around half of Pakistan, virtually all of Bangladesh and southern plains of Nepal.

172 e6acre fertile plain encompassing northern regions of the Indian subcontinent, including most of northern and eastern India, around half of Pakistan, virtually all of Bangladesh and southern plains of Nepal.

Indo-Gangetic Plain
Clusters of yellow lights on the Indo-Gangetic Plain reveal numerous cities large and small in this photograph of northern India and northern Pakistan, seen from the northwest. The orange line is the India–Pakistan border.
A part of the Indo-Gangetic Plain over Northern, Central and Eastern India as well as its neighbouring countries

The region is named after the Indus and the Ganges rivers and encompasses a number of large urban areas.

Most Prominent of them were Chauhans of Ajmer along with Gahadavals Or Rathores of Varanasi and many petty Rajput kingdoms.

Meandering main Ganga river, known here as Neel Dhara (left) and the Ganga canal (right), passing through Haridwar.


City and municipal corporation in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India.

City and municipal corporation in the Haridwar district of Uttarakhand, India.

Meandering main Ganga river, known here as Neel Dhara (left) and the Ganga canal (right), passing through Haridwar.
Ganga Aarti at Haridwar
Prince Bhagiratha in penance for the salvation of 60,000 of his ancestors.
Gangadhara, Shiva bearing the Descent of the Ganges River as Parvati and Bhagiratha, and the bull Nandi look on. circa 1740
Head of the Ganges Canal, Haridwar, ca 1894–1898.
Haridwar from the opposite bank of the Ganges, 1866
Haridwar as a part of the United Province, 1903
Neeldhara Bird Sanctuary at the main Ganges Canal, before Bhimgoda Barrage, also showing signs of an ancient port.
Panoramic view of Har ki Pauri
Panorama of Haridwar city from Mansa Devi Temple
Main bathing Ghat, at Haridwar, in the 1880s.
The Clock Tower on the Malviya Dwip at Har Ki Pauri.
The Haridwar Kumbh Mela is held in every 12 years and the date is determined by Hindu astrology.
Das Mahavidya temple, Daksheswara Mahadev temple
Ropeway to Mansa Devi Temple, Haridwar.
Bholanath Sevashram temple by the Ganges, Haridwar
Haridwar from Chilla Range, Rajaji National Park
Shiva statue by the Ganges, across Har-ki-Pauri, Haridwar
Shri Chintamani Parshwnath Jain Shwetambar Mandir
Pantanjali Yogpeeth
Haridwar Railway station

The city is situated on the right bank of the Ganges river, at the foothills of the Shivalik ranges.

Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Kasi, Kanchi, Avantika and Dwaraka are the seven holy places.


One of the principal deities of Hinduism.

One of the principal deities of Hinduism.

An ancient sculpture of Shiva at the Elephanta Caves, Maharashtra. 6th century CE
The Pashupati seal discovered during excavation of the Indus Valley archaeological site of Mohenjo-Daro and showing a possible representation of a "yogi" or "proto-Shiva" figure as Paśupati (= "Lord of the Animals"). Circa 2350-2000 BCE
Three-headed Shiva, Gandhara, 2nd century AD
Lingodbhava is a Shaiva sectarian icon where Shiva is depicted rising from the Lingam (an infinite fiery pillar) that narrates how Shiva is the foremost of the Trimurti; Brahma on the left and Vishnu on the right are depicted bowing to Shiva in the centre.
Ardhanarishvara sculpture, Khajuraho, depicting Shiva with goddess Parvati as his equal half. In the Ardhanarisvara concept, the icon is presented as half-man and half woman.
Oleograph by Raja Ravi Varma depicting a Shiva-centric Panchayatana. A bearded Shiva sits in the centre with his wife Parvati and their infant son Ganesha; surrounded by (clockwise from left upper corner) Ganesha, Devi, Vishnu, and Surya. Shiva's mount is the bull Nandi below Shiva.
Shiva with Parvati. Shiva is depicted three-eyed, the Ganges flowing through his matted hair, wearing ornaments of serpents and a skull garland, covered in ashes, and seated on a tiger skin.
A seated Shiva holds an axe and deer in his hands.
Chola dynasty statue depicting Shiva dancing as Nataraja (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
The 10th century five headed Shiva, Sadashiva, Cambodia
Shiva Lingam with tripundra
Shiva sculpture, Dieng Plateau in Java, Indonesia
Mahakala, c. 1500 CE Tibetan Thangka

The iconographical attributes of Shiva are the serpent around his neck, the adorning crescent moon, the holy river Ganga flowing from his matted hair, the third eye on his forehead (the eye that turns everything in front of it into ashes when opened), the trishula or trident as his weapon, and the damaru drum.

Varanasi: Varanasi (Benares) is considered to be the city specially loved by Shiva, and is one of the holiest places of pilgrimage in India. It is referred to, in religious contexts, as Kashi.

Funeral ghats in Varanasi

Pollution of the Ganges

Funeral ghats in Varanasi
Ganges canal dried for cleaning
A satellite view of the Manasarovar (right) and Rakshastal lakes with Mount Kailash in the background
A map of the Ganges (orange), Brahmaputra (violet), and Meghna (green) drainage basins
Pollution in Ganga

Pollution of the Ganges, the largest river in India, poses significant threats to human health and the larger environment.

Because of the establishment of a large number of industrial cities on the bank of the Ganges like Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Patna, countless tanneries, chemical plants, textile mills, distilleries, slaughterhouses, and hospitals prosper and grow along with this and actively play a role in polluting the Ganges by dumping untreated waste into it.


Ghats in Varanasi

Ganges Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat, Varanasi
Early morning meditation on a Ghat on the Ganges, Varanasi
Varanasi Ghat at sunrise.
Bachraj Ghat
Cremations in progress at Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi.

Ghats in Varanasi are riverfront steps leading to the banks of the River Ganges.