Varanasi, or Benaras, (also known as Kashi) is one of the oldest living cities in the world. Varanasi`s Prominence in Hindu mythology is virtually unrevealed. Mark Twain, the English author and literature, who was enthralled by the legend and sanctity of Benaras, once wrote: "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together”. According to the ‘VamanaPurana’, the Varuna and the Assi rivers originated from the body of the primordial Person at the beginning of time itself. The tract of land lying between them is believed to be ‘Varanasi’, the holiest of all pilgrimages. The word ‘Kashi’ originated from the word ‘Kas’ which means to shine. Steeped in tradition and mythological legacy, Kashi is the ‘original ground ‘created by Shiva and Parvati, upon which they stood at the beginning of time. Varanasi is the microcosm of Hinduism, a city of traditional classical culture, glorified by myth and legend and sanctified by religion; it has always attracted a large number of pilgrims and worshippers from time immemorial.Varanasi – the land where experience and discovery reach the ultimate bliss. Varanasi is also renowned for its rich tapestry of music, arts, crafts and education. Some of the world renowned exponents India has produced in these fields were schooled in Varanasi’s cultural ethos. Luminaries apart, Varanasi abounds in the art of silk weaving, an exotic work of art which manifests itself in precious Banarasi Silk Sarees and Silk brocades which are cherished as collector’s items across the world today.
Think About Ganga!
The Ganga is the Holiest River in India. The Ganga originates at Gangotri in Uttarakahand, at a height of 12,769 feet above sea level. It passes through UP, Bihar, Jharkhand &West Bengal-before entering Bangladesh where it flows into the Bay of Bengal total length of River Ganga is 2525 km. and the Ganga basin is the most heavily populated river basins across the world, with over 400 million people and a population density of 390 people per square kilometer. The river is also one of the most polluted in the world, threatening not Only humans but also over 100 fish and 90 amphibian species. The Ganga River passes through Varanasi, and facilitates the pilgrims to take holy dip in the river through 84 Ghats.
Why Clean Ganga?
- Major concern of environment and pollution (environmental education and awareness)
- Water pollution and its various effects on the people with reference to the River Ganga.
- Major sources of pollution (open defecation, sewage, entry of pollutants from weavers, and dhobis, into the river Ganga, etc.)
- Need for restoration of water bodies/rivers particularly in the urban context, biodiversity aspect, with special focus on Ganga River etc.
- Solid waste management
- Exploitation of natural resources and its impact, tourism potential.
- Local cultural traditional rituals and its relations with rivers and its relevance for protection of natural resources.