15 Very Old & Rare Photos of Varanasi ”Spiritual capital of India” | Part II

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We have published – First Part of 15 Very Old & Rare Photos of Varanasi “The Athens of India” a couple of days back.

Today we are Presenting the 2nd Instalment of it.

Varanasi, also known as Benares or ‘Spiritual capital of India’, Banaras or Kashi  is an North Indian city on the banks of the Ganga in Uttar Pradesh. It is the holiest of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism and Jainism, and played an important role in the development of Buddhism. Some Hindus believe that death at Varanasi brings salvation. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Varanasi is also known as the favourite city of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva. It has been mentioned in the Rigveda that this city in older times was known as Kashi.

Archaeological evidence of earliest known settlements around Varanasi in the Ganga valley (the seat of Vedic religion and philosophy) suggest that they began in the 11th or 12th century BC, placing it among the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities. These archaeological remains suggest that the Varanasi area was populated by Vedic people. However, the Atharvaveda (the oldest known text referencing the city), which dates to approximately the same period, suggests that the area was populated by indigenous tribes.

It is possible that archaeological evidence of these previous inhabitants has yet to be discovered. Recent excavations at Aktha and Ramnagar, two sites very near to Varanasi, show them to be from 1800 BC, suggesting Varanasi started to be inhabited by that time too. Varanasi was also home to Parshva, the 23rd Jain Tirthankara and the earliest Tirthankara accepted as a historical figure in the 8th century BC.

Making a pilgrimage there in Banaras every day for a whole year, still she did not reach all the sacred places. For in Banaras there is a sacred place at every step.

Padma Purdna, cited from Eck, D. L. (1999). Banaras: city of light. New York: Columbia University Press.

Varanasi ”Spiritual capital of India” – Rare Historical Photos | Part II

1. River & Bridge of boats Benaras

River & Bridge of boats Benaras

2. Benares (Varanasi) Across the River Ganges – 1870’s

Benares (Varanasi) Across the River Ganges - 1870's

3. Well of Knowledge (Gyanvapi) in Benares, India

Well of Knowledge in BENARES India

4. Benares (Varanasi, India), 1922


Many people think they cannot have knowledge or understanding of God without reading books. But hearing is better than reading, and seeing is better than hearing. Hearing about Benares is different from reading about it; but seeing Benares is different from either hearing or reading.

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (1942), p. 863

5. Varanasi Ghats and Architectures – c1880’s

Varanasi Ghats and Architectures - c1880's b

6. Benares Durga Kund and Temple

Benares-Durga Kund and Temple

Benares is holy. Europe, grown superficial, hardly understands such truths anymore…..I feel nearer here than I have ever done to the heart of the world; here I feel everyday as if soon, perhaps even today, I would receive the grace of supreme revelation…The atmosphere of devotion which hangs above the river is improbable in strength; stronger than in any church that I have ever visited. Every would be Christian priest would do well to sacrifice a year of his theological studies in order to spend his time on the Ganges; here he would discover what piety means.

Count Hermann Keyserling, The Huston Smith Reader

7. Burning Ghats at Benares, India 1894 Photoghats of Banares during 1870s

Burning Ghats at Benares, India Original 1894 Photo  1

See Also:
50 Rare & Vintage pics of Indore | Never Seen Before Collection
20 Unseen , Old & Very Rare Photos of the Pink City Jaipur | Part I
20 Unseen , Old & Very Rare Photos of the Pink City Jaipur | Part II

8. Gosain Tample , Benares 1873

Gosain TAmple , Benares 1873

9. Meditation on Ghat during 1940s

Meditation on Ghat during 1940s

10. People standing in front of a Nandi statue – Benares (Varanasi) 1929

People standing in front of a Nandi statue - Benares (Varanasi) 1929

11. People Taking bath in Holy River

People Taking bath in Holy River

This city anciently bore the name of Kashi, but at what period it received its present name the page of history is silent. It is built on the north side of the river, which is here very broad, and the banks of which are very high : from the water, its appearance is extremely beautiful ; the great variety of the buildings strikes the eye, and the whole view is much improved by innumerable flights of stone steps, which are either entrances into the several temples, or to the houses…. Nearly in the center of the city is a considerable Mahomedan mosque, with two minarets … this building was raised by that most intolerant and ambitious of human beings, the Emperor Aurungzebe, who destroyed a magnificent temple of the Hindoos on this spot, and built the present mosque, said to be of the same extent and height of the building destroyed… Surrounding the city are many ruins of buildings, the effects of Mahomedan intolerance.

William Hodges, Travels in India during the Years 1780, 1781, 1782 and 1783. Quoted in Jain, Meenakshi (2011). The India they saw: Foreign accounts.

12. Another View_ghats of Banares_1920s


13. Another View of People Taking bath in Holy River

People Taking bath in Holy River_1

14. State Elephant Benares

State Elephant Benares

15. View of Burning Ghat The Manikarnika Chief Cremation Center Of Baneras (Varanasi) by Lala Deen Dayal


See Also:

30 Old & Rare Photos of Bangalore | Part I

30 Old & Rare Photos of Bangalore | Part II

40 Vintage Photos Of Hyderabad That You Never Seen Before

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