Varanasi was formerly known as Kashi – the city that illuminates. The religious capital of Hinduism, Varanasi is the oldest living city of India & one of the worlds’ most ancient. The present name is derived from the fact that the city is at the confluence of the rivers Varuna & Asi. After breakfast, take excursion to Sarnath - the buried Buddhist city where Buddha preached his first sermon. After attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya the Buddha went to Sarnath, and it was here that he preached his first discourse in the deer park to set in motion the 'Wheel of the Dharma'. It is one of the most holy sites as in this place the stream of the Buddha's teaching first flowed. Sarnath was a renowned school of learning from 16th century BC to 12th century AD. Visit the ruins, the stupa, the Buddhist temple & the museum (closed on Friday). At the museum is the Ashok Pillar with its four guardian lions, used as independent India's’ national emblem.
Visit the Bharat Mata
temple with a big relief map of India in Marble, Durga temple, Tulsi Manas
Mandir, Benaras Hindu University which has an art gallery & the mosque of
Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb