- Built in : 1776
- Designed by : Rani Ahilyaba
- Location : Varanasi
The Vishwanath temple, or Golden Temple, is the most sacred temple in Varanasi and is dedicated to Vishveswara-Shiva as lord of the universe. The original temple was destroyed by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, and the present temple was built in 1776 by Rani Ahilyabai of Indore . 800kg of gold plating on the towers, which gives the temple its colloquial name, was provided by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore some 50 years later.
Ram Nagar Fort
- Built in : 17th century
- Built by : Former Maharaja of Benaras
- Location : Varanasi
On the opposite bank of river, this 17th century fort is the home of the former maharaja of Benaras. It looks most impressive from the river, though the decrepit planking of the pantoon bridge you cross to reach it is somewhat of a distraction. During the mansoon access is by ferry. The intresting museum here contains old silver & brocade palanquins for the ladies of the court, gold-plated elephant howdahs, an astrological clock, marcabre elephant traps and an armoury of swords and old guns.
- Built in : 200 B.C to 300 B.C (Mauryan era)
- Built by : Mauryan Emperor Ashoka
- Location : Sarnath, Varanasi
Sarnath, where the Buddha preached his first sermon in the Deer Park, contains the most impressive remains, as well as a modem temple. The Dharmarajika, Chaukhandi and Dharnek stupas are outstanding. There are also the remains of a monastery, and the beautifully polished Lion Capital of Ashoka. Sarnath contains a rich library and at the Mula gandha Kutir Vihara there are excellent frescoes by Kosetsu Nosu. The Sarnath Museum, not far from the site, contains some of the finest specimens of Buddhist sculpture. At all centers of Buddhist worship, the Vaisakha (April-May) full moon is observed as the anniversary of three important events – the Buddha’s birth, Enlightenment and death, while the Asadh (July – August) full moon is observed as the anniversary of his first sermon.
Monuments in Sarnath
The imposing stupa 39m high was probably erected in 200 B.C in the Mauryan era. Rebuilt a number of times, the geometric and flora patterns on the stupa belong to the later Gupta period.
Erected by the Emperor Ashoka, the pillar had his edict engraved on it. At one time it stood over 17m high. Its capital with the four lions back to back-the official symbol of modern India, can be seen in the museum at Sarnath.
Bodhi Tree Grown from the sapling of the famous tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka, which is believed to be a progeny of the original tree at Budh Gaya, under which the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
This stupa was rebuilt by Mughal Emperor Akbar.
Only the ruins of this stupa built by Emperor Ashoka can be seen today.
Moolgandha Kuti Vihara
Built in more recent times by the Mahabodhi Society, it has a life-size statue of the lord Buddha in the Dharmachakra Pravartan form.