Read More About Varanasi & it's Real Estate Property Market
Varanasi also known as Benares or Kashi, is a North Indian city on the banks of the Ganga in Uttar Pradesh, 320 kilometres (200 mi) south-east of the state capital, Lucknow.
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 .
The Kashi Naresh (Maharaja of Kashi) is the chief cultural patron of Varanasi, and an essential part of all religious celebrations.
The culture of Varanasi is closely associated with the Ganges.
The city has been a cultural centre of North India for several thousand years, and has a history that is older than most of the major world religions.
The Benares Gharana form of Hindustani classical music was developed here and many prominent Indian philosophers, poets, writers, and musicians live or have lived in Varanasi.
Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at Sarnath, located near Varanasi.
Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India. It is often referred to as "the holy city of India", "the religious capital of India", "the city of Shiva", and "the city of learning".
One of the largest residential universities of Asia, the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), is located here.
Varanasi has been chosen as one of the heritage cities for HRIDAY - Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana scheme of Government of India.
Annapurna Devi Temple: Annapurna is the Hindu Goddess of nourishment. Anna means food and grains. Purna means full, complete and perfect. She is form of Parvati, the consort of Shiva. The most well-known temple dedicated to Goddess Annapurna is in Varanasi, U.P. Adjacent to the Sanctum of the Goddess is the Kashi Viswanath temple.
Asi Ghat: This Ghat located at the confluence of Assi River and the holy Ganges, is the southernmost Ghat in Kashi. The Ghat is renowned for a spectacular and large Shiva Lingam placed under a Peepal Tree. This is a favorite spot for Hindu devotees to offer their prayers to Lord Shiva after taking holy dip in the river.
Baba Keenaram Sthal: It is one of the oldest Shakti Peethas and spiritual centers in the world. The full name of this place is Baba Keenaram Sthal-Kreem Kund, situated at Ravindrapuri in Varanasi district. Here the body of Baba Keenaramji lies buried in a tomb.
Banaras Hindu University (BHU): It is a Central university with the largest residential university in Asia. An estimated 12,000-plus students live on its campus. BHU was founded in 1916 by Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya. The campus spread over 1350 acre campus was built on land donated by the then ruler of Kashi.
Bharat Kala Musuem: The Kashi Hindu University has a museum that has an excellent collection of precious and extraordinary historical objects, statues, pictures, paintings and documents. The museum is small but well maintained and gives an overview of the old city.
Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary: Located about 70 km. from Varanasi, it's a breathtakingly beautiful picnic spot in the Chandraprabha forests, within which are the Rajdari and Devdari waterfalls. Established in 1957, this park is spread across over 9.6 hectares. It serves as an ideal habitat for a variety of animal species including the Leopard, Beer, Cheetal and the Chausingha among others.
Chaukhandi Stupa: It is an important Buddhist stupa in Sarnath, located 13 kms from Varanasi, UP. This Stupa is thought to have been built first as a terraced temple during the Gupta period from 4th to 6th Century to mark the site where Lord Buddha and his first disciples met while traveling from Bodh Gaya to Sarnath.
Chunar Fort: About 40 kms from Varanasi, Chunar is the place where religion, history and nature intermingle. Situated in the Vindhya ranges on the banks of holy river Ganga, its scenic and calm atmosphere enchants visitors. The massive Chunar fort, standing at a height of 80' to 175' from the ground level and spread over a massive area of 34,000sq.ft, is the major attraction here.
According to the 2011 census, the Varanasi urban agglomeration had a population of 1,435,113, with approx 761,060 men and 674,053 women.
The population of the Varanasi urban agglomeration in 2001 was 1,371,749m with a ratio of 879 females for every 1,000 males.
However, the area under Varanasi Nagar Nigam has a population of 1,100,748, with a ratio of 883 females for every 1,000 males.
The literacy rate in the urban agglomeration is 77 percent while that in the municipal corporation area is 78 percent.
Approximately 138,000 people in the municipal area live in slums.
JOBS & EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNTIES:
Approximately 29 percent of Varanasi's population is employed.
About 40 percent work in manufacturing, 26 percent work in trade and commerce, 19 percent in other services, 8 percent in transport and communication, 4 percent in agriculture, 2 percent in construction, and 2 percent are marginal workers who work for less than half the year.
Among manufacturing workers, 51 percent work in spinning and weaving, 15 percent work in metal, 6 percent in printing and publishing, 5 percent in electrical machinery, and the rest work in a wide variety of industry sectors.
Varanasi's manufacturing industry is not well developed and is dominated by small-scale industries and household production.
Silk weaving is the dominant manufacturing industry in Varanasi, with a majority of the weavers belonging to the Muslim Momin Ansari community.
Varanasi is known throughout India for its production of very fine silk and Banarasi saris, brocades with gold and silver thread work, which are often used for weddings and special occasions.
Varanasi’s silk weaving industry is now under threat by the rise of power looms and computer-generated designs and by competition from Chinese silk traders.
Diesel Locomotive Works is a major employer in the metal manufacturing sector.
PSU major Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) also has a heavy equipment repair plant located here.
Other major commodities manufactured and traded in Varanasi include hand-knotted Mirzapur carpets, rugs, dhurries, brassware, copperware, wooden and clay toys, handicrafts, gold jewellery, and musical instruments.
Important agricultural products include betel leaves (for paan), langra mangoes and solidified milk.
Tourism is Varanasi's second most important industry.
Over 3 million domestic and 200,000 foreign tourists visit Varanasi annually (in 2005 and 2010, respectively), mostly for religious reasons.
Most domestic tourists are from Bihar, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh, while most foreign tourists are from Sri Lanka and Japan.
The peak tourist season falls between October and March.
Prominent malls and multiplexes in Varanasi include; IP Mall in Sigra, IP Vijaya Mall in Bhelupur, PDR in Luxa and JHV Mall in the Varanasi Cantonment area.
The city has several banks, including the Corporation Bank, State Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Andhra Bank, Allahabad Bank, and the Central Bank of India.
TRANSPORT & CONNECTIVITY:
Varanasi is well-connected by air, rail and road.
One of the major factors in Varanasi's sustained existence as an inhabited city is its role as an established transportation hub between cities.
Varanasi is served by the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, which is approximately 26 km (16 mi) from the city centre in Babatpur.
The airport inaugurated a new terminal in 2010, and it was granted international airport status on October 4, 2012.
Air India, Buddha Air, Jet Airways, Jet Konnect, IndiGo, and SpiceJet operate flights from Varanasi to Delhi, Gaya, Kathmandu, Khajuraho, Sharjah, Lucknow, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Kolkata.
Over 330,000 passengers pass through the airport each year.
Varanasi Junction also known as Varanasi Cantt Railway Station, is the city's largest train station, with more than 3.6 lakh passengers and 240 trains passing through it daily.
Varanasi lies along NH-2, which connects it to Kolkata, Kanpur, Agra and Delhi.
NH-29 connects Varanasi to Gorakhpur via Ghazipur to the northeast.
NH- 56 connects Varanasi to Lucknow via Jaunpur and Sultanpur, to the northwest.
NH-7, the longest National Highway in India, is the most important road connecting Varanasi to southern India, passing through the cities of Hyderabad, Bangalore, Salem, Madurai, Tirunelveli and Kanyakumari.
Auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are the most widely available forms of public transport in old city, while buses are preferred in the outer regions.
With Uttar Pradesh assembly elections due in early 2017, the state government has speeded up the process of launching Metro Rail projects in Kanpur, Varanasi, Agra and Meerut.
The state government has nominated RITES and Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) for preparing the respective Detailed Project Report (DPR) and as coordinator respectively.
Apart from the ring road project there is bleak possibility of any major infrastructure project in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency in 2015.
After Varanasi become PM's constituency in May 2014, NHAI launched the ring road project that was sanctioned in the previous BJP-led NDA government.
A glimmer of hope for a major overhaul of the holy city’s existing infrastructure was generated when a team of urban development ministry reached here in October 2014 to take stock of available essential facilities to improve its infra status.
REALTY MARKET OVERVIEW:
PM Narendra Modi's promise to develop Varanasi into smart city turns it into realty hotspot overnight.
Property brokers say prices of land in and around the city have already started to rise with builders and investors beginning to create land banks.
One biswa (1,360 sq ft) of land in areas such as Mohan Sarai on the city outskirts, priced at INR 12 lakh three months ago is now going for approx INR 15 lakh, a rise of 25 percent.
According to local consultants, investors from Bihar, UP and Haryana are on the lookout for land here on the city's outskirts hoping to sell the plots later for a profit to builders as well as hoteliers.
A leading Delhi-based builder has speeded up plans to construct a township on the city’s outskirts, after Varanasi was included in the list of 100 Smart cities by the Modi government.
Modi has signed an agreement with the Japanese PM, Shinzo Abe to have Kyoto as a partner in the development of Varanasi.
The Japanese town, which is also known as the 'city of ten thousand shrines', has been redeveloped into a modern city while keeping its temples intact. Modi wants Varanasi to learn from that experience.
While the city itself might be congested, brokers say it has ample opportunity to expand on two sides - on the 22-kilometre road between the city and the airport and on the highway to Allahabad.