The Triality of Kashi: Materialism, Religion & Spirituality

Let’s explore The Triality of Kashi-Materialism, Religion, and Spirituality. As Kashi, Banaras, Varanasi – these names weave a spell of magic, synonymous with one another. In October 2023, I seized the golden opportunity to visit the spiritual capital of India. Banaras is reputed to be more than 3000 years old, making it one of the oldest inhabited cities globally, steeped in a profound heritage and culture.

As we delve into this narrative, our focus centers on unraveling the enigma of Kashi, with a spotlight on its compelling Triality: Materialism, Religion, and Spirituality. Join me in discovering the multifaceted facets that define the soul-stirring essence of this sacred city.

The Triality of Kashi: Materialism, Religion and Spirituality

The melody in Kashi’s existence is a harmonic blend of Materialism, Religion, and Spirituality, not a single note.

As we enter the enthralling story of this old city, each cobblestone tells a story of the coexistence of various worlds. Beyond the concrete and the heavenly, Kashi shows itself as a canvas on which Materialism, Religion, and Spirituality dance in unison, painting a timeless portrait.

Join me on this adventure as we unearth layers that resonate with the pulse of a city that is more than the sum of its parts.

In Kashi, it’s like having three best friends – materialism, religion, and spirituality. They all hang out together, making the city special.

Unveiling Banaras Through Mythological Lenses

Situated in Uttar Pradesh, Banaras can be traced back to the 11th century BC and is known by three names: Kashi, derived from Sanskrit, meaning “shining”; Varanasi, translating to a city lying between two rivers, ‘Varana’ and ‘Assi’; and Banaras, bestowed by the British.

According to Hindu mythology, Varanasi was founded by Lord Shiva, the Lord of destruction in the Trinity. Legend has it that one of Brahma’s heads fell off in Kashi from Shiva’s hand after a ferocious battle between the two.

In other tales, the five Pandavas visited the city to seek forgiveness from Shiva for the sins, violence, and destruction in the Mahabharata war.

Banaras is like an old storybook. It tells tales of gods and people, making the city feel like a magical, ancient place.

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Exploring the Spiritual Dimension of Kashi

Kashi, one of the oldest places globally, is home to thousands of temples, both grand and small. Here, I will detail a few of the very famous temples located in Banaras.

Exploring the Spiritual Dimension of Kashi

Kashi Vishwanath Temple

Also known as the Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga temple, it is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India, making it a prime spot for Shiva worship.

It houses Lord Shiva’s main Jyotirlinga, the ‘Linga of fire.’ The temple attracts Hindu devotees from around the world and is situated adjacent to the famous Dashashwamedh Ghat, known for the Ganga Aarti performed every evening around 7.


Located 20 kilometers from the main city of Varanasi, Sarnath is where Gautam Buddha, at the age of 35, gave his first sermon after attaining enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, Bihar, to his first five disciples named Kaundinya, Assaji, Bhaddiya, Vappa, and Mahanama.


It is one of the most important religious pilgrimages for Buddhists to visit and pay their respects to The Buddha. Amidst seclusion, away from the hustle and bustle, the area provides solace and peace for reflection.

The renowned ruler Asoka also contributed significantly to Buddhism and erected a pillar here known as the “Asoka Pillar.”

Dashashwamedh Ghat

After visiting the Kashi Vishwanath temple in the evening, one should directly go to the Dashashwamedh Ghat, a 10-15 minute walk away. This Ghat is the main Ghat in Banaras, where every day Ganga Arti is performed both in the morning and evening.

Dashashwamedh Ghat

Thousands of people gather every day to witness this soulful experience and feel the power of Hinduism to their very bones. In the darkness of night, the lights and the pious fire are enough to purify one’s heart, mind, and soul at once.

Kashi is a place where people really, really believe in gods. It’s like a big party of praying and feeling close to something greater.

Navigating the Modernity of Banaras

Amidst the religion and deep spirituality that has always existed in the city, Kashi has also developed in modernity, keeping pace with the world. The city bustles with broad roads, lavish malls, big brands, corporations, housing societies, and everything that ensures one’s needs and luxuries are met.

Just because Banaras is one of the oldest cities in the world, deeply engrossed in mythology, many believe that the city doesn’t have anything else to offer; however, that is far from the truth.

Banaras Hindu University

Founded by educationist Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya in 1916, the complete vision of this university was to promote quality education, research, and character development, encompassing a modern approach to learning.

Banaras Hindu University

The infrastructure includes a main building and several affiliated colleges with lush green gardens surrounding the premises. The university offers a wide range of subjects like arts, science, engineering, law, management, and many more with state-of-the-art facilities like libraries and laboratories, attracting students not only from within the country but also from around the world.

Banaras Silk Industry

Banarasi Silk is possibly the most famous silk in India, with its roots dating back centuries, especially in the Mughal era. There are several kinds of Banarasi Silk like Ketan, Kora, Georgette, Shattir, Zari, etc.

Banaras Silk Industry

Banarasi silk is mostly woven on handlooms, with no machinery used in the process, making it a careful, intricate, and time-consuming process.

Despite facing immense competition from ready-made materials, the Banarasi silk industry has flourished through the centuries and continues to do so.

Banaras is not just about old stories and prayers. It’s also like a big, busy city with lots of malls, roads, and cool stuff – kind of like a mix of old and new.

Immersing in the Spiritual Essence of Kashi

Banaras doesn’t just stand for religion or materialistic values; the city’s air has a deep spiritual aspect to it. The place where even death is celebrated at Manikarnika Ghat, where 24 hours a day, all around the year, dead bodies are burnt, and it is said that each spirit reaches Lord Shiva and attains Moksha.

Immersing in the Spiritual Essence of Kashi

Just sitting in a boat by this Ghat or standing by in a corner, being a witness to what is happening around us, can make us reflect on life and death and even the spirit. It makes us feel very little and insignificant in the body all of a sudden and helps us ponder upon the deeper aspects of the soul and our true purpose beyond physical life.

Concluding the entire trip, Kashi truly lives up to the stature it stands for, nothing over-hyped about the city reeking of pure magic in the Triality. It has, it is, and it will always be the spiritual capital of the country for times to come.

Kashi is not just about praying; it’s also about feeling something special. There’s a place where people celebrate even when someone passes away. It makes us think about life and why we’re here.


Why is Banaras so famous among Hindus?

Banaras hold very important religious, cultural, and spiritual importance for Hindus. Being one of the oldest inhabited cities globally, this city is extremely visited for the Ganges River, the holy Ghats, and Kashi Vishwanath Temple, which is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas present in India dedicated to Lord Shiva.

When should I visit Banaras?

As Banaras is situated in northern India, it is best to visit Kashi in either Autumn or Spring (October-November & February-March) to escape the severe summers or winters.

How to reach Banaras?

Banaras is very well connected by all means of transport, i.e., via road, air, and railway. The airport in Banaras- Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport and the Varanasi Junction railway station offer connecting trains and flights easily.

Why is Kashi known as the spiritual capital?

Kashi is like the boss of spiritual cities because it’s super old, and has lots of temples, and everyone goes there to pray and feel connected to something bigger.

What’s special about Banarasi silk?

Banarasi silk is not like regular cloth; it’s made by people using special looms. It’s careful work, and everyone loves it, especially the beautiful sarees.

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