Heyaaa !! Am back again to the stream after a long tussle with pox, fever and exams.Feeling much relieved…Today I thought to share my experience of the mystic city Varanasi,a name you must have heard of. Noh ,Varanasi isn’t my home but my five years stay definitely made it my second home…And since the season is of Maha shivratri ( a religious festival dedicated to the prime deity Shiva) and Holi (the festival of colors) , am missing Varanasi more and more.
“Hustlers, bulls, stairs, and the medicants…These are the common things found in Kashi (Varanasi). By escaping them one can attain salvation”
Yes true that. Varanasi is the oldest living city of the world. Chaotic gullies, vehicle logjams, multiple rituals and umpteen number of cultural traditions spray colors to it’s spellbound existence. The city’s all-time liveliness is best observed during any festival. Recently the city observed the Maha shivratri and no other place in the world can compete with the spirit of Varanasi when it comes to celebrating festivals.
I have known Varanasi like the natives so I would like to portray the best of my experience so that you too can get some glimpse of the awesomeness am speaking of.
The origin of it’s Name :
It got it’s name from conjunction of two rivers Varuna and Assi and hence it is called Varanasi. Situated beside river Ganga , it is one of the most visited religious ,oldest cities of the world.
The umpteen number of ghats :
There resides umpteen number(more than hundred) of ghats (river banks) like the Munshi ghat , Assi ghat, Manikarnika ghat, Raj ghat, Harishchandra ghat, Dasaswamedh ghat etc and interestingly each ghat has their own perennially charming stories to offer. For example the Dasaswamedh ghat is famous for the captivating Ganga arti ( worshiping the river Ganga with lamps) , the Manikarnika ghat is the cremation ground and 24*7 dead bodies are burnt here, even near the river bank one can sometimes find dead bodies floating if you are taking a evening ride in boat…spooky isn’t?
The cuisines :
The cuisines are surely alluring and it is definitely a paradise if you are a person of sweet tooth- Jalebi , Lassi , Thandai , Malaiyo , Gulag jamun , Ras malai to name a few . So put the fear of calories at bay and savor and of course don’t forget the special Varanasi paan ( Betel leaves stuffed with nuts, lime, and variety of mouth freshners ) . If you are lucky to visit the place during shivratri and Holi then you get a bonus – The Bhang ( a form of marijuana). This time all gives a boot to every day norms, self professed teetotaler get convinced that taking a sip on the day doesn’t amount to drinking. The Bhang has had cultural sanction of occasion. Vishwanath lane, Godowilla offer the best Bhang.
The Mahashivratri :
As I was talking of this from the very start, let’s now understand it elaborately. Although it is celebrated India wide as the wedding day of the prime deity Shiva but the celebrations here is unparalleled. Hundreds and hundreds of pilgrims take out the long wedding procession from Mahamrityunjaya temple to Kashi Vishwanath temple which you definitely can’t miss. And yes Bhang again !!! It is considered pious here as the Prasad of the deity so savor it without any restrain ;).
The boat ride and Ganga arti :
These are must do things . Early morning color and clamour of sunrise in a boat on the Ganges will surely enthrall you with the encharming ghats from one end to another..With the sun setting you can once again take a boat and enjoy the Ganga arti with 7-8 priests performing the ritual with brass lamps of large sizes with different artistic movements …
Places to explore :
I have already written a long post but I can’t keep my words in limit when I describe the beauty of a place , specially a place close to heart.Yes there are lot more to explore , one of them is definitely my university , Banaras Hindu University , one of the best in India ,which is a world in itself. I will dedicate a different post later to describe the world inside. Till then savor this little bit taste of the holy city .
💖 The wanderer