27 Apr 2015

Soul stirring Varanasi

Varanasi homestay

Have you ever visited a place where you could find calmness emanating from chaos? If not, then I suggest you to visit Varanasi. The holy city of India greets you with disorder and noise at the first step but as you go up, you find yourself falling for every nook of the meandering lanes and the colorful landscape. When our group landed here, we were not sure which places to visit as it was an impromptu tour, made on the spur of the moment. Vanisha was the one who suggested it as this was the place from where she had done her college and we agreed to come to her alma mater.

Our train reached on time and after we had checked into the guesthouse, we ventured to explore Varanasi.

We started with the legendary gallis or streets of Varanasi. Narrow and crowded, you feel claustrophobic initially but the hustle and bustle soon diverts your attention and you find yourself walking briskly. The liveliness of the people and the leisurely pace with which time moves makes you feel as though you have entered a different time zone. Our gang, led by Vanisha, went through the best discovery drive, losing direction and again finding the path. The old buildings and the umpteen shops look older than civilization and the numerous temples give you a good glimpse of the famed holy spirit of Banaras.

Our next item on the itinerary was the Grand Ganga Aarti. The crowds start assembling on the ghats much before the aarti begins. We landed way before time and our perseverance paid us profusely since we got a clear picture of the famous aarti of Varanasi. The pujaris in their traditional attire with the heavy deeps, offering prayers to the Ganga is sure to awaken your spiritual side. The scent of incense mingled with the sound of conch shell, drums, bells and cymbals seeps into your soul, filling every nerve with a divine energy.

The cuisine of the city is world famous for its variety and vibrancy. Its gastronomical adventures offer something exclusive to every taste bud on your tongue. Starting with the spicy and sweet kachori jalebi, we went on tasting a lot of things ranging from the sattu filled litti with chokha, to the ultimate Banarasi paan.

We woke up before the sunrise to get a good look, we ventured out to the ghats. We waited on the ghats and when the sun came up on the river bank, it was like sunshine entering our psyche. The stretch from Assi ghat to Dashashwamedha ghat, regaled us with majestic sights of the oldest city on earth that we discovered while boating.

Our last stop was Sarnath, the place where Buddha preached his sermons in the Deer Park. Housing lots of stupas and Buddhist temples, it is a very quiet place with ample fresh air that makes you forget all your woes.

The city of Varanasi gifted us with some of the most memorable moments which we friends enjoyed thoroughly and will always remember.

The best way to experience Varanasi is through a homestay. For a suggestion visit Varanasi Homestay.

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