I was super thrilled when we landed. I couldn’t wait to reach the oldest city of India. Like I quoted Mark Twain in my earlier post Earthy Style ” Benaras is older than history and older than traditions. Even older than a legend, and looks twice as old as put all of them together.” Everyone kept asking me why Benaras ? I really don’t know why, all I know is I really wanted to see BENARAS ! I spent the entire week looking at all the #benaras pictures on Instagram like a lunatic who has never travelled before. I was overwhelmed. Oh! I also took a print out of all the places I wanted to go to and highlighted the important (which I forgot to carry in excitement).
I heard a lot about the famous “Benaras ki galiyaan” and was ready to experience it. We pulled are suitcases (Thank God for the wheels) for 30 mins to reach our guest house. Surprisingly, the tiny alleyways had people, cows, buffaloes, ox’s, bikes both ways. The lanes were tiny enough for an auto to enter. The place is incredibly noisy, busy and messy with cow dungs everywhere. By the way, let me tell you this, they don’t believe in traffic signal. It was appalling to see how three traffic police tried to manage the entire traffic jammed with auto rickshaws, cars, bikes, people, and animals. You have to walk down to the ghat because no other transport can help you reach faster than your feet. That’s also another reason that makes Benaras interesting ! We stayed at Puja Guest House close to the famous Vishwanath Temple and also close to The Ganga.
We reached the guest house, freshened up to leave for the ghat. It was a 5 min walk to the ghat from our guest house. We knew we would get lost in those lanes and come out from some other place. It’s a maze ! In that 5 min walk, we saw tiny shops on the side selling jewellery, yogurt, Indian sweets, milk etc.
We decided to hire a boat and sail. Marvelled at Benaras’s beauty while we were sailing in The Ganges. We started from Dashashwamedh Ghat and went till Manikarnika Ghat, crossing Lalita Ghat, Maan-Mandir Ghat. There is a story attached to Manikarnika Ghat – It is believed that Lord Vishnu dug up a pit, filled with his perspiration while performing various amends. Meanwhile Lord Shiva lost his earring which fell into that pit while he was watching Lord Vishnu perform the duties. In order to keep Lord Shiva from running away with his devotees, Goddess Parvati hid her earrings and asked him to find it, saying that it’s lost somewhere near the banks of Ganga. Her idea behind the deception was that Lord Shiva would then stay around, searching forever for the lost earrings. In this legend, whenever a body gets cremated at the Manikarnika Ghat, Lord Shiva asks the soul whether it has seen the earrings.(source – wikipedia). Hindu cremations are customarily taken place here in Manikarnika Ghat and Harishchandra Ghat.
After the boat ride, we spent some time at the ghat sipping the most amazing lemon tea ever. Oh ! I forgot to mention how cold Benaras was. We were told by “someone” that Benaras was as cold as Bangalore. Therefore we packed only light sweaters and just one overcoat. Only to realise that I was shivering wearing a sweater and an overcoat. The sky was encrusted by thick fog. Thanks to that “someone”. *wink* *wink*
We couldn’t wake up early the next day because it was extremely cold. Nevertheless we woke up and decided to go to a fancy place called Roma’s for brunch. We had to walk down till gadowlia chowk to catch a rickshaw in-order to reach that place. Roma’s was far away from the Benaras hustle bustle on Lanka road. On our way, we got lured by the puri-sabji hawker on the road and couldn’t resist but eat.
Wondering about the impromptu vegetable picture ? Well, to tell you truth those vegetables looked so pretty that winter morning in Benaras, I had to click one. After the fulfilling brunch, we went to Assi Ghat, hired a boat for 4 hours. Dashashwamedha Ghat is known for it’s evening “Aarti”, so we decided to sit in that boat and wait for the Aarti. No amount of photographs would do justice to the inspiring experience of the evening Aarti on Dashashwamedha Ghat. Don’t forget to make a wish and light a diya in the Ganges.
Post the Aarti, we went to the streets to have all the delicious street side food. Starting from the mouth watering sandwich to the famous tomato chat from Kasshi Chat Bhandar. How could we forget the famous Benarasi Paan !
The next day, we decided to just walk from one ghat to another. On our way we found a lot of wall arts, babas, beautiful carvings and the colourful doors.
Benaras is ridiculously charming and beautiful. More than beautiful, even with all the noise around you, it’s peaceful. I loved every bit of the noise and the mess.
Explore the beautiful city of #Banaras with Me! Everything from the famous #ghats to #aartis to #sadhus and #boatrides on the #Ganges! Out on iTunes – https://goo.gl/IfgKQk & SoundCloud – https://goo.gl/mxTSOM ! Give it a listen, NOW!
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