Traditional etymology links “Varanasi” to the names of two Ganges tributaries forming the city’s borders: Varuna, still flowing in northern Varanasi, and Assi, today a small stream in the southern part of the city, near Assi Ghat. The old city is located on the north shores of the Ganges, bounded by Varuna and Assi.
Varanasi ,Benaras ,Kashi whatever name you may call it by ,geographically located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, is a hub of cultural amalgamation and rich heritage , surrounded by the holy river Ganges .It is often regarded as the spiritual capital of India.The city is home to around 2,000 temples including the renowed Kashi Vishwanath temple, and the famous ghats where last rites are perfomed according to hindu traditions .
Long ago, I had the privilege to visit Varanasi , the place and the people left a deep impact on me ,and so did th environment .
The mesmerising visit :
The serene brutality of the pious river Ganges , the narrow lanes , the loud chanting of mantras ,the constant clamour of bells that reverberate among the ghats are the things that make Varanasi so entrancing .It has been five years since I visited Varanasi but its needless to say that the place , the sight ,the sound and the smell have left its impact on me and thus the memory of it ,is imprinted in my mind .
The boat ride by the ghats and watching the “Sandhya Arati” is a sight one will never forget.Hundreds of dedicated worshippers starting their day in the waters of Ganges ,paying their ode to the mighty sun god goes on to reflect on the culture of our country ,other than that the sight of old hermits with humongous dreadlocks tied up in a knot over their head is quite common .Tourists from all over the world often visit Varanasi in search of spiritual guidance, to experience in first hand the cultural vibrance of this place.Seeing them absolutely mesmerized by the magnitude of cultural grandeur is definitely pleasing.
Banaras doesn’t only boast its religiously robust roots but also is home to a number of delectable ,top quality indian sweets and dishes such as the very famous “Rabri” and “Perah” also who doesn’t know about the Banarasi Pan?
As one roves the narrow bylanes of the city , they are sure to be met by the aroma of elaichi chai and ocassionally the lipsmacking kachoris.Small shanties frying batches of kachori that are nothing but stuffed bread that are fried in piping hot oil.These kachoris and some spicy lentils served in little sal leaf plates will surely tickle your taste buds and keep wanting you for more. This city seems to excel not only in its culinary endeavours but also is praised for its dexterous craftsmanship.
Like any other region of this diverse country ,Varanasi has its unique craft manship and is the birthplace of the Benarasi silk ,that swanks elaborate works of brocade on soft silk cloth,it happens to be an absolute favourite among brides who loved to get clad in a gorgeous yet light fabric for their big day.
Apart from the very heavy brocade works the craftsmen here show off their their excellent skill in stone and wooden carving and scultpure making as well.So much is there to look at over here that it is almost mind-boggling, but what appealed to me the most about this place was the ghats and the riot of sound ,colours and spirituality there. How religion was a part of everyday life ,how the mighty river was praised ,and how people here submit themselves to devotion and their adherence to the ancient culture
This place had me captivated in a way like no other place had. The vivacity of Varanasi ,the generosity will forever stay with me.
Varanasi you beauty !