Exploring Varanasi : An Amazing Experience

Recently, I visited Varanasi along with my friends to explore the beauty of this holy city in India.
When I had planned to visit the city, I never expected this trip to be so exciting. Without a second thought, I confess that, the amazing city stunned me with its charm and liveliness. Before stepping into this pious land, I had several questions in my mind related to the spiritual power and religious importance Varanasi holds but very soon all my unanswered questions started getting solved.
A great author – Mark Twain quoted that “Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together”. So, to unveil the hidden charm of Varanasi, I and my friends stepped into the city and the best decision of our trip was to make the booking done with EastSons Tourism. We had our stay in EASTSONS’ GUEST HOUSE & CAFÉ at the Jain Ghat just beside the Subah – e – Banaras fame Assi Ghat. The view from our guest house was just incredible. The scenic beauty of river Ganga mirroring the image of Rising Sun was truly an eye soothing one. We really felt to be blessed witnessing the love and warmth with which the beginning of a new day is celebrated. We started with sightseeing trip of the place.
Varanasi is located on the banks of mighty river, Ganges and houses several shrines within its territory. Some of the most famous holy shrines of the city that we visited were Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Durga Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple and Bharat Mata Temple. Among all these temples, Kashi Vishwanath Temple is the most popular one and enshrines the Jyotirlinga of Shiva.
Long line up of Ghats alongside the river Ganges adds to the beautification of the city, which gives breath taking views specially at the time of dawn. When the first ray of rising sun kisses the stairs of these Ghats, they become alive. To explore the real Benaras, we hired a boat and sailed on Ganges river. During the boat ride, I saw several saints and pilgrims taking holy dip in river Ganges and offering prayer to rising sun with a belief deep in their hearts that the pious river will wash away all their sins.
The boatman informed us that among all the Ghats of Benaras, Dashashwamedha Ghat, Assi Ghat and Manikarnika ghats have special significance. Manikarnika Ghat symbolizes the creation and destruction ( it is famed as the main cremation ghat of Varanasi), Assi Ghaat is famous for Subah – e – Banaras whereas Dashashwamedha Ghat is famous for its evening ‘aarti’. So, in the evening we participated in the aarti ceremony and believe me, the feeling was just marvelous! I clicked a no. of beautiful photos of the aarti.
While wandering through the narrow lanes of Varanasi, the local priest told me that followers of Hindu religion believe that those who die in Varanasi are sure to attain salvation and freedom from the cycle of birth and re-birth. Such is the sacredness of the place! After knowing this, now I can understand why is Varanasi called ‘Gateway to Salvation’.
After acquainting ourselves with the religious significance of the city, we set out to explore its other attractions like Ramgarh fort and Banaras Hindu University. Ramgarh Fort is famous for its collection of vintage cars. New Vishwanath Temple in BHU is worth visiting. The incredible view of its lush green gardens made our day.
Being a foodie, I loved the scrumptious delicacies of Varanasi. One of its kind, Mallaiyo was really a thirst quenching drink. Banarsi Chaat had been a big treat to my taste buds.
One more thing, I must share that, nothing done in Varanasi, if not done street shopping. I loved Vishwanath Gali as an array of shops there, offered a variety of articles like colourful bangles, artificial trendy jewellery, Banarsi Silk Sarees, Wooden toys, sugar – coated mouth freshners etc. I did a lot of purchasing for my family, friends and ofcourse for myself.
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and are looking forward to visiting Varanasi again and again.

H. Sangeetha