If you follow us on Instagram/ Facebook you might know that we were recently invited by UP tourism board and Lonely Planet Magazine India for the UP travel writer’s Conclave 2016. Sam was unable to join me due to some prior commitments, so I attended the event. And believe me, it was one amazing event with so many talented writers & bloggers.
As part of the conclave, we had to pick one among the three destinations – Lucknow, Agra or Varanasi to explore and experience, and without giving a second thought I opted for Varanasi – the spiritual capital of India.
To be honest, Varanasi or Benaras for me, was not a love at first sight. As I landed on an afternoon flight from Bangalore, my expectation was not that high except the fascination of the stories that revolve around the Ghats and the fact that I would be visiting one of the oldest living cities in the world.
Famed as the holiest cities of the world and the spiritual capital of India.It is one of the most important city not only for Hindus but also for followers of Jainism, Buddhism & Sufism. The only city in the world where people flock in numbers to die and achieve salvation or Moksha. Varanasi like any other touristy place is chaotic. Yes, the roads are jam-packed with honking cars, dodging bikes, roads are littered with cow dung, dust and adding to all that population and pollution.
But as the day continued and I pulled myself from my hotel room to explore the real Varanasi, I did not realize when I succumbed to this magical chaos of the city. The multitude of colors peppered all around the narrow alleyways to the aroma of spices, flowers, and food. From sleeping dogs to strolling cows, from graffiti-filled walls to hundred years old building, from palaces, turned to luxury hotels to cute little quirky cafe, from life to death. The charm of the city is unmatched and irresistible.
As I spent my time sauntering the narrow alleys of the old town, there was something magical that eventually grew on me. I started to feel the divine energy that flows in the air, fell in love with the mighty Ganges that takes in everything thrown at her not even complaining once, the life that revolves around the Ghats and every other thing that is beautifully laced by just one word – FAITH.
This post is more of a photo story from the Ghats of Varanasi and some interesting quotes about Varanasi.
“Varanasi has been an epicenter of spiritual journey, yoga, Ayurveda, astrology, philosophy & classical music.”
“The city illumines truth and reveals reality. It does not bring new wonders into the scope of vision, but enables one to see what is already there. Where this eternal light intersects the earth, it is known as Kashi (Varanasi)”. – Diana L. Eck
“…crammed perspective of platform, soaring stairways, sculptured temples, majestic palaces, softening away into the distances; and there is movement, motion, human life everywhere, and brilliantly costumed – streaming in rainbows up and down the lofty stairways…” – Mark Twain
“Varanasi is older than history, older than tradition, even older than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together” – Mark Twain
“Enlightenment, and the death which comes before it, is the primary business of Varanasi.”
― Tahir Shah,
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