Life & People of Varanasi – Oldest Living City in the World

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.”


Life & People of Varanasi

“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, Sorcerer’s Apprentice


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  • Reply
    Shibam Kar
    November 23, 2016 at 5:37 am

    Really, Varanasi is a very excellent place to travel with own family. I’m very excited to read your travel story to there and see the beautiful pictures of Varanasi. Thanks for sharing the travel guide of Varanasi.

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      February 17, 2018 at 2:46 pm

      Thank you so much Shibam, also do check our other detailed post on – Things to Do and places to visit in Varanasi

  • Reply
    Destination wedding in Udaipur
    November 23, 2016 at 6:29 am

    Varanasi is the oldest and culture cit in India, it is a perfect place of faith.
    nice blog.

  • Reply
    November 23, 2016 at 7:42 am

    Such a beautiful post, It seems I am revisiting my favourite city in the world through the eyes of ” Tales of a Traveller “

  • Reply
    Steps Together
    November 23, 2016 at 8:50 am

    Great post

  • Reply
    November 23, 2016 at 1:13 pm

    Such beautiful pictures. Thanks for the photo journey. 🙂

  • Reply
    Pooja Bhatt
    November 23, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Varanasi, Baneras wow what a beautiful Chaos it is 🙂 lovely Pics to accompany the post !

  • Reply
    November 24, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Indeed a beautiful destination! The boy looks so sad to me… may be thoughtful.
    I noticed there is not a single woman in your captures!

    • Reply
      The Tales of a Traveler
      February 17, 2018 at 2:39 pm

      Yes, it’s intentional…I don’t like posting pictures of women especially without their consent

  • Reply
    November 24, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    A beautiful essay Swati! It has been ages since I visited the city.

  • Reply
    Maniparna Sengupta Majumder
    November 24, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    Wonderful pictures and article! The picture of the jars of pickles are quite drooling 😛 I love pickles…

  • Reply
    Shrinidhi Hande
    November 25, 2016 at 1:09 am

    nice collection of pictures and narration..

  • Reply
    Tales of Travelling Sisters
    November 25, 2016 at 7:04 am

    Beautiful introduction of Varanasi with equally amazing captures! Waiting to read more Swati!

  • Reply
    November 25, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Nice captures.

  • Reply
    Rashmi Gopal Rao
    November 25, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Lovely photoessay!

  • Reply
    Alok Singhal
    December 6, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    I’ve read a lot about Varanasi in the recent past, nice to add onto my virtual experience here ☺️

  • Reply
    Ticker Eats The World
    February 22, 2017 at 6:09 am

    Beautiful photo essay about one of the most unique cities in India. Varanasi is a photographer’s dream and on top of that the city is so vibrant and full of life that it never ceases to amaze any and all travelers.

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