When Mark Twain said “Benaras (now Varanasi) is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together!” he was not wrong. What he did not add is that more than ‘being old’, the city is known for its soul. Varanasi is known for its Ghats – the longwinded staircases that lead to the Ganges. There are several things that could be on your must-do list – take a morning boat trip on the river, or try a glass of lassi while you are still trying to find your way on the narrow streets; or go for the best – roam the Ghats on a lazy afternoon. Each Ghat is unique in two ways – aesthetic and spiritual.
Sprawling and bustling with its share of pollution, this is the city where you actually experience the change from the ancient to modern… especially when you are approaching the river. Long unwinding streets that change to a maze of narrow alleys, teeming with shops, guesthouses and eateries, form the second dominant characteristic of the city, after the Ganges. The most serene experience that you can have is to touch the bank of the Ganges. Bathing in the morning Sun, amidst all the action, brings a great sense of tranquillity. You can wander or sit by the river reading, or just brooding. It is a place that teaches you how to be one with yourself and nature, despite all the activity.
Volume 1 Issue 10