Varanasi Through My eyes: City of Lord Shiva and Holy Ganges
It was the month of January. I was watching may be Discovery Channel or History TV .They were running a episode of Varanasi a.k.a Kashi. I must confess I am not a big fan of travel shows but somehow I was glued to the episode. I was enticed when they said you don’t go to Kashi, Kashi calls you. Also they explained about Manikarnika Ghat which is cremation ghat. It is believed those who die/cremated in Kashi receive the “Moksha” and they leave the cycle of death and birth. In March my cousin was engaged and I told him that now I will go to Kashi to wash all my Sin’s. Somehow I used to say this a lot and I never knew this will come true.
My Joruney in Ferozepur came to a sudden halt and without wasting much time we booked the hotel/train tickets and were ready for Kashi.
|Chandigarh Railway Station|
Train was 4 hours late and we were in our hotel at 9:30 PM .
The next day we went for Somanath Temple and witnessed the city of Varnasi. It was buzzing with energy and unprecedented traffic which is unique to each state of India. Somanth is the place where legendary Gautam Budha first taught Dharma to disciples.
|Gautam Budha and Bhasad Kid. Check out my T-Shirt|
The Dhamekh Stupa in , Sarnath reminded me of missions from Assasin Creed video game.
|Super Mom/Dad basking in Glory of Dhamekh Stupa|
The place also boasts a heritage museum which has a lovely “Ashoka Pillar . I watched the place, it was lovely but somehow this was not what I came to see. So we went back to hotel and in evening we went for Ganga Ghat’s. The road to Ghat’s is filled with masses, chaos and holy cow’s’ accompanied with cow dung. Once I reached to Ganga Ghat I felt the journey of 1200 KM from Chandigarh to Varnasi was worth every second. As said god keeps the best things in the last, I was stunned by beauty and calmness of Ganges, though it takes torture and abuse from humans, it has a soothing calmness associated with it
|Magical Ghat and Boats|
. It was dark and place was buzzing with tourists/touts/business-men making living across the ghat’s/travellers and girls. Yes, girls!! I found them very pretty and I like surprises. Aarti started and ghat was filled with music and colours. I took a dip as well and I realized I am not Michael Phelps.
|Aarti Colours are everywhere|
Water fills your soul with you with serenity and purity. I was stunned for a moment as I was in Amarnath. Aarti is nice and I watched some dubious Pundit’s running after people to put Tilaka on forehead to gather some quick cash. Ganga Ghat is breeding ground of income for many localities though I hope businesses run on some ethics and principal of humanity.
I like surprises , and one pretty girl studying in BHU came up to me and asked me to fill a form which was part of her thesis. She also recommended to watch Banaras Hindu University. I filled up the form and walked back as a jerk without exchanging number ,it was a face-palm moment. We also feasted sweet butter milk in Kashi’s shop buzzing with bees as well. It was nice. Full day travel left us with tired bodies so we routed for hotel and slept like Sea-biscuit.
This time in morning we came to Ghat and went to Kashi Vishwanath temple. I saw the magical alleys of varansi. They are nice but I was not impressed when I found out that you have to submit your mobile phones/belts to shopkeepers sitting outside before entering in the temple. There is no government arrangement like in Akshardam in New Delhi.
|Ghat Named After my Friend Lali Don|
So I stayed outside and my parents went in. At the moment I thought that I came here to meet lord Shiva and he is asking me to stand out. That was pretty odd but I thought let’s see what happens next. From there we went to Ghat’s and watched the Manikarniaka Ghat . Then we took a walk along the ghat’s and it was a soothing experience. The place is filled up with colors which will put Asian Paints to shame and filled up with Garbage which fills me to shame. I was thinking the whole time that how come the holy river takes so much torture and still accepts all of us, forgiving our sins. May be that’s why they say it has magic and warmth of a mother. I again took a dip , felt great and after some-time we walked back. Later we went to Banaras Hindu university one of the top universities of India. It is near a place called Kashi.
|BHU /Kashi Vishwanath Temple|
It’s a huge campus, flushing with greenery. It also has Kashi Vishwanath temple and the place where Lord Shiva invited me to meet him, I realized.
Temple is built in open space and is hygienic. I liked it and walls are filled with stunning knowledge capsules. So, I thanked Lord Shiva for inviting us, tied up our shoe laces to get ready for the return journey.
Ghat’s are the soul of Varanasi. The place has a history of its own and is filled up with energy. I will encourage everyone to go at least once in their life and explore the place. On the return I found out Varanasi railway station is wi-fi enabled and you can use free internet for 30 minutes. May be it’s the Modi Magic and form part of list of pleasant surprises which I hope