The quest for serenity is something that never ends. But you can find it in parts, to recharge your soul, to keep moving. A soul soothing trip can be one option. For that matter a short, sweet and simple trip to Banaras, the city of light is the most trusted of all packages.
As old as Jerusalem, Athens and Peking, the sacred city of Banaras gives a glimpse of spiritual and historical resonance. Busy life on the ghats, exuberance of the festivals, walls and stones of the old houses and temples take you on a different plane. The mobility and stillness, co-existence of life and death inspires you and tells you that you are alive.
Here are five places in the town that you must visit at least once.
1) Dashaswamedh Ghat (Don’t stop here, walk either left or right): It is the busiest and the most prominent ghat in Varanasi. Daily bathers climb the steps of the ghat and begin their pilgrimage after taking a dip in Ganga. It is a place to sit and observe. Witness rituals, rites and customs. See the river getting polluted and cleaned too. After snacking on a few peanuts and having a couple of kulhads of chai, you can take a walk either towards left or right and see the life unfolding from 84 odd ghats. But do come at this place in evening to see the majestic Ganga Aarti.
2) Lalita Ghat: Take a walk towards the left from Dashaswamedh Ghat and you will reach Lalita Ghat after 3-4 ghats. This is the place from where you enter Nepali temple, built by Rajendra Shah, the King of Nepal in 1843. Enter the temple premises upstairs from a small doorway opened from ghat and when you look towards the river, the city from there, you will feel the bliss. The setting sun looks beautiful from here. The activities on other ghats – preparation of Ganga Aarti and lights seem immortal from this height and distance. Besides, the wooden architecture of the temple is also very unique. The erotic display of love and geomagnetic architectural frame on all four gateways and doors is also a must see.
3) Manikarnika: A place where death is auspicious and life is fruitful – Manikarnika mostly associated with its cremation ground is a well known pilgrimage of Hindus. Even if you are not religious, the ancient ghat which carries the load of funeral pyres, temples, a pond and routine activities is a bliss to watch. 4) Assi: Assi is not just a ghat. It is a lifestyle hub. A place which is interested in news of all kinds. You can easily hear people talking about constitution, laws, political scenario, political love affairs, Bollywood rumours and recently written books and scripts. All these are discussed while shopping vegetables, drinking chai and sitting on the ghats while soaking up the Sun. The participants of these group discussions are mostly students, professors, painters, writers and poets. They never mind one more participant in the discussion.
More Places to visit in Varanasi:
THE KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE
BANARAS HINDU UNIVERSITY
BHARAT KALA BHAWAN (ART MUSEUM)
RIVER FRONT (GHATS)
TULSI MANAS TEMPLE
NEW VISHWANATH TEMPLE
MAHATMA GANDHI KASHI VIDYAPEETH
BHARAT MATA TEMPLE
CENTRAL INSTITUTE OF HIGHER TIBETAN STUDIES
Statistics of Varanasi:
Location: Longitude – 83.0; Latitude – 25.20
Area: 73.89 sq km
Population of the district: 3,682,194 (2011 Census)
Altitude: 80.71 m above sea level
Season To Visit: September-March
Language: Hindi, English
STD Code: +91 542