Exploring the Varanasi City
I along with my friends visited Varanasi to explore the beauty of this holy city. Since my childhood I heard stories about Varanasi’s religious aspect. Varanasi – Being one of the oldest cities of the world. The former name of the city, ‘Kashi’ signifies that it is a ‘site of spiritual luminance. ‘Varanasi’ is also known as ‘Gateway to Salvation’.
On our first day here we visited Ghats while it was drizzling. It was an awesome experience. To explore more we hired fairy. The most charming aspect of Varanasi is its long line up of Ghats alongside the river. There are 84 Ghats and the best option for viewing the ghats is to charter a boat and see them from the river. Dashashwamedha and Manikarnika ghats have special significance. Manikarnika Ghat symbolizes the creation and destruction whereas Dashashwamedha Ghat is famous for its evening aarti. So, in the evening we participated in the aarti ceremony. It is a ritual performed by chanting priests to honour the river Ganga and Lord Shiva. Next day we decided to go to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Since temple is open until noon, so we went at 6:30 in the morning. Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famaous temples in Varanasi. It is one of the 12 jyotirlingas. In the afternoon we visited Ramnagar palace. It is situated on the opposite bank of river Ganga. It is the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Banaras.
Ram Nagar fort’s museum has a collection of British time’s car, animal’s heads and weapon. Collection of cars, carts and paalki is the best part of the museum. In the evening we went to vishwanath gali’s to have chaats and banaras ka paan. As we walked through the ancient narrow lanes, busy crowded streets and markets, we got the real feel of the Banaras. One unique item which I had never tasted before was the ‘Tamatar (Tomato) Chaat’. Served in kulhads, it is a mixture of thick tomato gravy (simmering on a hot tawa), chhole, peas, onions; a range of spices thrown in along with a number of different chutneys.Later on that evening we headed to Sankat Morhan Mandir. It is one of the sacred temples of the Hindu god Hanuman. The Sankat Mochan Foundation (SMF) was established in 1982 by Veer Bhadra Mishra the Mahant (High priest) of the temple, and has been working for cleaning and protecting the Ganga. In the mandir we had a little talk with V.N Mishra about the foundation. Next day we went to see Subah-e-Banaras. The day at the Assi ghat begins at 4.30 a.m. with an aarti to the Sun, followed by ‘yagna,’ recitation of the Vedas and morning ‘ragas’, and ends with a yoga session at 7.30 a.m. After having breakfast we headed towards Sarnath. It is believed that after getting enlightenment at Bodh Gaya, Lord Buddha preached his first sermon, sanctified as Maha Dharm Chakra Parivartan, at Sarnath. The great Dhamekh Stupa and several other structures are there. The Chaukhandi Stupa is the place where, during his first visit to Sarnath, Lord Buddha met his first five disciples. The smooth glistening pillar established by Emperor Ashoka in 273-232 B.C. marks the foundation of the Buddhist Sangha, and the Lion Capital atop this pillar is now India’s National Emblem.After Sarnath we went to station and boarded our train and headed back to our collage. There was plenty of Varanasi,including the ghats and the gallis that I wanted to photograph but a week was not enough. When I left, I left with a wish that I should have spared more time for Varanasi. And I left with the intent to return.
- Aprajita(STUDENT at NIIT UNIVERSITY)