Friday, 6 June 2014

Travel Diary: Varanasi (Benares)

 Work took me to one of India's most ancient cities this past week- Varanasi. Also known as: Kashi and Benares.

Varanasi is considered one of the holiest places for the Hindus and, therefore, is home to more than 23,000 temples. For hundreds of years, people from all over the country have come to this city to seek salvation and, ultimately, moksha- release from the cycle of life-death-rebirth.

It is believed that if you die in Kashi, a city believed to be founded by none other Lord Shiva himself, you attain moksha and are free from the material world in every sense. Sharing some of my pictures from this amazing city!

The river Ganges (known as Ganga in India) is the life and soul of the city. There are 85 ghats (series of stairs leading down to the river) in the city. These ghats are dotted with some very beautiful works of art, such as this one depicting Lord Shiva. 

Whilst walking along almost 25 of the aforementioned 85 ghats, we came across this rather stately red sandstone facade. Our guide told us that this used to be the home of the King of Varanasi. However, several hundreds of years ago, the King and the royal family were cursed by a Brahmin and hence, fled all the way across the river to a new palace. This palace is now deserted and is believed to be haunted. 

Dasashwamedh Ghat is where the most popular and detailed aarti (ceremonial offering of prayers) for the Ganges is conducted. This takes place at 7 pm local time every single day and is a sight to behold. This is just a glimpse of the crowds that had started gathering to watch the aarti. 


I love the colourful doors in this city. These are of a Sanskrit University/College in the old city. 

And here she is- the Ganges. The lifeblood, not just of Benares, but also of all of Northern India. She is majestic and much less polluted now than she was a few years back. 


Pratibha said...

awesome pictures, I have been there recently and in love with its old world charm :)

P.S you have a really nice space here,I am hooked to your blog

Read me here:

Meg.Meh.P. said...

wow, love the pictures sweetheart.

Pooja T said...

Hi Pratibha,
Thank you so much for your kind words! :)

Will check out your blog! The name itself is awesome! :)

Pooja T said...

Hi Meg,
Thanks a ton :)