When in Lucknow, we do have an array of getaway choices at our disposal but the charms of Varanasi are such, that we keep gravitating towards this city, irrespective of our count of prior visits. Breathing by the banks of the holy Ganga, Varanasi is claimed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and it is thronged by people from all walks of life! Dotted with domes, temples, ghats, ashrams and swaddled in a mystic aura, the astir alleys of Varanasi are now unbarred for your advent.
Varanasi- a living evidence of India's eclectic existence
Layered with a spiritual character that stems from the cores of sacred Hindu texts and traditions, Varanasi is a living evidence of India's eclectic existence! Hemmed with almost 100 ghats of religious importance, these steps leading down to the water, espy the footfalls of priests, yogis, explorers, photographers and students, from all over the country and beyond.
Starting from the 14th century Assi Ghat to the 18th century Lalita Ghat, you will find a line-up of things that would nudge your interests when in the 'City of Lights' (also called Benaras or Kashi). Your travel itinerary should definitely include a boat ride on the abounding Ganga, sunrise or sunset gazing from any of the ghats and a daring stop at the Manikarnika Ghat crematorium, which has an 'eternal' fire clouding its surroundings. It is popularly believed among Hindus, that any person being cremated here, will attain salvation from the cycle of birth and death.
Another one of the oldest and the most sacred ghats in Varanasi is the Dashashwamedha Ghat, which is famous for its Ganga Aarti during every dusk and it is truly an oracular view to catch sight of. With priests swaying in unison with flaming fire lamps in hand and chanting chorus of mantras against the backdrop of ringing bells, conch sounds and other religious songs, this aarti forms an integral part of the city's individuality!
If you're looking to indulge in a more hyperlocal experience, then you definitely should check out the legion of markets, shops and stalls in the vicinity of the ghats. Further, with the reconstruction and beautification of the Godowlia-Dashashwamedh pedestrian road, the tourists now have another preferred site to roam around in and subsequently, this place has been buzzing with life round the clock. Here you will find a variety of grub options, shopping choices, gifting recourses and a lot more; all within a budget! But do be mindful of the touts here.
Stretching at a distance of almost 3 km, this particular expanse is lined with establishments of the local vendors and ranging from everyday groceries, Bhadohi carpets, exquisite handicrafts to electronics, home decor items and more, you'll find everything here. The prime highlight of the Godowlia Market is silk embroidery, so if you're looking to bag a few artsy apparels, this is where you have to be!
When in Varanasi, you can also take short tours of Sonbhadra, Sarnath, Chandauli, Kaimur, Dhamek Stupa, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Ruchika Art Gallery, amid other places of prominence.
So what we're saying is-
Have you heard the song- 'Tu bann ja gali Benaras ki, main shaam talak bhatku tujh mein'? Then take our word for it, this song was an inexplicit warning for the visitors because there's so much to explore here, that you'd be wandering in the winding trails while losing track of time.
So if you're planning to head out to Varanasi, then make sure that you have your travel kit handy, which should definitely include your camera, sanitiser, gloves and an extra mask, just in case!