If someone tells you, it’s been an experience of a lifetime to visit Varanasi in India, then definitely they are telling you the truth.
The Beauty of Varanasi
Being in Varanasi is not just visiting another destination – it’s more than that. It’s like understanding the cycle of life, the path of life and what actually leads to nirvana or renunciation. If you look closely at things here, it teaches you more than this.
The reports about the Varanasi Ghats are true in every sense- the lanes are not clean, people have their mouths filled with 'paan' – Indian betel leaves filled with a sweet concoction and every other lane has a religious idol. It’s a land filled with mystery.
The City of 85 Ghats
With 85 ghats in all – this land is bound to attract people from around the globe. Once you are here, it’s not difficult to understand why people come to this highly cluttered and mismanaged land of the Hindu God – Lord Shiva and his better half Mata Parvati. The River Ganges, which according to Hindu mythology is the sister of Maa Parvati has the power to absorb all your sins if you take even one dip here.
It is said that people who die here in Old Varanasi, which has a diameter of just 5 kilometers; find a way away from the cycle of life and death. In fact, there is more than this here; it’s all about how you see it…
What to See in Varanasi
There are 3 places that you must add in your Varanasi tour – Dashashwamedh Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat or Assi Ghat and Vishwanath Temple.
Dashashwamedh Ghat is an auspicious ghat as taking a dip here is considered to ward off all your sins.
Manikarnika Ghat is the place where the departed ones are cremated and Assi Ghat is the one from which the river Ganges can be seen at its best.
Vishwanath Temple is the main temple of Lord Shiva (although one can find a temple of Lord Shiva in every nook and corner of Varanasi) where hundreds throng every day to get a glimpse of the revered deity.
Then there is also the Solar Observatory made by the Maharajah of Jaipur – Sawai Singh Ji and maintained by Archaeological Survey of India. Just 10.2 kms from the main city of Varanasi there is Sarnath – the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon after achieving enlightenment. Keep half a day at hand for this trip to Sarnath as it does consume time but it’s worth it!
How to Reach Varanasi
By Train: There are different trains to Varanasi. Trains to Varanasi generally take 10 hours to 14 hours from New Delhi. Other cities have good connectivity. If you are going from Delhi you have the option to take the Delhi, Agra and Jaipur Tour.
By Air: There are several direct and connecting flights to Varanasi. New Delhi and Mumbai Airport have the greatest connectivity.
Where to Eat
Varanasi is a place where there is no dearth of good eateries. Just like temples, you find them in every corner. There is a Jagdish Chai wala where you can find a long queue from the very morning. Then there is a Hare Krishna Dosa wala whose South India dishes are well known amongst the locals. However, if you are looking for decent places to sit in, then there are numerous coffee centres. But in the end; do try curd and malai which is famous in this land of Lord Shiva.