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Varanasi AKA Benares or Kashi

A city that resonates with spirituality, history, and mystique

By Allwyn Roman WaghelaPublished about a month ago 3 min read
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Varanasi AKA Benares or Kashi
Photo by ADITYA PRAKASH on Unsplash

Varanasi, also known as Benares or Kashi, is a city that weaves together spirituality, history, and mystique.

Let’s delve into some of its intriguing facets:

1.) Witness the Dawn of Creation Along Serene Banks: At Assi Ghat, away from the bustling tourist crowds, pilgrims gather to witness the sunrise over the Ganges River. Ancient limestone palaces slope into the holy waters, untouched by passing eras. Chanting priests and students clutching books hurry to lessons, while flower sellers offer marigolds for salvation. Take a quiet step, sip tea from a passing chai wallah, and inhale the dawn—a moment when souls unite across unfathomable time. As one traveler put it, “Assi Ghat sunrise reflections transported me, however briefly, into the very heart of India’s profound mysteries.” 🌅🙏.

2.) Indulge Your Brazen Sweet Tooth Down History’s Lanes: Beyond the iconic burning ghats and riverside spiritual spectacle lies a vibrant old city culture. Just a kilometer from the iconic Kashi Vishwanath Temple, narrow, colorful lanes beckon with artisanal sweets found nowhere else. Imagine explosions of sugar, spice, and dairy from stoves stoked for generations. Try wispy jalebis soaked in cardamom syrup, velvety rabdi cream, and piping hot kachoris—crispy pastry pockets stuffed indulgently with peas, lentils, and various chutneys. Whether you have a sweet tooth or not, don’t miss the whirlwind of flavors in Kachori Gali! 😋🍬🍯.

3.) The Cremation Ritual at the Ghats: One of Varanasi’s most misunderstood and alluring rituals is the cremation of bodies at the ghats along the river. Running 24/7, the Hindu belief is that if a deceased person’s ashes are laid in the Ganges at Varanasi, their soul will be transported to heaven, escaping the cycle of rebirth. It’s a profound practice that connects life, death, and the eternal flow of the sacred river. 🕯️🌊.

4.) Hidden Gems and Haunts: Varanasi also harbours its share of mysteries and haunts:

- Rajghat Bridge: A relatively nondescript bridge with a terrifying reputation as one of the most haunted places in Varanasi.

- Chet Singh Fort: Ruins situated next to Godowlia Garden, appearing innocuous in daylight.

- Manikarnika Ghat: The famous cremation ghat, where souls depart on their final journey.

- Post-Mortem House at Banaras Hindu University: A place where medical students study anatomy.

- Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital: Known for its eerie atmosphere.

These hidden corners add layers to Varanasi’s mystique, inviting exploration beyond the obvious. 👻🌙.

Ganga Aarti in Varanasi is a mesmerizing and spiritually significant ritual that takes place along the banks of the Ganges River. Let me share some insights about this enchanting experience:

1.) The Majestic Ganga Aarti:

Location: The Ganga Aarti occurs at the Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

Timing: It happens every evening, just after sunset, when the river shimmers under the soft glow of twilight.

Priests and Ceremonial Items: Dressed in traditional attire, seven learned Brahmins from Kashi perform the aarti. They represent the Sapta Rishis, who worship Maa Ganga. These priests hold brass lamps, conch shells, incense sticks, and other ceremonial items.

2.) The Spiritual Significance:

The Ganga Aarti is a ritual of dedicating oneself to the divinity of Goddess Ganga. It seeks blessings and appreciation for the sacred river Goddess, believed to have descended from Heaven.

Participating in the aarti and inhaling the smoke from the lamp is thought to cleanse the soul and bring inner purification.

Only in Varanasi is the Ganga River called Uttar Vahini, and Hindus consider the reverse flow of the Ganga here as an auspicious sign.

3.) The Experience:

As the sun sets, the priests begin their meticulously choreographed movements. The air fills with spiritual thoughts, and every moment becomes special.

The shimmering light of the lamps, the chants, the music, and the spiritual ambiance create a magical atmosphere.

Witnessing the Ganga Aarti is unforgettable—a connection between the earthly and the divine, where time seems to fold upon itself.

4.) Why You Shouldn’t Miss It:

Tourists from around the world come to Varanasi specifically to witness this incredible event.

Whether you seek peace, spirituality, or simply a unique experience, the Ganga Aarti in Varanasi is a must.

So, if you find yourself in Varanasi, don’t miss the chance to be part of this ancient and awe-inspiring ritual—the Ganga Aarti. 🕯️🌊🙏

Varanasi, with its ancient rituals, winding alleys, and timeless river, continues to captivate those who seek to unravel its secrets. 🙌✨

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About the Creator

Allwyn Roman Waghela

I am a professional blogger, writing about topics such as travel, food, and lifestyle thus, showcasing my creativity and communication skills.

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Comments (4)

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  • “M”about a month ago

    Awesome

  • Mark Grahamabout a month ago

    Very interesting, and have you ever wanted to write a print coffee table book. All your pieces I think would be perfect.

  • Ameer Bibiabout a month ago

    That's really a wonderfull and interesting one piece shows your truly dedications

  • Martha Agnesabout a month ago

    Thank you for this!

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