Varanasi situated on the banks of River Ganges is one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world (5000yrs) .For Hindus it is absolutely an empyrean nowhere more sacred & for Buddhists it is revered as a place where Buddha preached his first sermon after enlightenment.
Chaotic, colorful, captivating & sublime are the words that sum up life in Varanasi. It is a living expression of Indian life like no other. Photographers, poets, writers, artists, pilgrims & spiritual seekers from all over the world flock to the city for inspiration & liberation. The pictures here can only be an appetizer as to how amazing & far out the ancient holy city really is.
Boats floating in the River Ganges & the surreal backdrop
The city almost wakes up in the Ghats with devotees lined with folded hands, half merged in Ganga, priests chanting mantras, boatmen lined with their boats
Soon after the sun’s final orange flicker sank below the horizon young priests stepped on their respective platforms &faced the Ganges. In unison, they raised giant conch shells & blew. In a near trance state, the priests etched circles in the blue-black night with their flaming giant diyas
Ganga Aarti- A rendezvous with the River Goddess Ganga is a unique & unforgettable experience. Every evening Ganga is worshipped & thanked in a ceremony involving Sanskrit chants, blowing of conches, flames held high & the heady scent of sandalwood wafting in the air. People gather in boats & the riverbank to watch the Ganga Aarti ritual. You can feel the atmosphere reverberating with the unmatched eternality
The spiritual city of Varanasi also known as ‘Kashi’ or ‘Banaras’ has the capacity to seduce the most skeptical of minds. There is much to see & explore. The entire city buzzes with history & folklore- in it’s ghats, rivers, spiritual structures, luminaries associated with the city, famous brocade weaving industry & it’s vibrant food scene. Varanasi they say has changed drastically over the years. Has modernized & become cleaner in many parts of the city, also because of Swach Bharat Abhiyan. Recently I hear the Manduadih Rlwy Stn has been transformed into a world class station- with upgraded features like AC lounges & retiring rooms, elevators, fountains, food courts etc giving the ambience of an airport. But there still large parts of the city where juxtaposition of old meets new is palpable.
The Stupa of Sarnath- the greatest attraction where Buddha first taught about Dharma.It is here where Emperor Ashoka erected a number of stupas & monuments for spreading buddhism. The crumbling stupas here are a house of relics, manuscripts & fascinating inscriptions that can teach a lot about Indian history
Rajeshwari Kalyani Marda is a fifty-eight-year young mother of two who loves to travel and share her experiences with the world. She enjoys travel and nature photography, cooking healthy and exotic dishes for her family and friends, reading, and writing. Rajeshwari has a special zeal for life and loves to celebrate every moment, big or small! Stay tuned for more of her adventures and travels!