Call it Varanasi, Banaras or Kashi, this city is undeniably the apex of the Indian religious cosmos &, its lineage and grandeur is indeed monumental. Considered to be one of the most significant amongst the seven sacred cities, collectively known as Sapta Puri, this Bhojpuri and Awadhi speaking holy grounds have played a major role in the establishment of Buddhism and Ravidassia. Although it is known to be a religious hub, the city harbours a massive trade scape with flourishing fabrics, perfumes, ivory and sculpture industries.
Arriving at the Sublime City of Varanasi
The city is a remarkable source for premium fabrics; hence, we got naturally drawn towards it and our brief visit began as our flight touched down at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport. One can also take a train from almost everywhere in India to the Varanasi Junction or if you have time on your hand and enjoy car rides you can take a road trip as the city is well connected via an effective network of highways.
We decided to stay amidst all the action in Godaulia due to its central location and accessibility. One can’t be at the heart of Indian culture and not soak it all in; we begin our day by taking a self-reflective boat ride with the distant chimes of morning rites at the Assi Ghat. After the soul-searching, it was time to pacify our hunger with some chai, jalebi, kachori and sabzi, which is a notoriously famous breakfast in Banaras.
Towards the afternoon we decided to dodge the evening crowd and go on our fabric quest. Meeting up with the artisans have always been the most important as well as the pleasurable part of our job; interacting with the artisan community here we realized despite Varanasi being the hallmark of Hinduism the fabric industry is majorly run by Muslims. It is a pleasant reflection of our country’s secular disposition. Our haul shall remain a secret until it is time!
Mandatory Food Haul
Returning from our fabric spree we stopped and treated ourselves with some Tamatar Sev at the distinguished Kashi Chaat Bhandar. This tiny shop has people crowding it since the very second it opens in the evening; all dishes here will set off fireworks in your mouth. We caped it off with the Magai paan, known for its unique quality of melting in your mouth and they are not just delicious but very light on your pocket.
As the day slowly approached the end the spiritual city of Banaras came alive with huge groups of people showing up at the Dashashwamedh ghat for the Ganga Aarti. We experienced it in its full glory afloat a boat on the holy Ganges herself. It was a magnificent scene as all the priests stood at the edge of the ghat moving the lamps in the air, hands to the beat of hymns and ritualistic bells that filled the air. It was a spiritual awakening and a theatrical experience.
Albeit our short stay, the city captivated our mind, body and soul with the life that surges through all the narrow alleys like blood! The more we explored the more mysterious it became. Though the city is a spiritual centre & is assumed to be a conservative society, we found it to be more open than the most that claim to be. The understanding and acceptance of life among the people although under the shroud of religion is remarkably practical.
If you ever find yourself wondering why people from all over the world travel to this primitive appearing city of Uttar Pradesh, pack your bags and make reservations for there’s simply no other way of finding out. You will be astonished by this complex yet discernible city that houses eighty-eight ghats which each has its own stories. All that is just a trip away, and once you’ve been there we guarantee that life won’t be the same! We can’t wait to show you our all-new Banarasi Collection, curated from this Majestic Heritage city. Grab them all at our store.
Authored By: Sunidhi Gaur
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