“Mera Ishq hai banaras jaisa
Vo kadak adrak chai jaisa
Us paan ki madmast laali jaisa
Vo chamakti zari saree jaisa
Chatpati chaat kachori jaisa
Mera Ishq hai banaras ki subah jaisa
Hazaro rang bikherta hai,
mera Ishq hai ganga ghat jaisa!”
…20000, 20001, 20002…
Ohhh wait, it’s not the stars I’m counting, it’s the number of temples in the city!
Well yes, the estimated number of temples in the city is 23000.
With this whopping number, mouth savoring dishes, a rich culture, and some paan stains here and there, I welcome you all to a virtual journey to Varanasi, which will give you enough reasons to visit the place once the COVID situation gets better. Here we go!
1) Around 8000 years ago!
“…older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together…”, as said by Mark Twain.
Is anything else required to prove the historic beauty and culture of Varanasi?
2) A place romanticizing death!
Where death is as well celebrated as life, Varanasi is a place where people flock from various parts of the world to witness the cremation.
It is said that if one dies in Varanasi and is cremated here, he attains salvation.
The fire never stops at the Manikarnika ghat. A place where around 200-300 bodies were cremated daily, though it saw a drastic fall during the coronavirus spread.
3) The luscious betel leaves and its types
You eat ice cream post-dinner, I eat paan, we are not the same bro!
Numbers and Varanasi share a good rapport. The place is known to serve around 20 different flavors of paans to its visitors.
Gulab, Gujia, Navratan, Zarda– these are not some snacks but different varieties of paan.
4) Street food lover? Had enough of Delhi food? Come here!
Well, the place has underrated but enticing food to offer to the audience.
With a blast of flavors, ‘tamatar chaat‘ in the earthen pots which give an altogether a different texture, to ‘makkhan malaiyo‘ which just melts in your mouth to the subtle combination of ‘chola samosa‘, I wonder where else can we get such mouth-watering delicacies.
5) Asia’s biggest University!
BHU (Banaras Hindu University) is the biggest University in Asia and one of the oldest to offer engineering courses in India. It is also one of those few universities which offer courses for Hindu Scriptures.
Anyone who has been to Varanasi can never deny the fact that there is another city, dwelling inside the main gates of BHU.
6) An art enthusiast?
Welcome to the city which is a hometown for various poets and artists and presents an amalgamation of religious, historic and cultural art forms. A place which has been an abode to Tulsidas, Bismillah Khan, Sitara Devi, etc., will surely get on to your nerves with its love and various art forms.
7) Silk and women will definitely melt here!
The name Varanasi resonates with the special silk sarees which are made locally. If you give a ‘banarasi saree‘ to your relatives, they will hold you in high regard.
With four main banarasi fabrics, in earlier times the zari work was done with pure gold and silver which cost a handsome amount to the buyers.
8) Peace and Ganges!
Sitting peacefully on the banks of the river Ganga and contemplating life is still, most people’s favorite routine. Interestingly the river flows in the opposite direction i.e. northwards in the city.
Mornings here are a bit too early, afternoons are mostly market buzz, evenings are a sight of delight with the Ganga Arti, and nights give a soothing effect with the cold breeze near the ghats.
With all the good things in the basket, let me warn you about another specialty of the place. ‘Banarasi Thags‘. You’ll be conned by the vendors before you realize it. Beware!
Jab tumhe kisi sheher ka nasha ho jaye, Samjh jana, mohabbat tumhe banaras se hui hai.