Beyond the ghats and temples in this holy city, there is a lot more to explore and experience
Situated on the banks of the river Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, the city of Banaras or call it Varanasi or Kashi holds an immense spiritual value for Indians and people who come to visit it from across the globe. It is the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism, and is known to have played an important role in the development of Buddhism and Ravidassia.
While it has such a rich spiritual value owning to its various temples and ghats, the city of Varanasi has much more to it that is often overshadowed due to its spiritual aspects.
The oldest city
With a history of over three thousand years, it is arguably the oldest inhabited city in India and even in the 18th century, Banaras was counted as the largest city in India. It is the city of death, salvation and was not created by political power. It has been completely driven by faith a testimony of it is in the millions of pilgrims that converge here throughout the year from every corner of India.
It is regarded as one of the Sapta-Puris in the Garuda Purana, among the seven Indian cities where mortality will lead one to moksha, the others being Ayodhya, Mathura, Kanchi, Ujjain, Haridwar, and Dwaraka.
Eat dessert for breakfast
Anything and everything to do with milk is savored and served in the food of Varanasi. Even the lassi, the yogurt drink popular with Indians and loved dearly, is served sweet with an even sweeter accompaniment, rabdi that is fried in a pan. The estimate of which you can put together with various Banarasi sweet shops that are famous all over India. From ladoo to barfi to bhalushahi to imarti, an assortment of sweets will make you love the city even more.
A dip in the Ganges
The Ganga River is one of the oldest rivers in the world and is the most sacred river of India. The legend has it that the river originates from the goddess Ganga, who fell to earth and liberated the souls of many caught in sin. And Indians believe that a dip in the river is a crossing point between heaven and earth, and also that a dip in this holy water will wash away all the sins.
Interestingly, you will also find people hovering around the Ganga ghats with a bottle or a container to collect the holy water. This holy water called gangajal is considered highly auspicious and is used as a cleanser- to clean the negative aura.
Over years the city has grown immensely with its popularity for muslin and silk fabrics, perfumes, ivory works and sculptures.