Most of us must have heard about the beauty of “Subha-e-Banaras, Shaam-e-Awadh and Shab-e-Malwa”. I recently had the luck to pay a visit to Varanasi and satisfy the traveller in me.

I visited Varanasi for a competition and had no plans to travel and explore the city. My thoughts about the city were quite negative. My notion was that I should not explore the city because the city isn’t clean and is definitely not safe. But I was wrong.

As soon as I landed at the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, I was stunned to see the level of cleanliness.

I thought maybe it was due to it being an international airport but as I walked out of the airport towards the main city, the clean roads were questioning my preconceived notion.

The City

Apart from being of historical and religious importance, the city can prove to be a great and satisfying stop for a travelling soul. The place showcases the perfect blend of traditional and modern thinking.

On one side of the road you will see the age-old havelis and houses while on the other, there are magnificent shopping malls and amazing cafes and restaurants.

Varanasi is famous for 4 things:-

1.    Kashi Vishwanath

2.    Ganga and Ghaaths

3.    Banarasi Paan

4.    Banarasi Saree


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But there is definitely more to explore. The evening strolls at ghaats are amazing. You won’t feel alone as groups of people would be playing the guitar and other musical instruments, singing their hearts out and you stand there, savouring the view of Ganga, with your hair flowing with the breeze and some good background music to uplift your mood and bring you peace.

And if you are worried about safety, don’t be. I was out till late at night and didn’t feel unsafe on the Ghaats. But yes, the city sleeps early so you won’t find many shops and cafes open after 11 pm.

Food

You can’t leave the Banarasi Jalebi at any cost. Apart from this, the place is famous for Baati- Chokha cooked on “Chulha” (oven).

I had heard a lot about the street food out there but I failed to find any old shops dedicated to traditional banarasi cuisine.

Places To Visit

Apart from the ghaats, if you are interested to see traditional architectural structures or are religiously inclined, do pay a visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

I visited the temple and I was done with the Darshan and Puja within an hour. Fewer people know about the Akshay Vat (Eternal Tree) in Varanasi which is in the Manokamna Temple, inside the Vishwanath Temple premises.

Apart from this, the local market is a good hunt. You can go to the old handloom houses to see weavers weave the beautiful banarasi sarees. If you are interested in buying any, they offer a reasonable rate.

Apart from this, Sarnath is just a couple of kilometres away from the main city and local transportation facility is available to visit the place.

People

Whenever I visit any place, my mind is stuck over the behaviour of people. The behaviour of the people defines the quality of your stay and I can say that the people of Varanasi are really good, accommodative and helpful. I had heard about the hospitality of Purvanchal but got to experience the same for the very first time.

The staff at the hotel I stayed was wonderful. Though the people in Varanasi are a bit slow, they make up for it by their sweet behaviour and gestures.

I was in Varanasi to participate in Banaras Hindu University’s National Moot Court Competition. I was worried about my safety and my quality of stay there but everyone was extremely helpful, supportive and caring.

They take care of all your needs and provide you with a very friendly environment, so much so, that you feel at home.

A special thanks to Harsh Jha, Mayank Rajput, Ashish and the whole organizing committee and staff of BHU for making my trip wonderful and changing my notion about Varanasi.

I would love to visit the place again. If you also want to have an experience of a lifetime, do pay a visit to the holy city.


Image Source: Google Images

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