This time, I made a trip to Varanasi in May, 2014. I went to Varanasi to attend a friend’s wedding. I had planned for two more days so that I could explore the city. Our group consisted of three boys including Sanjay and Rohit. Sanjay is a native of Banaras and we stayed at his place. On the morning of May 10th, we were at the Varanasi Railway station. Varanasi station looks like a temple. Banaras was very crowded at that time due to elections; there were many rallies going on from different parties. Sanjay hired an auto-rickshaw and then we left for home. Mid way, Sanjay took Jalebi, Kachori and sabzi (जलेबी, कचौड़ी और सब्जी) for the morning breakfast. These are famous morning breakfast items in Banaras.
After breakfast, we decided to visit Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Since temple is open until noon, so we left the house at 10:00 am. Mobile and camera are not allowed in temple due to security reasons. Therefore we only captured photo of the main gate. Street from gate to temple is called “Vishwanath Gali”. Vishwanath gali has many shops that sale pooja stuff and sweets. Near the temple, I also met a friend called Hari.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous temples in Varanasi. It is also known as the Golden temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva. This temple is having great religious importance to the Hindus because this temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of lord Shiva and this one is 12th. There are various small temples such as the Kaalbhairav, Avimukteshwara, Vishnu, Vinayaka and Virupaksh Gauri are located in the main campus of the temple.
“विश्वनाथ गली में प्रवेश करते ही पूरा माहोल भक्तिमय हो गया था चारो तरफ हर हर महादेव नाम का जयगोश ही सुनाई दे रहा था। मंदिर में प्रवेश के बाद हम महादेव के दर्शन के लिए लालायित थे । मुख्य मंदिर के बगल में एक बहुत बड़ा सा घंटा लगा है, जो की अदभुत प्रतीत हो रहा था । मुख्य मंदिर के चारो ओर अन्य देवी, देवताओ के मंदिर है । मन तो कर रहा था वही बैठ कर भगवान की भक्ति में लीन हो जाऊ लेकिन सुरक्षा कारणों से ऐसा संभव न था । अन्त में यही कहना चाहुँगा कि बम-बम बोल रहा था काशी ।”
After main temple and Jyotirlinga visit, we went to the Wisdom Well and then also visited all temples inside the Vishwanath temple premises. We also purchased a kurta having Om Namah Shivaya printed on it. We returned to home and then took lunch.
On the evening of May 10th, we were ready to attend Brijesh’s marriage in Chandauli. Anurag, Bharat and Nitesh were with us at the wedding. On the way to Chandauli, we had kulhar tea (कुल्हड़ वाली चाय). Taste of tea was great, so we had another one. In marriage, we enjoyed Nautanki dance among other programs. We returned to home in the night.
On the morning of May 11th 2014 at 9:00 o’clock, we left the house and visited Durga Kund Temple, Tulsi Manas Temple, Marvadi Temple, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple and Kashi Vishwanath Temple in BHU campus. Walls of the Durga Kund temple are painted with dark red in color. Marwadi temple is new and small, but has good structure. Sweet and basil’s leaf (लड्डू और तुसली का पत्ता) is used for Prasad in Sankat Mochan Temple; the mixer of both was giving good taste too. Banarasi paan is famous all over India, so we didn’t forget to eat Banarasi sweet Paan.
BHU campus is very big and green. Kashi Vishwanath Temple in BHU campus also is a grand temple and entire campus looks like a temple. One interesting fact about BHU campus is that only red and yellow color has been used to paint wall of university.
“काशी हिन्दू विश्वविद्यालय का प्रवेश द्धार किसी मंदिर के प्रवेश द्धार की तरफ लग रहा था । पूरा विश्वविद्यालय भी किसी विशालकाय मंदिर की तरफ लग रहा था । मदिर ही तो हैं ज्ञान का मदिर, माँ सरस्वती का मदिर ।”
After visiting some temples in the city, we moved towards Ram Nagar fort. Our vehicle crossed the Ganga River by wooden bridge. Ram Nagar fort’s museum has a collection of British time’s car, animal’s heads and weapon. Collection of cars, carts and Paalki is the best part of museum. Ram Nagar Fort is adjacent to Ganga River, so you can see a beautiful landscape of Ganga River from fort.
Our next destination Sarnath is about 10 km from Ramnagar. On the way to Sarnath, we saw Sher Shah Suri Makbara. We were at Sarnath around 1 pm and we all were hungry. So, we first ate Dosha and drank Cold Drink in Vaishali restaurant.
We hired a guide there, guide told us that Sarnath has five main point; Ashoka Stupa, Main Temple campus, Japanese Temple, Sachi Stupa and God Budha statue. Ashoka Stupa ruins and Bodhi Tree inside main temple campus are famous and most important place in Sarnath. Main temple is designed in Japanese temple architecture and walls inside the temple have been painted related to God Budha life. We visited all points but we did not explore much due to very hot day.
“भगवान बुद्ध की विशालकाय मूर्ति, मंदिर के दीवारो पर चित्रित उनकी जीवनी, बोधिवृक्ष के नीचे पाँच मित्रों के साथ बनी उनकी मूर्ति उस समय का अनुभव कराती है ।”
We returned to home around 3:30 pm and then we all took rest for 2-3 hour after lunch. On the evening around 6:30 pm, we were ready for most famous event Ganga Aarti. So, we moved towards Dashashwamedh Gath to become the part of that event; Ganga Aarti was amazing moment. You must involve in that if you are for Varanasi visit.
“सात संत सफ़ेद रेशमी पोशाक में हाथ में बड़ा सा आरती का दीया लिए हुए गंगा माँ की आरती कर रहे थे । दिये से निकलने वाले लौ का प्रतिबिम्ब पानी में दिख रहा था, अदभुत नज़ारा ही था । ढोल, डमरू, नगाड़ा और लोगों के हर-हर गंगे, हर-हर महादेव महादेव की आवाज से पूरा माहोल भक्तिमय और संगीतमय हो गया था । हम लोग भी माँ गंगा की भक्ति में पूरी तरफ से लीन हो गए थे ।”
After completing Aarti, we decided for boating in Ganga River. So, we hired a personal boat instead of sharing boat. Boating in the night was superb experience; boatman covered all Ghats and also told some story related to each Ghat.
We left the Ghat around 9:00 pm and went to Thandai (ठंडाई) Shop. We ordered Thandai with light Bhang (भांग). After drinking Thandai, we bought Banaras famous sweet called Khirmohan (खिरमोहन) and Chamcham (चमचम). Sunday evening was full of fun and memorable day for us.
Next day, May 12th 2014 was Election Day in Varanasi, so we took rest on Monday and left the Varanasi by evening train. This time we missed lot of things like Banarasi lemon tea, Kaal Bhairav Temple, Museum in Sarnath, morning dip in Ganga and some other temples. This is all about my experience in Varanasi.
In the end, I want to say, Banaras is a lovely city and has stuck to my heart. Combo of Banaras and Sarnath is a perfect tourist destination. You will feel different experience in Varanasi visit.