MY TRIP TO BANARAS
This is my first travel piece and I am way too excited to write it on the new year day. I always wished to visit Varanasi and finally got a chance to do so in Jan 2020, Just before we were locked down for good . Those who know me well, know how much I love to travel, but this was one trip I had to write about as it exceeded my expectations in every way possible and also I wanted to share my secret findings with you. I stayed near Assi ghat , in a boutique hotel which I booked through an AIR BNB but wherever you stay you will be out the entire day so it doesn’t really matter.
DAY 1 :- KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE :- When I visited this temple, I felt I have come to Shivjis house to visit him, such are the energies of this temple. You literally feel it everywhere. I did a Rudra Abhishekam in this temple with my hands so it was a out of the world feeling.
DAY 2 :- KALBHAIRAV TEMPLE , DURGA KUND, MAHAMRITUNJAYA TEMPLE were some of the others which I visited the next day. But the beauty of Banaras is that in every nook and lane there are these temples which are almost magical so walk through this city at a pace where you can experience it. That would be my recommendation.
All the temples are high energy and I felt really blessed to visit but don’t miss two of my favourite temples , Santak Mochan, here a sundar kand book fell on me , may be that is why I liked it. And the other is not so famous but very powerful indeed , Chatpati devi temple ( it is in Ravindrapuri colony, you will have to find it a bit) which was recommended by a friend and am grateful to him. This temple is supposed to bring peace in your life, and boy did it.
DAY 3 :- GHATS AND BOAT RIDE AND STREET FOOD :- I did the evening boat ride, I went in January and it was freezing for me but even early morning boat ride is beautiful. I walked around Dashashwamedh ghat to other ghats on day 3, but it can be covered in a boat ride if you do not wish to walk. Banaras is great for food, especially all street food and one place I really loved was the Deena Chat Bhandar where I had everything, literally everything they had on their menu. I am not joking, but do try the tomato chaat, pani puri and tikki, I am sure you cannot have only one.
I also saw the evening aartis everyday, though I have seen them numerous times in Haridwar courtesy my dad who took us there once a month minimum, he loved Haridwar till we grew up and refused to go there anymore. Point being is if you are seeing it for the first time or the nth time, its still a really beautiful experience, especially with the floating lights in the river. You can also see the aarti from the boat if you wish to.
DAY 4 :- A DAYS OUTING TO SARNATH :- We stopped at Rajshree on the way to have some kachoris for breakfast, yes we ate a lot. Also you can go to Sita Rasoi for lunch , though I could not make it. It was rather uneventful day with Museums and Stupas. Highlight of the day was buying a golden ink handmade mandala of compassion from an artist in Sarnath which is still hung in my living room and I think it has helped me. So worth the investment.
DAY 5 :- REVISITING SHIVJI & LAHIRI MAHASAYA & SOME SHOPPING :- I went to Vishwanath temple again on day 5 , which was the last day of mine and I was rather sad to be leaving Shiv ji and going back. The highlight of this day was though that I went to see LAHIRI MAHASAYA JI’s house , its locked so we are not allowed entry inside, but you can sit in dhyana outside the house and its beyond your imagination. I cannot tell it in words basically. But Guruji will acknowledge your visit and bless you for sure.
For shopping its kind of crazy but I did end of buying a banarasi sari for myself afterall, and a silk suit for my mother and lots of Ittars which I am still using. And ofcourse Rudrakshas and crystals, how can I not. You have to haggle a lot which is not my favourite thing to do. I do not have much knowledge of silk saris, so its better you go with someone who knows or some recommendation as its tough to determine the authenticity and value of the product.
SOME TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THE TRIP
- Its dusty so if you are allergic which I am a little, carry anti- allergy medicine.
- Carry Mosquito Repellants for sure.
- Aimlessly wander and get lost once in the bylanes, I did.
- The Auto guys lie a lot, make sure they drop you at the correct location.
- In the evenings , Sit at the ghats and have chai.
I have travelled a lot, but this is one of my favourite trips by far and I hope you liked this article and if u ever go there, I wish it is as amazing for you as it was for me.