Varanasi – Soulful, Serene, Spiritual
Amidst bumper to bumper traffic, emotionally challenged life, lack of mental peace and a constant emptiness eating us all from within – we all seek a place where we can get lost to find ourselves. And while I was looking for one such place, I landed in Varanasi.
People believe that Varanasi is a melting pot where Indian history beautifully fuses into spirituality. This one of the world’s oldest inhabited cities holds rich Indian heritage in its bosoms.
As I reached Varanasi, serenity caressed me. I could feel the spirituality in the air. People here stay drenched into rituals all day long, and the sight of devotees performing puja at the ghats is common yet soul-soothing.
Every year streams of pilgrims flock here to take dip in the holy waters of River Ganga. I managed to reach the Dasaswamedh Ghat around 5 pm when the sun was already radiating crimson hue. This one of the oldest and holiest Varanasi ghats literally gave my soul a soothing stroke. As I sat there, I was gazing far, overlooking the pilgrims taking bath. The sight of multihued boats parked along the ghat looked beautiful and shimmering waters of Ganga added to the overall exquisiteness of the place. After exploring almost all parts of India, finally I was losing my heart and soul to Varanasi – a place which seemed too calming to be true.
I heard a lot about the evening aarti and I secured my place at the ghat in advance to get a clear sight of the ritual. People started flocking in hundreds. They seemed to be from different cultural backgrounds. But one thing that weaved them together was their devotion towards god. Around 7.30 pm, Pandits, wearing saffron clothes, came with huge light lamps. The sight was charismatic. I never experienced something like that before. Thousands of bells were ringing in the background, people were humming holy chants and Ganga water was illuminating with gorgeous lights.
The day ended well. My agenda for the next day was to take a boat ride along Ganga River. As I hopped on a boat at 5 in the morning, the air seemed pure. It was a whole new experience. Sun never seemed so soothing before. And the sparkling Ganga River had all my heart.
The person riding the boat was a local and narrated many stories of this holy city. I spotted many Sadhus and pilgrims indulging in early morning prayers along the ghats and offering water to the Sun God. This ride left an indelible imprint on my heart, which I still cherish every single day.
After finishing my breakfast at a tiny local restaurant, the next place on my itinerary was the Monkey Temple dedicated to Goddess Durga. The temple got its name due to excessive population of monkeys dwelling around it. The temple has been built in the Nagara style of architecture, which looks highly impressive. The locals at the temple said that the status placed here appeared on its own in the temple.
As suggest by a local at the Monkey Temple, I planned to visit the Golden Temple which earned its name due to the gold plating on its massive spire. Also known with the name of Vishwanatha Mandir, this temple was destroyed by successive Muslim rulers. Later in the year 1785, Queen Ahilyabai Holkar of Indore built the temple which we see today.
While I was planning my trip to Varanasi, I saved one extra day for touring around Sarnath which is just a few kilometres away from the city. Having heard a lot about this place, I was eager to unfold the mysteries buried here. As I visited this Buddhist centre, I was thrilled with the serenity cuddling this place. Sarnath holds great value among Buddhists as this is where Buddhist Sangha received enlightenment. The grand Dhamekh Stupa and other structures here stand testimony to the significance the place enjoyed in that era. People come here to learn about the history of Buddhism in India, many of which stay here for a lifetime, devoting their life to Buddhism.
So, my trip to Varanasi ended with this special tour to Sarnath. While I am not a very spiritual person, this journey filled me with immense joy. I still wonder whether it was serenity or spirituality which tickled me to visit here over and over again.http://blog.capertravelindia.com/varanasi-soulful-serene-spiritual.htmlPilgrim Tours to IndiaBuddhism in India,Pilgrim Tours to India,Tour to Sarnath,Tourist Attractions Varanasi,Trip to Varanasi,Varanasi Tour,Vishwanatha Mandir