Cul­ture gully

THE CITY OF SHIVA, THE CITY OF GHATS, THE CITY OF COLOUR— VARANASI IS A PHO­TOG­RA­PHER’S DREAM, A HOLY­MAN’S ABODE AND A TRAV­ELLER’S PAR­ADISE.

India Today - - INSIDE - BY EKTA MAR­WAHA

We travel to Varanasi and re­visit the beauty of the city

The his­toric city of Varanasi played host to a beau­ti­ful cul­tural fes­ti­val last month. In its first edi­tion, Ba­naras Ut­sav got peo­ple from across the coun­try to visit the holy ghats, savour its lo­cal del­i­ca­cies, shop for gor­geous Ba­narasi sa­rees, walk through the dusty by­lanes of the city and of course par­tic­i­pate in some thought pro­vok­ing group dis­cus­sions. In our lit­tle ex­cur­sion to the city, Sim­ply Delhi brings you what to or not to do when in you’re in the land of Shiva.

Though there are a num­ber of bud­get and lux­ury ho­tels to chose from, we sug­gest you stay at Ho­tel Ganges View sit­u­ated on the banks of Assi Ghat. Aes­thet­i­cally done, this her­itage prop­erty is one of the calmest places to be at in this busy, bustling and chaotic city.

Assi Ghat is one of the lesser com­mer­cialised ghats, so rest as­sured, you can walk around in peace. Sit by the tem­ple steps—yes, there are a num­ber of tem­ples as you walk along the coast of this or any ghat in the city. Sip a hot cuppa served in earthen mugs from the lo­cal tea kiosk—it just adds to the rus­tic charm. But if you are spoilt for taste and miss your milk­shakes and smooth­ies, then look for a sign board that reads Pizze­ria Vatika. Claimed to be started by a French man many years ago but now run by lo­cals, this café is the coolest thing to have hap­pened to this city! Pas­tas, wood fire oven piz­zas, smooth­ies and the much talked about ap­ple pie, which is of­ten car­ried back home with those who re­frain from in­dulging in the mithai here, are the must-trys.

When in Varanasi, a boat ride on the ghats is a must, and there is no bet­ter time to do it than sun­rise, so plan your day in ad­vance. Ide­ally it would be best to get onto a tra­di­tional hand rowed boat at Dashash­wamedh Ghat. Your boat­man will make sure you lis­ten to his fables and myths as you pass by a num­ber of ghats, re­main pa­tient be­cause it is en­ter­tain­ing. As you go deeper into the river, it gets calmer and ev­ery­thing comes to a stanstill.

Break­fast should be at one of the lo­cal ka­chodi aloo stalls, add in some jalebi and tea, and you’re in for a treat, which will cost you no more that Rs 20 per per­son. When in Ba­naras you ought to shop for sa­rees and silk. How­ever, don’t be fooled. Try to visit the fac­to­ries and avoid the re­tail out­lets, but in case you can’t do bar­gain!

End your day by at­tend­ing the serene Ganga arti, and watch the city come to rest af­ter a long day.

EKTA MAR­WAHA

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.