Just another girl with little but bigger hopes and dreams in her heart. I want to explore INDIA (yes, that’s where I belong), my motherland. I love adventures, like every other human. I mean 7/10 is the score, I believe who loves real-life adventures, it’s thrilling and nail-biting, though. I am fond of travelling, not like what they do in rom-com movies. I love solo travelling. I love to explore the raw, unexplored, semi-untouched, places of the cities which are in my list. Will show you one day, once I start fulfilling them one by one. How am I going to make it! How would this be possible! Also being a small-town girl, how will this be so easy to make this really happen! LET’S see!! I just hope I am going to make it done sooner…yayy. 🙂
Last month in September’21, was my Birthday, of course, a very special month. I had made up my mind to travel for the whole month. “Kaha? Pata Nahi..wo to ho jata sort out cause I have many destinations in my mind; Kaise? had to do a lot of hard work.. but somehow mai sab favor me karwa leti; but but but.. it didn’t work. Had to postpone all my plans until next.
In July 2021, in the holy month of Sawan (Shrawan), I had the privilege to visit India’s spiritual capital, Varanasi (Varanasi-Kashi-Benaras). Many beautiful names to this place, one of the most beautiful & simply amazing cities of my country, of the world I would preferably say. I stayed for 3 days and came back with three decades of memories. Every detail I would love to write, hope my fingers allow, kyuki “KAASH YE SIRF EK SHEHAR HOTA, ye BHAWNAON KA GHARANA HAI, KHOOBSURATI KA KHAZANA HAI..” but before let me tell you, this place has a very special place in my soul now. I will try to put all my heart out here, write with all my emotions. Hope my words would do justice to my thoughts of what I’m currently having while going into the lanes of Benaras, the holiest, the chastest, the Sundar-most city.
Planned it alone, started off alone. Asked a few, but due to time constraints and some other reasons, I couldn’t find any company. And then happened, ” log judte gaye, aur karwan banta chala gaya..”-surprisingly, Who knew that! Friends from Delhi, (in Delhi), started joining me. To one of my school friends I had just narrated one day about my plan of visiting Kashi & Kashi VishwanathJi in Sawan– he was like haan haan ja.. suna hai bahut sundar jagah hai. And the next day, after when I reached Kashi he called (on the first Somwari of this Holiest month)- ” dost, Darshan hue BABA KASHI VISHWANATHJI ke!” Now, imagine, how friends had surprised me. So basically it started solo but then it turned out as best groupie-Trip ever.
DELHI to BENARAS
Took Vande Bharat Express (also known as Train 18), with one my friends: best train from Delhi to Benaras, I would suggest (if you ignore its costlier side). While travelling to so many places, I have observed money will come and go, but time will not. So this train just takes 8 hrs from Delhi to reach the destination (Varanasi) – Best so far. I enjoyed the journey throughout, airlines sitting arrangements, providing all superclass facilities and five-star services. At Least a different experience from my other train travel journeys. Started my day at 4 am. Took a cab to reach New Delhi Railway Station. Boarded and reached half an hour before my destination- Varanasi Junction Railway Station. Met friends who were supposed not to come with me but came from different routes, from their respective hometowns. The vibe I got after reaching the station was great. It hit me with something different.
Day 1: We had half of the day when we landed on the holy land
Met all our friends whose plans were unplanned, but happened to be there- MAHADEV ki Nagri. A little details (not needed though, just for my memory check: 1 who knew the other 3, 2 who knew the other 3, 3 who knew only the other 2, 4 who knew other 3, 5 who knew only 1…LOL!!!! How many are we??? Hahahaaaa). Anyways, we did room check-in. Got freshen up.
Also read this 👇👇👇👇👇
Went to explore the city. It was the weekend, so the weekend curfew was still there in Benaras, the time we visited the place. And before everything we had to visit the Ghats– ohh, what a mesmerising view it was! to see Maa Ganga (Ganges) flowing all along with her elegance. Entered the first ghat called Shubh-e-Benaras (Inaugurated recently by our respected Prime Minister Sir). Then to Assi Ghat to so many. Our hunger was on peak, so took Maggi and lemon tea on Assi Ghat. It hit different, literally. Talked to one of the Mallah there and agreed to have an evening boat ride in the Ganges. We did it for around 2 hours. We’re elated by this experience of ours. Took so many good pictures of Sunset-‘worth posting and worthy enough for a little show off’ that too from another bank of the ghats. Benaras was looking gorgeous from that side. While writing, I still am imagining that. WOW!!
Returned back, when it was almost dark since we had to be present at the evening Aarti at Assi Ghat. Watched all that was happening in front of my little eyes with complete awe. Attended Aarti and offered my prayers to Goddess Ganga.
Went to Pizzeria– a very old yet fancy Italian food cafe at the Assi Ghat. It was fully packed, could not grab anything. Had dinner at one of the Bhojnalayas- the basic most one in any city of North India- Tandoori roti, Paneer do pyaza, mixed veg, daal, plain rice and salads.
Tried to have Pahalwan Lassi, but unfortunately, shop got closed early due to covid restrictions. It was Sunday. We were happy that the next day it was going to be a weekday and we don’t have to fight this much for things we’re lagging. Roamed in BENARAS ki GALIYAAN for around 2 more hours, and grabbing all the good foods around the corner and the city was offering, then back to our stays.
Day 2: Monday- First Monday of this holy month SAWAN.
It is called the favourite month-day of Lord Shiva. There were plans in our mind, already!
Got up early and went to witness the best ever sunrise in the city of temples-Kashi. We saw the sunrise while having a walk along the ghats. It was surreal. The Ghats were so clean. Everything was maintained so well there. Surprised and happy at the same time. The sun started shining on the river water- appeared like white pearls over the Ganges.
Took our way to the GHAT WALKS- around 7-8 km covering all the beautiful ghats. We went till Dashashwamedha Ghat and took our exit through Vishwanath Gali. We sat for an hour too, there at the Tulsi Ghat (probably). We dipped our feet inside the Holy Ganga, it felt surreal. That day itself while going along the ghat walks, we saw Harishchandra Ghat (the sight was so true and unreal at the same time..got one different emotion about life there), Rajamahal Ghat, Hanuman Ghat, Tulsi Ghat, Karnataka Ghat and many more. They are all 75 to 80 ghats in total or even more. Thought to have breakfast- Poori sabji at one of the thela’s there, but all of us decided to first will have the Darshan of Baba Vishwanath Ji then will have anything. Saw the street vendors, so many hawkers, almost took an idea of the prices of the items, if in the case on our last day we purchase something and of course we did- not just a little but a good shopping on the last day.
Took rickshaw. Got back to the room. Got ready for our next- Visit NEW VISHWANATH TEMPLE at the BHU campus. Had to wait for the temple to open for Bhaktjans. It opened at 1-1:15 pm. We had our Darshan there. The vibe was awesome. It just made my day. Also, I applied Chandan over my forehead by one of the Babas sitting there. I was so excited to click myself in that look. The Chandan over my head was keeping me at ease and peace in this scorching rays of the sun (summer afternoon after all) and making me quite cool until it got dried up. Had cold coffee with ice cream to make up my thirst, I was hungry since morning. Had to rush somewhere to grab something too delicious. 😀 Went and explored Benaras Hindu University campus’, a little. I Saw IIT BHU. Had a fruit chat there.
We had enough time till evening booked an auto for Sarnath. This place itself is a half-day visit. We had time so without wasting much we rushed there. Took us 1 hour to reach there. We finally took our lunch, after reaching there- again the basic most but tasty most. Visited Sarnath: The museum– where Ashoka Chakra is kept and a replica of it is in our National Flag. The place where Lord Buddha has taught Dhamma (Dharma) to his disciples, then the Stupa, the Ruins and many more. We took a guide there, he helped us a lot. We also visited one of the Benarasi saree factories and eye-witnessed the method of hand-weaving a piece of cloth and then into a marvellous saree. Did a bit of shopping-some decorative pieces and Lord Buddha statues and the flag of peace n prosperity – Om Mani Padme Hum.
Returned back to Benaras. Went to Dashashwamedha Ghat all by a walk through Vishwanath Gali. Had to buy Om/Mahadev/Om Namah Shivay printed shirts. Got a good deal and bought 2. Went to the ghat, the aarti was to start. Rested me on one of the stairs of the ghat and dipped my feet in the Ganga water to feel the calmness after a hectic day, undoubtedly. The Aarti was yet to begin. Preparations were ongoing.
One of the boat riders started insisting me to have on good evening ride of the ghats. He thought I was new, telling me unusual prices; but I had to tell him I was 2 days old in the city already 🙂 (really). And now better know to deal with you all, don’t try to fool me with your high prices. The deal got final in just 50/- (hahaha; I told you I am old in this city now). Wese bhi mera mood bus Ganga me pair daalke baithne ka tha, he insisted cause he had to fill his boat somehow. Took this beautiful boat-ride from Dashashwamedha Ghat to Assi Ghat then again to Dashashwamedha Ghat, stopped to witness the Maha Aarti (again the best so far), then to Manikarnika Ghat (again the Truth hits different here) and a little further to another ghat and back to where we started this ride.
I was tired. Few of my friends started calling me where I was. Met them. They were having somebody massage there. They say it is also famous at the ghats (for males obviously). Waited for them to finish with their chores. Recharged up and back to the Vishwanath Gali, buying little but some important stuffs like- Rudraksha Mala, One more printed shirt etc.
Went to Kashi Chaat Bhandar. Great place to have some exclusive taste of chats. We ordered. And had the very famous Tamatar Chat, Palak Patta Chat, Kulfi Faluda. Ekdum mann khatta-meetha ho gya!! Maza hi aa gaya!!
Went further. Aree Bhai Benaras aaye aur paan nhi khaye to kya kiye…!!! (Bhool gye- ‘Khaike Paan Benaras Wala’) and then we had the best paan in the town- Meetha gulkand wala paan at Keshav Paan Bhandar. Even our PM Modiji uses to visit this shop. The gentleman’s paan making is itself worth watching. He is so into his work. Mind-blowing. He is +60. Must try. Met one friend there (wahi call krke poochhne wala, had paan together 😉. Back to our respective stays.
Day 3: Visit (darshan) to the old Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Got up early and got ready, since we had again so many things to cover today. Also had to take my train (jo ki doston ne tickets book karne nahi diya..and I stayed for 1 and a half more days). Went to Assi Ghat, our beloved place for the last 2 days. Since I reached early before sunrise, I did a meditation on Assi, it felt like relaxing my soul and purifying from within. Friends joined me. We were early, so the temple was yet to open for us. We called our first-day wale Mallah- Bhaiya. He came and take us through the ghat. We had the best morning Boat-ride. We saw the beauty of Maa Ganga from real close. Her beauty was at its peak. We saw and covered all the Ghats that day again. I was in complete ‘hippie attire’. The rider bhaiya had complimented me as well, for the costume I had that day. I took it sincerely. Also, we talked with him for like an hour or 2- how Benaras was during covid days. Some political stuff. Some ancient stories. Some about Raja- Maharajas of Benaras, etc. He sounded intellectual about all these things. We were back, where we started.
Temple timing was still far. We decided to have walk in the lanes of Kashi. Visited some of the Akharas places. Some of the ancient temples just outside Assi Ghat. Went to Pappu Chai- had lemon hajmola chai, and Ginger milk chai. They were great. “Jitna naam suna tha usse bhi badhke tha ye to.. “ as they said 🙂 (I did not have any that time, wanted to have Darshan first).
We started for the temple visit- most important of all, most awaited of all. Things worked in our favour. Although it was too rush there, too traffic, still we got our Darshan to Kashi Vishwanath Mahadev Ji. Phones or any such things were not allowed even in the premises. We submitted them all to one of the free seva stalls (fortunately, all by Mahadev’s grace, one of the friends’ friends met on the way, and he guided us to the VIP entry gate). In just a span of minutes, we had our Darshan to Bhole Baba. Also, I offered prasad and doodh there. I was in complete awe after Puja. It was divine!
Went for the darshan of Baba Bhairotnath at Bhaironath Mandir– 2 km ahead of Old Kashi Vishwanath Temple. What a visit it was too! At some walking distance, we had one of the awaited breakfast joints that’s- Laskshi Chi and Toast wala. We had the best White makkhan toast, Malai makkhan toast and Kulhad wali Chai.
Just while we took our exit, we had Kachauri, Ghughni and Jalebi, outside that malai toast wala outlet. Had Pahalwan lassi- the best lassi in my life till date (with rabri overdosed).
Planned to visit Ramnagar fort that day only, so had to postpone my idea of returning back from Varanasi. Went to Ramnagar Fort. On the way saw Lal Bahadur Shastri chowk (it leads to his birthplace-early life where he has spent). Also when we reached, got to know there’s a museum inside. Took tickets and paid our visit. Saw the grandeur of the fort. It was wonderful. The Maharaja of Benaras still lives there. The fort is just at the bank of river Gange (the other bank from Assi ghats’ side). Took some beautiful pictures from the fort backside. The view was so fantastic.
Returned back. Were hungry so stopped at one of the famous food joints- had the famous Kebab Paratha and veg (soya) Biryani with their famous chutney at Shri Bhola Kebab Paratha at Lanka (BHU road, 500m back from BHU gate).
Went to Sankatmochan Hanuman Ji Temple. It was Tuesday, so again a great coincidence of having darshan at Sankatmochan Mandir. After having waited for around 45 mins in the queue we finally got darshan there. The vibe was great in the temple. Gud wale Peda– prasad of that place is also different and tasty.
Returned back to the room after a really long day. Visited and covered so many things that day. It was late night, and it started raining- had in my mind to visit Assi at night on one of the days! To bss- that was the day. Waited for the rain to at least slow down so that I could start. Took an umbrella and reached Assi- really a worth seeing view.
Just for a check, went to see if Pizzeria Cafe was opened at that time (since it was already too late at night). Lucky fellows! it was opened and also was serving Apple Pie at that time. I had the first (in life ever) Apple Pie of my life. It was so so yum, too yum to resist. It was served with a scoop of ice cream. I talked with the owner and the staff just some casual conversations- like how it started, from long they have been serving here, what all they serve, the making processes, etc., also he offered me to visit the kitchen and the pizza chimney so closely. I felt privileged. We had the best Margherita Pizza (with onion, garlic n mushroom toppings). The night was made, boss! WOOOOW Apple Pie and the BESTTT Pizza so far!!
Day 4: Hopefully the final day in Varanasi!; until next time
One of the friends had train early in the morning. So he left. The second friend got stuck in some office work so stayed back in the room- for the 4th day of visiting, exploring and wandering. Also, he too had train in the first half only so he wanted to rest.
The ones who had still energy left to roam with me- came and joined me. Got up early. So again like our everyday thing- to visit Maa Ganga at Assi Ghat. It was drizzling outside, we waited for a while. But then couldn’t resist ourselves for more and went to the Ghats. We enjoyed the rain. Loving the early morning ghat view in rain. I had an umbrella but I just turned it off enjoyed this loveliest morning God has offered to me. We took pictures- a lot many pictures. Also sat in one of the ghats keeping our feet dipped in the Holy Ganga. We were there for 2 hours. Just not liking to leave that vibe, that view, that fresh atmosphere, that sounds of bells and mantras around- soulful ecstasy!
This time we took our exit from Kedar Ghat. Just outside of it there was a thela of south Indian food. Had the softest ever Idlis of my life and coconut chutney and Vada with sambhar and chutney. My breakfast for the day had been had. 🙂 Also for information I must tell you, Varanasi serves the best South Indian delicacies- as they say, every year many South Indians pay their visit to this holy city of Shiva.
Back to the room, got ready for the final day tour of Benaras city. Went to have chai at Pappu Chai again. This time I had to have all the flavours there. They were refreshing and so good to repeat. We went to the very famous Vishawanth Gali– this time for little shopping. Purchased things for home and Puja Ghar.
Went to the very famous Blue Lassi Shop– ohh man! he had wide variety of lassi in his shop. You just order it and it will be served to you. Also, Malaiyyo is very famous there but it is only available during winters when dew/frosts come in season. So we could not have that. We had mixed dry fruit lassi, chocolate lassi and Banana Lassi. They all tasted so yum. But was a bad idea to order this much cause they were too heavy..hahaha……
My train was scheduled to be at 3 pm on the same day (this time I had booked earlier for any emotional blackmailing from their side) and I was running late. Took a rickshaw from Gadoliya chowk. Back to the room. Did our final packing. Checked out. And rushed to book a cab to the railway station. In the cab, we discussed so many things, our days here in Kashi, the ghats, darshan to the temples, the visits, the foods, the experiences of a lifetime, our beautiful pictures and what not! We all were emotional. Shehar hmse chhuut rha tha par hme kaha chhorna tha abhi ise.. 🙂
Train came. I boarded. And said one last goodbye to Benaras (Benaras-Kashi-Varanasi- city of lights, hopes, sunrise, sunsets, Ganges, Bholenath, temples, Ghats and delicacies!) And I left the city for that time and promised- “Mahadev bulana, fir aaungi!” My brief (yet most elaborated ;)) ‘not so solo’ trip to Varanasi. I planned but then “log judte gye aur kaarwan bnta gya…” Is shehar ke baare me jitna likhugi kam hi hoga.. still if one word to say- Advitiya: Benaras tum jaise doosra koi nhi.
BYE BYE BENARAS, UNTIL NEXT TIME- you lovely city!
Link to my youtube channel. Beginner, but learning! 👇👇👇