With the wrath of commercialisation, hopeful for higher wages and engulfed in the lust of the fast-paced city life, dreamers flock to the metropolitans like moths to a flame. We often get so entrapped in our lives, where we prioritise caring for our loved ones, meeting deadlines or the worst of all, beating traffic. In this maze of pre-determined commitments, we often forget to take care of ourselves.
Surprisingly, in the 21st century what continues to grow technologically and materialistically, is also evolving in the domain of self-fulfilment. Taking care of your mind, body and soul can be so much more rewarding than one could ever imagine. In India, specifically, being a country driven and dominated by culture and religion,many seek solace in activities of devotion. What better place to embark on your journey of soul-searching, than to the most spiritual city in India? Be the modern digital patron you are and make your flight bookings to the ‘City of Gods’.
Varanasi was referred to as Kashi in the times of the Rig Veda, the seat of learning, rimmed with the holy waters of the Ganga River, lathered in every color of warmth that resonates even in the souls of its inhabitants. No other place in India and possibly the world, will embrace you with so much passion, intensity and extremity as Varanasi. Not too popular as a tourist destination, for the curious and the devotional, travelling to Varanasi implies cheap air tickets to and fro that you can select from one of the domestic flights.
In your attempt at self-fulfilment, here are some experiences that are bound to play catalyst to your journey.
The Glorious Ganga
It is said that all great cities lie next to a river. The holy river of Ganga is one of the highlights of Varanasi with its numerous historical religious connotations. You do not have to be a believer to be amazed by the beauty of the boat ride at dawn. From the small fisherman’s boat, you get a clear view of the numerous ‘ghats’ each having an auspicious meaning, if you are lucky you might even spot a river Dolphin. But the one true experience that almost everyone, who has heard of Varanasi comes for, is the ‘Ganga Aarti’. An enchanting ceremony that begins with 7 wooden planks being laid out as the respective priests take their position. The aarti is a treat to all your senses, the glorious sound of the conch shells, the devotion seen in the holy ceremony, the strong smell of camphor combined with the sweet smells of white Jasmine, Rose petals and Marigold flowers that fill up the atmosphere. As the sounds reach a crescendo, you will find yourself in a trance chanting “HarHarMahadeva”!
In a country today, where politics instigates religious intolerance to guide vote banks, in the city of salvation lies the oldest Hindu temple shares a wall with a Muslim mosque. The Vishwanath Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva; staunch believers consider even the sight of it to be auspicious. Whispering your wishes into the ear of Nandi, Shiva’s vahana is one of the most invigorating experiences of your trip.
The Stories of Life and Death
The famous ghats that form the essence of the city, each dedicated for a particular, mythological, religious or historic practice. The ghatsare so dreamy and majestic, still timid in front of the glory of the Ganga. The DasaswamedhGhat is where the holy Ganga Aartiis conducted, but in the day, it is filled with masseurs under parasols. The KedarGhat is where many come to take a holy dip in the holy waters of the mighty river. The Ghat of Ashes, the ManikarnikaGhat is the cremation ground for the deceased. However, some simply submerge the bodies in the river. Therefore, if you ever spot a body afloat, do not be scared.
For millions, Varanasi is a place for soul-searching in its true sense. Many come here for salvation and others come here for an out-of-life experience. Whatever the reason maybe, making your flight booking to Varanasi will be the best decision you make today.
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