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Discovering Benares on foot! - Seven Sarees

Discovering Benares on foot!

One of the world’s oldest cities, an eminent seat of learning and India’s touted spiritual capital, Kashi is a definite once in a lifetime visit. If you are like me, however, you will be motivated to go back for more.


I prefer exploring places on foot , unless the distance is really too much to cover and it was the same at Varanasi. I drive to meet some of our weavers who live far from my home stay, and then , I enjoy long walks across this ancient city.

Exploring the City on Foot

My first impression was how this city, very much like the other ancient ones of India, is a merger of the old and the new.Then, I started noticing the more unique things about the city: the extremely tasty local food, the Paans, the tiny cobblestone streets leading to the Vishwanath mandir, beautiful alleyways and of course, the distinctive waterfront or the ghats.

The Ghats of Benares

One visit to the ghats gets you hooked to the place. I started most of my days with a quick, yummy kulhad chai around 6am and headed towards Ganges and the Ghats.The routes to the Ghats are these beautiful stone streets and often you get the company of animals like dogs, monkeys and cows, who don’t disturb anybody and look quite well taken care of as well. I was very intrigued to see the famous Dasaswamedh ghat , but the ghat that stole my heart was the Manikarnika ghat ! A holy cremation ground, the fires at this ghat never stop burning. Legends say that this was built by Lord Vishnu himself as an ode to Lord Shiva and Ma Parvati. The name Manikarnika itself means earrings, referring to Sati devi’s earrings that fell here.

Some other beautiful ghats worth mentioning are Hanuman ghat, Tulsi Ghat, Chet Singh ghat, Ganga Mahal Ghat, Maan Mandir Ghat, Lalita ghat and Assi Ghat.

While each is beautiful and serene in their own way, Assi ghat stays with you for much longer!

Benarasi food

The streets are lined with eateries and each one of them offers treats that are tastier than the ones sampled before!Post the ghat walk, I stopped for piping hot kachori sabji jalebis, (try Madhur Bhojanalya) which I gave up only in exchange to the delicious chivda matar and some more Chai. 

Artisans and Benarasi Sarees

Once ready, I was happy to hit the markets and visit our amazing artisans. The sheer beauty of an original Benarasi saree cannot be described in mere words. They are a medley of silk and gold cast in the most gorgeous way possible using intricate motifs , especially the floral ones which have made them world famous and instantly recognisable from other equally popular silks. Everytime I tell myself I have seen all that is when it comes to these sarees and every time , Kashi springs a novel surprise at me. That makes the sourcing journey worth the effort.

Evenings in Benares

Evenings are usually complete with a visit to Benares Hindu University and some superb snacks , (read, cold coffee), near the Vishwanath mandir that is inside. If I had a little more time, I usually hit the Bazaars for some personal shopping and market study and it’s a wrap for the day!


पिछला लेख Decoding Rekha's unique look in sarees
अगला लेख The evolution of the white saree from Scary to sexy

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