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What it means to soak your soul – Varanasi

There is no place in the world to seek nirvana than Varanasi better known as Banaras or more authentically, Kashi. The famous ancient Indian town that even today somehow manages to derive peace out of all the chaotic mess that has been carelessly made by us, so far is a wondrously serene destination everyone deserves to be at. Humongously popular for its artifacts, silk, spices and culture, this city is also the city where people come to die.

On the banks of the holy river Ganges, is the town Varanasi as it is known today that has garnered all that it could plus extra in its enormous culture and brings out a picture that personifies a city where life and death meet. Having attained a top rank in the list of pious towns in the world, Varanasi obviously has bundles of tales and fables to narrate that are sure strikingly and the undisputed reasons for its rich culture. And it must not surprise you to know that it is indeed a common practice to find ancestral records of Hindu families that are kept with the priests in their bulky and cumbersome books about family trees, so chances are that you may also get to know about your great grandparents whom you never got a chance to meet. The literature of the region has given birth to poets who have been worshipped for years, thoroughly by lovers of reading, even the famous epic of Ramayana written by Valmiki was created in the same town, Kashi, such is the grandeur.

Said to be founded by Lord Shiva himself, Varanasi had always played an important role in the field of politics, trade and culture. The true spirit of India lies in this holy town, where people come to wash their sins away by bathing in the holy Ganges. The city lights up the windows to your soul as much as it enlightens the doors to your hearts; probably that’s why it is sometimes referred to as the city of lights.

It either is the soft-spoken dialect of the people, or the lively and rich ghats of the town that embed in your mind the picture of an era byforgone. Plus, the town is home to numerous Aghoris, those who feed themselves on corpses and carry human bones around their necks, and that sure-shot makes you go mad about the crazy rituals that the city follows. Particularly ceremonious on every day basis, Varanasi turn into a fiesta on special occasions of Ram Navami, MahaShivratri and Deepawali, when processions and carnival-like celebrations consume the city into a strange glitz. And it is quite a therapy to the eyes when the entire Ganges glitz up into a burning, blazing sea of stars with thousands of candles floating over its waters after the daily evening sessions of Ganga-Aarti.
The feel, the touch, the essence of this town is such that it brings you back to a life from switching your style from a mundane and monotonous hustle for a living.

“Faith does to the soul what knowledge does to the mind and love to the heart”. – Author

Probably that’s why, an evening of bathing in the Ganges in the presence of the setting sun, and multiple sonorous bells ringing around you in the temples, builds a synchrony to your bodily rhythms and drenches your soul into the true tonics of solace.