Sohini and Anandita, colleagues in an IT firm, are like chalk and cheese. Sohini is spontaneous , Anandita isn’t. As a corollary, Anandita is a planner, Sohini isn’t. The two knew instinctively that they would make perfect travel partners. After lots of research and arguments about their trip destination, they zeroed in on Varanasi, by the Ganges.“Varanasi and its old world charm are simply irresistible,” said Sohini about the city of Ghats, a city she had frequented in the past.
“Varanasi and its old world charm are simply irresistible,” said Sohini about the city of Ghats, a city she had frequented in the past.
And every time she revisited the city, her love intensified. For Anandita, it was a new place. She had read and seen beautiful visuals of the by-lanes and the narrow alleys, the cows and the Sandhya Aarti (evening prayer) by the Ghats – and couldn’t wait. They booked their tickets and hotel and set off on a three-day trip to the quaint city by the Ganges.
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Travel bytes from the girls
Destination: Varanasi, UP
Trip Expenses: ₹₹
Hotel: Sita Guest House
Recommended experiences: Boat trip on the Ganges Evening prayer at Dashashwamedh Ghat, Trip to Ramnagar Fort, Trip to Sarnath and the adjacent garden, Try street foods like Lassi and Kachauri
Love at First Bite
The girls reached Varanasi in the morning by train and took a rickshaw to reach their lodging by the Ghats. Anandita felt an immediate connect to the antiquated city and its old soul. Sohini only renewed her love for the city!
Sita Guesthouse was located in Chausatthi Ghat, close to the much famed Dashashwamedh Ghat. To their utter delight, their room provided them a view of the Ganges and the Ghat. They stashed their luggage, freshened up and set out for breakfast at Kachauri Gali. The Kachauris were tasty, oily and seemed unhygienic. However, traveling with a like-minded companion helps a lot in these situations. Neither of them was bothered by the grimy look of the shops and they gobbled their breakfast like hunger-stricken puppies. Street food proved to be one of the biggest charms of Varanasi.
Calm amidst Chaos
In the afternoon, they decided to undertake the boat ride on the Ganges. The boatman insisted that it was too early and they should come back after 4 pm to enjoy the ride to the fullest. They grabbed a quick lassi and whiled the time away, walking in the narrow alleyways. It was only sheer luck that they did not get trampled by the holy cows rampant in the streets. The boat ride proved to be a divine experience. The boatman told them stories about a long lost world, about people coming to Varanasi from different places, buying huge villas and abandoning them after one or two generations. They came across several Ghats – Assi Ghat, Munshi Ghat, Harishchandra Ghat, Tulsi Ghat, Manikarnika Ghat, each beautiful, each with a story of its own. The Manikarnika Ghat, the primary cremation Ghat in Varanasi, with its funeral pyres and holy chants, transmuted them to a melancholy detached self.
They came back to the Dashashwamedh Ghat for the evening prayers after sunset. The boats were parked beside each other so that one could watch the rituals sitting in the boats. The Ganga Aarti (prayers for the Ganges) replete with twinkling lights and solemn prayers, age-old grandeur and fervent following wrapped the girls in a bubble of calm amidst the chaos of Varanasi.
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