I visited the city a few years back...probably when I was in school which is I guess more than a few years and since it was a family trip I did not see it from the eyes of a traveler but that of a tourist. Varanasi, is not peaceful if you will look at all the crowd and the city from an analytical perspective but if you look deeper you will find something so beautiful which will make you visit the city again and again. The beauty of this city cannot be described in words and as the first time was just not enough I plan to stop by in the city soon to relive those moments but this time with someone who has been wanting to go there to see the city and capture the cultural beauty through the lens .
Being a major center and hub of tradition art and craft the city has a lot to offer to the eyes of an explorer and a seeker of divine culture of India.
Go see the Ganga Ghats, and experience a sight so spectacular that besides the amount of people around you there and no place to walk you will end up staying there for hours. A peaceful boat ride by the Ghats early in the morning is all you need to if you want some solitude by the Ghats. Being the religious capital of India and an accumulation of the Indian culture the city has been host to the Banaras Gharana of Kathak and Indian classical music and a home to many poets such as Kabir and Ravidas; painters; philosophers; writers such as Munshi Premchand and musicians such as Ravi Shankar, Bismillah Khan, Omkarnath Thakur and many others. Ramcharitmanas by Tulsidas was written here and Banaras Hindu University, one of the major cultural Institution of education finds its location in the city.
However, the city takes a fascinating turn as the night approaches and the evening prayers at the Ganga Ghats begin. The city comprises of 84 ghats in total each having a significance of its own.
The best way to witness the evening prayers or the Aarti is by sitting in a boat in the middle of the river at a distance from where you can clearly see the entire process and feel the beauty of the lighted diyas all around your boat. The aarti involves 8-10 priests standing in a row and carrying out the entire process step by step. It is at this moment one understands and absorbs as to why the city holds spiritual importance and gives an irreplaceable inner peace.
The astonishing and splendid wall paintings depicting the culture and the hindu religion done in the narrow lanes of the city show the creativity of the painters and the craftsmen. The artwork known as "Bhitti Chitrakala" is a famous folk art of the Banaras visible at ceilings, walls, gates and havelis with the city. Sadly, the art form is depleting now and no action has been taken to refurbish and revive the art. Dating back to the 16th century this art form is now on its way to extinction and the few left barely get noticed.
The best time to visit would be during the Ganga Mahotsav in the months of November and December during Kartik Poornima where one can witness thousands of lighted diyas floating in the river.
So if reading this post excited your inner senses and you have been wanting to pay a visit to "The city of lights" then this is the moment! This is the time!
Please note the images used in this post were not clicked by me. Since I lost the ones I took because of technical error, these have been taken from various sources through google to give an idea to the reader.