Banaras- The Elixir of Life

1st Sep 2014
Photo of Banaras- The Elixir of Life 1/4 by Sweta Tripathi
The gateway to Ganges
Photo of Banaras- The Elixir of Life 2/4 by Sweta Tripathi
Sagas of Sadhu
Photo of Banaras- The Elixir of Life 3/4 by Sweta Tripathi
The sun sets on the Ghats

Photo of Banaras- The Elixir of Life 4/4 by Sweta Tripathi 

Kashi/Banaras/Varanasi whatever you call it, I will call it a city of joy due vivre. Every day is a festivity in Banaras. The oldest of the civilization on the earth unfolds slowly and brings out the rass(juice) of life for everyone. One who comes to Banaras for the first time will be amazed by the amalgam of old and new. While there are malls like IP and JHV in the heart of the city, the main attraction still remains the archaic ghats, the stone steps and the river Ganga. The old alleys of the city behind the ghats are a jigsaw puzzle and can even beat the Maze runner trilogy if you are not accompanied by a local. The names are also funny gungrali gali, thatheri gali, thedhi neem gali, kachaudi gali. But these are not just names and not any lane, but a whole legend and thousands of stories hundreds of memories are in these gallis. Yadav ji my friend an informant remembered how in the past, ghats were the place where he and his friends would play in the mud all day. Those days of frolic went with the age, but the memories are still alive.

The city of Shiva holds in it the mythologies of life and death, the two poles and binary opposites on the same space. One who wants to see how intriguing death is should visit Manikarnika ghat where hundreds of dead bodies are burnt for liberation. With the golden flames of fire and black smoke coming from the pyres also comes a conscience that we are living in a virtual world, the reality is death. But then the moment your boat crosses it and you start approaching the dashashwamedh ghat things change. You see children splashing in the river, young couples walking hand in hand, the sluggish boats full of tourist and pilgrim, the camera lens zooming all around and the smoke of the chillam coming from a sadhus pipe... Life becomes meaningful. You realize that there is more to come in life. The Mauj Masti and Mazza is still to be felt. You hop from the boat click few pictures and then get lost in the alleys of Banaras. Old dilapidated buildings, stone paved pathways, tiny wooden doors all take you back to the historic imageries of the city. The city withholds endless stories. Each story is inscribed on the temples, lanes, monuments, and flows through the river in heart of Banarasis.

The fragrance of cardamom filled sweet beetle nut juice, the incense sticks and the burning of oil at the temples and fans fills the air. But then you also have to toil your way through the dust, rickety roads and the chaotic traffic. Well, it is worth it. Because when you go to bed away from the hum drum of metro, you have no deadlines to meet, no people to please, instead blissful life in the blissful forest and where it's you, your lenses and Banaras