After exploring the spiritual Sarnath in the first half of the day, we returned to Varanasi to visit the Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirling and to witness the grandeur of Ganga Aarti.


Varanasi, or Benaras, (also known as Kashi) is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Varanasi`s Prominence in Hindu mythology is virtually unrevealed. Varanasi is also known as the favourite city of the Hindu deity Lord Shiva. All these knowledge was more than enough to excite a traveler in me.


Vivacious Varanasi
Vivacious Varanasi ( Source)


We reached the compound where the famous Kashi Vishwanath temple is situated. The only thing that I could see reaching there was chaos. Of all the things said about Varanasi, chaos is one thing which is not very prominently said but it very prominently present there. For me : “Chaos is the only orderly thing in Varanasi”. 



Traffic jam at main chowk
Traffic jam at main chowk
Heavy policing at Aarti time
Heavy policing at Aarti time

Rickshaw pullers at main compound
Rickshaw pullers at main compound
A police constable at duty on street
A police constable at duty on street

Speaking of Kashi Vishwanath Temple, it is also one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. It is believed that a simple glimpse of the Jyotirlinga is a soul-cleansing experience that transforms life and puts it on the path of knowledge and bhakti.


Serene View
Kashi Vishwanath Shivlinga (Source)



In order to reach the temple one has to go through the traditional smaller lanes known as Vishwanath Galli. The entrance to which is marked by the Gate called as “Vishwanath Dwar”. The temple is 15.5 metre high gold spire and gold dome. There are three domes each made up of pure gold. 
Thus, this Hindu temple is also called The Golden Temple, because of little bit being identical to the Golden Temple of Amritsar.


Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dwar
Shri Kashi Vishwanath Dwar
Shri Kashi Vishwanath

Serene View
Kashi Vishwanath Galli
(Source)
Serene View
Kashi Vishwanath Golden_Dome
(Source)


After having the darshan of the divine Jyotirlinga, we headed towards the famous Ghats of Varanasi. The holy river of Ganga and the ghats are just in the walking distance from the temple. We spotted few holy Sadhus and lot of people waiting for the Aarti at the ghats.  Meanwhile we got ourselves clicked at the ghat.


Sadhu at ghat of Varanasi
Sadhu at ghat of Varanasi
Divyam, Kriti and Akanksha
Divyam, Kriti and Akanksha

Gaurav, Divyam and Kriti
Gaurav, Divyam and Kriti
Pooja material near Ghats
Pooja material near Ghats



By the time we had few clicks, the preparations for the famous Aarti of “Ganga Maiyaa” were almost complete. It took around half an hour to get everything ready for the aarti. It was the time when Aarti was about to start and the venue looked amazingly beautiful all lit up by the LEDs , diyas and the halogen lamps above. The whole atmosphere was electrifying.


Preparation of Ganga Aarti
Boats in Ganga

Preparation before Aarti


Holy Serpent
Decorations at Ghat just before the aarti



All the pandits lined up and started the aarti. They turn by turn took different items and performed the aarti. It was as grand as it can get. I hadn’t seen such an amazing performance of any ritual happening in such a grand way, that too every day. J Images will help you know about the grandeur.


Perfect sync of all pandits
Perfect sync of all pandits
Pandits starting the aarti
Pandits starting the aarti

Pandits offering aarti to Ganga
Pandits offering aarti to Ganga
The main idols
The main idols

Final step of aarti pic
Final step of aarti pic
Another sadhu near ghat
Another sadhu near ghat


Post aarti we headed towards our hotel as we had to attend the wedding (our reason of being there in Varanasi ;)). We were pretty tired by the full day excursion of Sarnath and Varanasi , and after attending the wedding we didn’t even realized when we went off to sleep.

Group pic at wedding
Group pic at wedding



Next day, we had our train back to Delhi in the afternoon. So we still had half of the day to roam around in Varanasi. I had heard a lot about the campus of BHU (Benaras Hindu University) and hence couldn’t resist to pay a visit to the place.

BHU is a public central university established in 1916 by Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya. It is one of the largest residential universities in Asia with over 20,000 students. Its main campus is spread in 1300 acres and is huge by any means. We reached the entrance gate of BHU and once we entered in the university campus, it was a different world altogether.


BHU Entrance gate
BHU Entrance gate
Statue of Bharat Ratna Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya at the entrance of Shri Vishwanath Mandir
Statue of Bharat Ratna Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya at the entrance of IIT-BHU


The chaos of Varanasi was left behind and everywhere was greenery, well-built roads and orderly things. I was surprised to see that such an amazing thing is situated right in the heart of chaotic Varanasi. We did roam around a lot in the campus but it was impossible for us to cover every corner.


IIT-BHU
IIT-BHU



Open playground in BHU campus
Open playground in BHU campus
Student's Hostel
Student's Hostel

Women’s division of IIT BHU
Women’s division of IIT BHU
Medical division of IIT BHU
Medical division of IIT BHU



We had our breakfast in IIT BHU cafeteria and believe me it is one of the cheapest and best food outlet in Varanasi. I especially liked how the menu was put up. It was old, like very old but this is something unique which you don’t see every day in your life. Do spare out few minutes to taste the food here.


Cafeteria
Cafeteria

Menu cafeteria
Menu cafeteria

As we embarked our journey back to Delhi, I was reminded of Mark Twain. Mark Twain, the English author and literature, who was enthralled by the legend and sanctity of Benaras, once wrote :

"Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together" .

It indeed is a beautiful city with a equally beautiful history and culture. I gained a lot in knowledge visiting Varanasi! Hope to visit this place again at least once in my life. Till then you guys sit back and enjoy the blogs that we have for you!

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