Firstly, I got hand on some new pics relevant to part 1 which I am uploading.
If you haven’t read Varanasi part 1. . . click here.
OK! Moving on to part 2.
…And then we headed towards two important spots- ‘The Kashi Vishwanath Temple’ and ‘Ganga Aarti’ .
Kashi Vishwanath temple is one of those places for which Banaras is widely famous for. It is a ‘Shiva’ temple – A Hindu God. It was monday and as it is considered the day of ‘Shiva’, the rush was a little too overwhelming than usual. We parked our car way before reaching the temple. The half of the remaining way was covered on auto rikshaw and then comes the point when you can no longer use any vehicle. At that place, all you can see is narrow unmetaled road leading to the same destination, canopied with small colorful shops selling ‘prasad’ which include milk, flowers and leaves of a specific plant (called bela patra in hindi) and ripe coconut.
From a considerable distance, we abandoned our footwear and took the prasad in our hands. Soon we reached the main entrance of the temple as a member of the queue which lead to it. The queue was moving slowly, which is a very common site to see in any hindu temple. A score of military men were seen allowing the smooth passage of people. It was all silvery… like seriously all silvery! I was close to reaching the main compound where the Shivlinga is situated and the queue stopped it’s sluggish movement.
After a moment or two a loud chant echoed in unison ‘Hara Hara Mahadev!’ I got to know that the barricade in this temple opens everyday at a specific time, and at that time people can touch the Shivalinga . I was there for the first time, only to be among those very few people. It felt special, kind of chosen. The rush was insane. Cops did not allow anyone to stop and we were like water, being sucked in and out. Nevertheless, I was able to touch the Shivalinga and pour over the prasad and milk. After I was out of the main compound, the strolled over the remaining.
It was more like a relief rather than shock to learn about a fact that this temple is famous for one more reason. This temple shares it’s walls with a Mosque. This my friend, is India! And this is the fact due to which I love this country. Finally we left the temple, recovered our abandoned footwear and moved back to the main metaled roads. Now, we were hungry, not from the stomach but from the mouth. So, uncle took us to a very famous Chat shop called Kashi Chat Bhandar. We ordered many types of chats at very low price and they were delicious! Mine favorite went to chuda-matar and palak chaat.
Then came what I can entitle as the best thing about this day- ‘The Ganga Aarti’. We headed towards the Ghats after loading our stomach. Sky was dimly lit, almost close to being dark and small yellow bulbs lit the whole range of Ghats. Small boats stood on the bank of the river and people could be seen all over the place- mostly on the steps, then in the boats and some on the terrace of surrounding buildings. We also gave 50 bucks each and sat on one of the boats to witness Ganga Aarti.
A pandit ji, with a plate full of money, crimson, sandal, rice and baked clay lamp (diya) strolled towards me and offered to put a teeka on my forehead and I greeted him with a little bow and some bucks. Now, Ganga Aarti is something I can’t explain. It’s like a treat to the eyes. The atmosphere, the aroma of all the burning lamps and flowers, it’s hard to put into words. I found this video on YouTube which I am sharing of Ganga Aarti.
It was as if all my tiredness was gone at once. We ended the day with Ganga Maiyaa ki jai! (All hail to River Ganges) and we went back to take rest in our hotel room.
Coming up next: Varanasi part 3 where I’m going to tell you about the next morning in Banaras and the beautiful program held everyday on Assi Ghat.
Video Credits- Kanchanmoni