The Real Picture of Benaras
An Encounter with the Dead and the Living: Benaras
Whitewashed buildings that stand out glowing in the sun, historic houses, embellished front gates that screams of a golden era that just passed by, prehistoric ghats that scorns the sense out of resting eyes and ears, smell of fresh milk products and marijuana that greets each and every walking soul who come to explore the thronging landscape, narrow lanes where cows and oxen stand in solitude as the world passes by, forms the city that has maintained the same image for almost five centuries. There are obvious tell-tale signs of modernization which has for far more obvious reason never subdued the ancient qualities that existed in the city.
History rules in each and every step once you land in the hallowed region and inadvertently, you fall prey to the charm, the riot of colours and smeared foreheads of vermilion and sandalwood paste. After much deliberation you usher into a modern hotel furnished with modern amenities only to be dragged out within few hours by the drowning hymns and chants emanating from almost everywhere. And within no time you’re surrounded by a malignant religious fever and you walk like a zombie heading to almost every ghats present in the city. Ganga rules the world in Varanasi- current’s strong and the water is murky.
Rituals of every possible kind are being performed, multitudinous God fearing people flock and dive to cleanse their sins, boats of every shades wait in line to woo tourists to give them a distant view of the small city from the river’s perspective and at the same time charging a hefty amount in paper currencies – a link to the material world. And just when you thought you had it enough there’s the illumination of the drowsiness and concentration welcoming you for the land is made divine by the heady aromas of weed and burnt bodies. The fire never subsides and the place never sees the dusk of mankind. In Death there’s Life and in Life there’s madness. Such are the wonders of the city that is Varanasi where assault on the senses seems an intoxicating and pleasing effect, a plethora of madness.