One of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities, Varanasi (or Benaras), is situated on the banks of the holy Ganga in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Numerous temples line the various ghats putting up an intensely colourful show of rituals, prayers, sights, and sounds. Varanasi is the spiritual capital of India, and therefore sees uncountable people from around the country visit its ghats to bathe in the sacred waters of the Ganga. This city is considered by most travellers as one of the most fascinating and enigmatic places to be.
Every waking moment in this age-old city is an experience of a different realm. While the ghats and the alleyways make for a memorable walk, there are other sightseeing opportunities that reveal more about this mystical city, rather explicitly. The Benaras Hindu University is a beautiful ode to Varanasi’s long regarded identity as a centre for learning. Established in 1916, the university’s 5.3 sq. km. campus has a peaceful atmosphere amidst tree-lined streets and pathways. The campus is home to the Bharat Kala Bhavan, a museum with an extensive collection of ancient palm-leaf manuscripts, sculptures, and miniature paintings. Among the many temples in Varanasi, the Vishwanath Temple is the most sacred, and the most popular. It is dedicated to Vishveshwara—Shiva as the Lord of the Universe, and is crowded with devotees waiting in queue to get a glimpse of the idol. The temple is a magnificent sight with its tower and dome plated in gold. Varanasi sees the sun rise more beautifully than the rest, and a boat ride down the Ganga during the early hours of the day permits one to witness just that. Take home some of the magic from this incredible city in the form of colourful, aromatic spices. The Kinari Bazaar sells whole or ground spices to recreate some authentic Indian dishes that are delightedly savoured in Varanasi.
Exploring the nooks and corners of this ancient city demands a guide as learned. Let the Taj Nadesar Palace—a Taj Palace, be a guide during this memorable tour of North India.
Nadesar Palace grounds, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh - 221002. India