The Ghats of Banaras

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Visiting places give us lessons in the form of experiences. One such experience every person should have is that of walking through the auspicious ghats of Varanasi.

Varanasi is the Spiritual Capital of India, not just that, it is one of the oldest living cities of the world. There are many reasons why one should visit Varanasi, but today, I won’t tell you of all the obvious reasons like Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Sarnath, Ganges, Brocade, Banarasi Langda Aam, Bhaang (these are obvious and mainstream – exactly what attracts most pilgrims and tourists) – Rather I’ll tell you of a truly spiritual reason of why one should visit especially the GHATS of Varanasi.

 

And hey, yes, I’m stressing on the youth readers more. Varanasi may not be typically in a young adult’s  travel bucket list! But that is where we need to change the stereotype. No, Varanasi is not just for middle aged people seeking moksh – It is for us as well, young adults, trying to find the true meaning of life!

The Ghats of Banaras start ideally from Assi Ghat and end on the Manikarnika Ghat, though there are Ghats prior to Assi and Ghats subsequent to Manikarnika, the main stretch is considered to be this one.

Now, there’s a philosophy. The Ghats, as you walk from Assi till Manikarnika, teach you life lessons on the way.

In life, a lot of people come and a lot of people go, but one should cease from using the word ‘lost’.

No one is ever lost or gained. Life is about the Journey, that’s it. People join you in the journey, some for a little while – some longer maybe (There were many who were walking past me, from ghat to ghat, until they stopped where they had to.) When you start from the Assi Ghat, vibrant, lively, pandits and aartis – It’s like a joyous celebration – like your birth. From there you keep walking to see various other ghats, some well lit – full of people, some dark and sad, extremely sad – Just like the ups and downs of your life, on your best days surrounded by people, on your glum and worst days, by a very few!

In the middle of the stretch comes –Dashashwamedh Ghat – A ghat full of Masti, a feeling of accomplishment, of having completed all the worldly-bodily needs, more aartis, more people, enjoying your success!

Moving ahead to a few more ghats that strike realization until you finally truly have seen everything before reaching Manikarnika Ghat – the burning ghat. Look around, you may have the fewest people left now, or nobody! The smell is overwhelmingly pungent, there is ash all around.

It’s where the story ends for all, in hope of something new in some other form in some other place.

That’s life.

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