If you ask what is the motivation for the trip, the simple answer is because of being Indian…
These are the places we should visit at least once. Those who beat their heads in Kerala should go to North India for a few days. To see human babies walking around hungry for food like puppies… to catch small pieces thrown in the Ganga and drowning, to see the little children tied to a magnet thread and jumping into the abyss…
To know that man is worth so much, to know that there are so many people who live (?) by the wayside with black pigs. Once money and glory run out, we will be like corpses burning 24 hours a day at Manikarnika Ghat and Harishchandra Ghat.
Kashi – Banaras – Varanasi
Like many people, I did not know that Kashi, Banaras and Varanasi are the same until a few days ago. Kashi was a name from ancient times. During the Mughal rule it became Banaras. Kashi was also known as Varanasi because it is located between the Varuna and Asi rivers. Today Kashi is in Varanasi district.
The reason I felt the need to go to Kashi was when I read Jawaharlal Nehru’s Glimpses of World History, which described Kashi as not at all spiritual.
Nehru wrote on 17/01/1931, Go to Kashi and listen to her tales of history… Banaras is the strength of ages, old, smelly, dirty but alive… See India’s history through her eyes, hear the voice of bygone times in her water marble. Who can not go to Banaras after reading this.
Kashi of Viswanathan. Kashi came down to Kailash with Himagiri’s daughter and celebrated the life of Maheswaran. Then, now, and forever, city life is a charm, whether for gods or men… Shiva may have loved this city so much that he banished Vyasa from Kashi who had cursed the residents of Kashi…
Kashi was the first to see the birth of a new light in the world when he gave his first lecture in Sarnath Park full of the enlightenment he got after a long journey… 2500 years ago… Then in the 8th century, Adi Shankaran, a Malayalee, came forward and told Kashi. Kashi may have laughed meanly at seeing Shankara, the Brahmin who had told Chandalan to change his path, making him a human Shankara by asking who is the real Brahmin. Today, Kashi, Varanasi, is the home constituency of the Prime Minister of India.
Then the not-so-smooth life of the weaver who weaves smooth silks to the end, those who can’t polish their lives even after carving, the old people who are thrown out on the streets without anyone, the monks, the ever-burning pyres, Kumbha fairs,
The ravenous Brahmin pandas might also have made her indifferent. Then the closeness of dear sister Ganga, who made her, may have asked her to forget everything and move on.
Own plan – own journey
This time the trip was to three states. Uttar Pradesh (Kashi, Sarnath), West Bengal (Calcutta), Odisha (Puri, Konark, Bhubaneswar). But airlines cut it to five. Telangana and Karnataka were also included in the list as they had to get off at Hyderabad and back at Bangalore. As usual, we were the only ones without any package. This time the special thing about our trip was that mom was with us. My husband (CK), me, my son, and then mom.
Earlier, when I went to roam in the Himalayas, my mother did not come because of health problems. It is difficult to travel up the mountains. As it was through the plains, Amma became excited. He had difficulty walking and needed more care. So the wheelchair on the plane was saved. Most companies offer this service for free. In short, we also got special treatment by giving special service to my mother, we were able to go without Q.. and Railways charged half the fare to senior citizens. Let it be said that mother’s presence helped to make the journey easier than usual for us who had planned more carefully because she was with us.
We left Nedumbassery at 8.30 am and reached Varanasi at 1.30 pm via Hyderabad. No trace of the Prime Minister’s constituency was seen. Anil’s cousin Shyam of KSRTC has recently returned to Kerala after a long stay in Varanasi. Suresh Nair, Shyam’s friend, was helpful in all his help. Suresh’s help made it possible to travel to Kasi on a tight budget including accommodation and cab hire. But it is another fact that the pandas stole that and twice that amount.
Through the gullies…through the Ghats…..through the Ganges
Galis are narrow little passages that are characteristic of Kashi. There are cows standing in any lane. After walking through these we went to look at the Banarasi saree. The price is generally a bit higher. Intense color and heavy work. Banarasi sarees are woven by Muslim weavers. In the evening we took a motor boat on the Ganga and saw all the ghats.
Ghats – stepped buildings on the banks of the Ganges;
This is where Surya Namaskar is performed in the morning and Ganga Aarti in the evening, followed by posthumous rituals and cremation. The guide said there are 88 ghats. Almost every state has Ghats. The cremation is at Harishchandra Ghat and Manikarnik Ghat.
A temple where ashes are worshipped
Cremation takes place 24 hours a day at Manikarnikaghat. There, the ashes of the man’s body, which is cremated at 12 o’clock at night, are used for puja in the Kashi Vishwanath temple.
The most famous Ganga Aarti.
In the evening there is a ritual of worshiping Ganga. We have seen this Ganga Aarti in Haridwar and Rishikesh when we went to the Himalayas before. Mother did not see. It seems like an eternal festival. 7 Priests wear silk robes and hats and turn towards the river to perform lamp worship. In this lamp worship, it is interesting to see the multi-tiered lamp being rotated with both hands with a special skill. At this time, if you see the boats crowded together, you will not feel like you are in the river. In the end, the spectators will also throw small lamps into the river. The Ganga has a different appearance when we reach the same ghats the next morning for Balitharpanam.
Annapurna, Vishwanathan and Kasupudungal in Kashi
Kashi went to Annapurna Devi Temple before meeting Vishwanath. Its specialty is that we can directly touch the idol and perform a pooja. Just be sure to bring the money bag with you… In the Kashi Vishwanath temple, it looks like the Shiva linga is lowered from the ground. The idol that so many people bowed down to… listens to the appetites of the man who is not satisfied with how much he gets and sits indifferently seeing everything. Here too we can directly touch the Shivalinga and do pooja. You can see the priests counting and taking money. To stand longer in the line, to have darshan… If you just stand there, they will come running and give you prasad in your hand. To buy the southern account.. Here is the horror of the Brahmin’s appetite…
The story of the Brahmin’s appetite
There is a story about this, told by Suresh. In the past, Rama and Sita came to Gaya to sacrifice Dasharatha. After everything was prepared, Raman went to look for the pooja materials. When the time was late, the fathers asked Sita for the lump. The mud in the river was kneaded and Sita was sacrificed. When Raman came back and started to perform the sacrifice, Sita said that it was done. Raman did not believe him. When Rama asked for proof, Sita told the cow, the basil plant, the Brahmin, the Falgu river, and the Al tree to testify, but they were not afraid. Sad Sita cursed them. May the Brahmin’s appetite never end, may the river Phalguna sink to the ground, may the Tulasi grow in the soil full of dirt no matter how much it is worshipped, and may the sight of a cow’s face be an inauspicious omen (the back of a cow is a good omen), and may the tree be respected. Whatever the story may be, the greed of the priests towards money is directly experienced…
Banaras Hindu University
Banaras Hindu University was the best for me in Varanasi. Earlier it was Banaras Hindu College. Spread over acres, it has colleges, hospitals, Birla temple, and everything. This place is different from a common image of Kashi. A quiet and busy place at the same time. Spread over 1300 acres, this is the largest residential university in Asia. Its founder, Madan Mohan Malaviya, who was the president of the Indian National Congress four 4 times, built the college at that time. As he was poor and was denied the opportunity to study, he started a college for poor Hindu students who led a monastic life and suffered a lot so that this situation would not happen to anyone else. The place was given by Kashi Naresan. They said to take the place that can be completed in one day.
Nizam’s sandal and Birla’s pride
Malavya even approached everyone irrespective of caste and religion to build the building. (Even if not for money, caste and religion have not existed in India since ancient times). Some gave, some promised, some gave, and some didn’t. The Nizam of Hyderabad gave it away. Malavya bought it without hesitation. Brought it to the college and displayed it on a large scale. As the Nizam had no money, the donated sandal was auctioned. Those who knew, those who knew put their finger on their nose, is Nizam cotton for money? Nizam finally delivered the amount requested to remove the embarrassment.
Birla, on the other hand, did not pay the money on time. Malaviya made a shed out of bamboo and straw and put a big board there – “Built by Birla’s Donation”. It was shamed to give the entire amount at the beginning… and a temple was built. …
Today it is one of the most important universities in North India and a good hospital.
A devotee’s heaven
Varanasi is one of the busiest pilgrimage destinations. Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains also come here. Those who come here knowing that death is superior… Those who wear the saffron of despair or disgust, those who are addicted to addiction, those who drink the intoxication of devotion, and those who live on all these are found in Varanasi. Tulasidas’ Sankatmochan Hanuman Temple, New Vishwanath Temple, and many other temples are located here.
8-10 km away from Varanasi is the park where Buddha gave his first sermon. Sarnath pillar is nearby. Dharmachakra Stupa is also nearby. The Buddhist temple here was built by Sri Lankans and the mural paintings inside were done by the Japanese. The Ashoka pillar, our official seal, is kept in the museum at Sarnath. It is the wheel on the national flag. The pillar erected by Emperor Ashoka in 250 BCE to promote Buddhism is a must-see for every Indian…
A description of Kashi is incomplete without mentioning the Ganges. The reason for the existence of the city of Kashi is the flow of the Ganges. At Allahabad, the Ganga joins the Yamuna and comes here in force. All major cities in the world were built on the banks of rivers. Varanasi has been around for more than 3800 years.
Banks of Ganga where devotees from all over India come for salvation… During Kumbh Mela, monks from every Akhada, Digambara, and non-Digamba, flock to the banks of the Ganga…. Wandering monks… Disgusted and not…foreigners and natives…..
And the cows that roam every street… Are there unnamed spirits wandering about? Do you have a loved one who is separated? Looking back at Ganga, emaciated in summer weariness… Will my father be anywhere? Even if I can’t see it… will come again…