Being an atheist, Varanasi has always been a very confusing place to me. I, personally have never been very fond of religious places but the interminable chanting of people succumbed in their divinity surely allures an auspicious aura of mystical beauty. The extraordinary and diversified pageantries across the ghats of the Ganga River are both compelling and boring. For most of the time, while I was billeting in the luxury hotels in Varanasi, I spent my days sightseeing like a tourist and spent the evenings immersed with the locals.
The morning air smelt of sweet embers of incense sticks and the ghats were replete with pilgrims engaged in yoga, ritualistic bathing, and holy prayers. The wispy sky and the bright sun had stunningly created a beautiful shade on the river, revealing its majestic beauty. The scenic beauty blending with the religious aura will take you to an unimaginable surreal-like experience. It is an indispensable destination for any photographer who likes to capture emotions and enjoy street photography.
This awe-inspiring beauty of the destination is intriguing but is often overshadowed by the civic breakdown of the city. What is it about religion that it attracts sordidness? The green, still and filthy water bodies are home to innumerable viruses and bacterias which can cause life-threatening diseases. People throwing half-burnt ash of their ancestors and other wastes into the river and then drinking the same squalid water in the name of religion is a common practice. A dog peeing on rotting garbage next to a child taking a bath is just a common sight. It is things like these which bring me to the question ‘Why of all places, religious people are flocking here from across the country and the world?’
To Hindus, Ganga is considered as a holy river and any city residing on its bank is considered as holy or sacred, but Varanasi has a special sanctity. Various superstitions are associated with this place, like Shiva and his spouse Parvati stood at this very place when time started ticking for the very first time. Other than the Hindu mythology, Mahabharata, Varanasi also has its roots in the Buddhist scriptures. It is factors like these which make this holy city stand out from the rest of its kinds.
Behind this stale background of superstition, the place reveals a sweet and cultural theme. It is a place where people go to find peace and solace. A place which has the power to replenish your soul. Varanasi’s accommodation is another factor for you to visit there. It consists of some of the best luxury hotels in the country. When we talk about the locals, they can be considered as highly superstitious and religious, but their kindness, sense of humor and friendliness are one of the many things which make the destination so desiring. Varanasi may not follow the conventional idea of development, but its uncommon ability to attract hordes of travelers is truly amazing.
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