Kasi Yatra: Day 2

9th June, 2017

Part 3

BHU| Some other temples | Ganga Aarti

Benaras Hindu University is one of the oldest and the most renowned universities of India. Founded by Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya, it is the largest residential university in Asia. It is spread over an area of around 2700 acres. How do I know all these? Wikipedia facts 😛 Guessed it right 😉 But the campus is really big. The buildings of the departments and hostels are all traditional and brick and cream colored. The campus is full of trees and is being maintained pretty well.

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Inside the campus, there is Shri Vishwanath Temple constructed by the Birla family. This temple has the tallest temple tower in the world (Wikipedia again :P). It is spread over a wide area and has garden on all sides. The place is serene and you would want to spend some time with yourself there.

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Then we went to Tulsi Manas Mandir which is 2-3km away from BHU. This is a temple of Sri Rama. Ram Charit Manas is engraved on the walls of the Mandir. It also has beautiful images from the epic Ramayana. From there we went to Durga temple which is nearby. A person was singing “Sajan re jhoot mat bolo” song outside the temple premises with such verve; I did not want to leave the place. From there we went to Sankat Mochan Hanuman temple. There were monkeys lining both the sides of the path to the temple. It seems they are to be called “Babaji” and not as monkeys.

We then went to the Ghats for Ganga Aarti and hired a boat. There was still time for the Aarti to begin so we went on a ride to see all the Ghats starting with Dashashwamedh Ghat. Aarti is performed on Dashashwamedh and Babu Rajendra Prasad ghats. We went till the famous Manikarnika ghat. This is the ghat where dead bodies are burnt after all the rituals are performed. It seems women are not allowed to that place. The boat wala told me so many other stories. But my mind did not register any of it. It was focused on watching the pyre. It’s such a terrible scene but I could not take my eyes off it. From Manikarnika ghat, we headed back to Dashashwamedh Ghat as the Aarti was about to begin. It starts around 6:45 PM and is performed by a group of priests. People get on boats and the boats line up facing the Aarti.

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During that time boats occupy half the width of the river with very less space between any two boats. One can literally move from one end to another just by walking on the boats. During Aarti, small businesses crop up over the boats. Tea sellers, Puja kit (consisting of Diya, Agarbatthi and flowers) sellers, water bottle sellers move from one boat to another and make money. Altogether, it is a spectacular sight and must be experienced once in a lifetime because any description is not adequate to give an idea of how beautiful it is.

With that, we called it a day.

Prev: Kasi Yatra: Day 2 (Guru Ravidas Mandir)

First: Kasi Yatra: An Introduction

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Kasi Yatra

We are like a beautiful empty bottle when we are born. As we grow, the bottle gets filled with wonderful things at times and with mundane things other times. Sometimes it gets clogged with filth. Rarely do we pause and check the contents of the bottle. And when we do, we find different ways to filter the contents.  Of all the different ways, I find travelling the most effective way.  I can’t agree more on what Anita Desai, the renowned Indian novelist has to say that, “wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.

One of the most beautiful places that I had the opportunity to visit is Varanasi. Located on the banks of the sacred Ganga river, in the Northern part of India, this place made me experience so many things at once.

In a series of entries, I would post the details of my travel.

Next: Kasi Yatra: Day 1