In India, it is easy to make out from which part of the country a person hails from. The mannerism, attitude, thinking, and lifestyle differ them. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, each city has its own unique identify. This kind of diversity is rare to see anywhere. And if you happen to visit Varanasi, you will simply get mesmerized. The city may be small in length and breadth as compared to a metro, but the colour, fragrance, and the camaraderie it evokes will create an everlasting impression on your mind and body.
Varanasi is situated at the banks of the holy river, Ganges or Ganga. It is famous for its religious values, cultures and tradition, and as Banaras or Kashi. Half the area of the city situated alongside the Ganges is called as ‘Old Banaras.’ This area is over-populated and inundated with buildings built in aged traditional style. The roads are narrow and access from one place to another is not easy. The lifestyle of the people residing in this area is very simple. People here are religious and are easygoing. Their ethos is very different than other Indians. They follow a standard routine in their daily lives. Their day starts by waking up before the sunrise and lining up at the Ganges for a bath. After cleansing themselves, they visit the temple and offer prayers, and then head towards their work. You will witness a diverse range of scenes near the Ganges. You will see monks in saffron-coloured clothes meditating, people getting their head tonsured, giving a bath to their buffaloes, family enjoying a dip in the river, dead body floating in the river, snake charmers, and the shimmering of the water in silver colour due to the sun rays.
Banaras is the holy city for Hindus. But you will also find Buddhist, Jains, Muslims dwelling here in an amicable manner. Since the city has narrow lanes, the most preferred transportation is the paddle driven rickshaw or tri-cycle. Not only is the rickshaw the cheapest mode of transportation, but also convenient to move around. Another thing Beneras is famous for is its ‘paan’ (beetle leaf). It is easily available here and any part of the country as it is specially prepared by adding several ingredients that offers an adrenaline rush when consumed. Every rich and poor person loves this paan and prefers it to enjoy a kind of Banaras masti. The only drawback of this betel leaf is that it makes the eater to spit constantly, which is why everything from roads to the lanes and walls are painted in red colour.
Another unique thing that makes the person of Beneras different from other regions is ‘Gamcha.’ It is a thin towel made of cotton and worn over the shoulder. People love to wear it for its multipurpose use. They can use it as a handkerchief, turban, pillow, and as a mat to lie on it. However, the scene in the outskirts of the city is different as it is more developed and has every basic amenity that is necessary to lead a comfortable life.
If you are planning to visit the city, make it a point to visit the old Beneras. For you will enjoy a variety of scenes here that will simply take your breath away.