Marking the words “Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together” of Mark Twain the city of Varanasi is worlds oldest continuously inhabited city since 2000BC.
The spiritual soul of India is here, in this astonishing city on the banks of the sacred river Ganges one of the prominent cities to flourish as the learning center for Hinduism in India. Standing from time immemorial the old world charm of Varanasi, in many ways the beating heart of the Hindu universe, perhaps the earth’s most supremely potent pilgrimage site. Varanasi will sweep you away, may it be the numerous temple or the offering of prayers to the Ganges on Varanasi Ghats or the enthusiast pilgrims taking a dip in the river to wash away their Sin’s on the ghats. Feel the connection and the aura of the city enlighted by the sounds of copper temple bell’s to the chanting of Hindu Sloka’s or the sight of sadhus.
Enduring the experience of a slow, misty morning boat ride along the Ganges ghats, a bustle of spirituality and enlightenment, watch the tiny sacred lamps ceremoniously lit in ancient Indian way, during the Arti observe the chant of mantras, singing hymns a very unique Indian phenomenon experienced by thousands of devotees from all over India and tourists, flanked on the ghats watching the Brahmin perform the puja in the holiest waters in all creation, which no other place on the planet can compare with its thousands of years old traditions which are followed even till date. Perhaps nowhere in India, or the world, is it possible to witness so clearly, colorfully, and intensely many thousands of years of unbroken dedication to spiritual exploration.
A short drive outside the city, Sarnath is the place where Gautam Buddha first enunciated the Four Noble Truths after his enlightenment at Bodh Gaya after attaining enlightenment. The Dhamekh Stupa marks the spot at where Gautam Buddha gave his sermon. Venture out to the excellent lapidary museum and much-pilgrimaged site at Sarnath, to see a section of the massive Ashoka Pillar here.