KHOJ BANARASIYA By Saqlain Akhtar

Kashi, now known as Varanasi or Banaras, is the oldest city in the world, aging back 5000 years. Vibrant and rich in culture, this city is a favorite among the travelers and tourists. Situated on the banks of the holy river Ganga, this place has its own wave of divinity. The special thing about Varansi is that you can find around 1000 temples here, and most famous among them is in the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva.

There are numerous sentiments attached to the city, which you cannot see through your eyes but can only experience in your soul. Banaras is considered sacred by Hindus because according to them, Lord Shiva unleashed the Ganges from the knots of his hair in the city of Banaras. Banaras is also a major centre of arts and designs. It is a great producer of silks and brocades with gold and silver thread work. Carpet weaving, wooden toys, bangles made of glass, ivory work, perfumes, artistic brass and copper ware and a variety of handicrafts are produced and exported around the globe.

Among these the most famous of all is Banaras Gulabi Meenakari, a luxurious and ancient form of art of India that has been praised since its introduction for the superb designs and combination of colors. It is characterized by vibrant pink strokes on white enamel. A Banarasi saree is also a huge demand of women all over the country; these sarees are finest sarees in India and are known for their gold and silver brocade or zari, fine silk and opulent embroidery.

Being diehard foodies, the best parts of our explorations in Varanasi were the lassi and Litti Chokha. Litti is a type of Indian bread with a filling of sattu (gram flour) and is served with chokha, which is a mixture of mashed potatoes, tomatoes, baked eggplant, and spices. This would certainly thrill your taste buds. You can find this almost everywhere on the streets as well as in restaurants. And then there’s the flavorful Lassi, a sweet and rose scented drink made from curd.

Visiting Banaras is always fun as we can just roam around the beautiful markets which is best known as Banarasi silk sarees, crystal and stone shiva lingas, gulabi meenakari items, glass beads, rudraksha mala, wooden toys and specially flutes and much more. Banaras also houses people from all religions and religious sites. In fact, most of the shopkeepers we interacted with were Muslims. 

True lovers of exploration, as team Khoj, we urge you to visit the holy ghats of Banaras and paint yourself in the colors of Banaras!

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