Some experiences are unforgettable and they leave impressions of a lifetime. It is not necessary for them to be outstanding in the truest aesthetic sense and at times, mundane memories of something that we have experienced, stay with us forever. Those memories or images create Moments; capture our feelings, emotions, vulnerability and awe in such ways, that more than often, we start associating places with them. They are mini stories which when strung together become an experience and there’s no better way to enjoy them, other than through traveling. That’s why I have always considered story telling to be the most important aspect of travel writing and it sure does bring a lot of pleasure to the reader. Otherwise, how can you transport him to a place where he has perhaps never been before; make him see, feel, smell and sense things through your words and lead him to dream or wanderlust for the experience that you are writing about?

Story telling is very powerful and some people are just born with the gift of word wizardry. Verses flow through them turning their work into very compelling reads and exquisite or really awesome experiences help create the word imagery easier. When all of these are combined with mind blowing images, the reader is in for a treat and he can enter the mind of the writer and see things through his eyes. But, sometimes, a few experiences are so surreal or powerful that  even the most strongest art of story telling falls short and when you have an all sensory explosive place like Varanasi, only words do not do any justice. For how can you expertly describe one of the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities in words and not feel inadequate? Varanasi is an impossible to explain emotion, an intense love hate relationship, an awe and everybody has their own slices or stories of the outrageously colourful “City of Life”, Kashi.

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This is my Varanasi

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The incredible holy city as I see it

Needless to say, I too have a bundle of stories and impressions about this incredible place and My Varanasi had been all about hidden niches and exquisite falling light. I had found divinity there at every twist and turn and it is one wildly tangled city. From electrical wires, lanes, traffic, markets, ghats, souls, colours, life and death, everything seems twisted and inexplicably jumbled in Varanasi and the city’s pulsating nucleus of a heart radiates lifeblood into them all. It had been one destination, which had taken me years to make up my mind to visit and I had left Benaras wanting for more. The city had bombarded me into numbness with such intense experiences that today Varanasi is for me is all about “Moments”.

Moments which had bedazzled me, left me speechless, shocked me into understanding the deeper “bigger picture” of life and disgusted me beyond words. All of them are difficult to describe in words and that’s why I have decided to create this series called “My Varanasi”. In the following days, I will be sharing a lot of “My Varanasi” moments in words, captions and images and while, I will try to describe my experiences as much as possible in texts, most of the talking will be done by photographs. Benaras leaves no stone unturned when it comes to shocking its visitors in a most unforgettable way and this summer, let me revive My Varanasi moments as spent in the holy city in the middle of a cold, foggy winter. So come, let me take you for a ride (literally), let me take you to My Varanasi.

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In my eyes

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It is a city of

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Exquisite colours

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Falling light

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And shock

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Highly commercialized and

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Very touristy

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It is holiness personified

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Balanced with

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Old school innocence

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Timeless pace

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Stunning heritage

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And crushing humanity

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Come experience my Varanasi

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And indulge in its unapologetic traditions

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Deep faith

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Culinary delights

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Multicultural explosion of senses

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Come experience life