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Spiritual capital where ancient and modern India meet in breathtaking ways.

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Varanasi, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world, is a spiritual and cultural hub on the banks of the sacred Ganges River in India. Its famed Ganga Aarti, a ritual of light and sound, is a mesmerising spectacle that draws pilgrims and tourists alike.

As dusk falls, the ghats of Varanasi come alive with the ethereal glow of countless lamps and the melodious chants of priests. The Ganga Aarti, performed daily, is a deeply symbolic ceremony that pays homage to the river goddess Ganga.

Devotees and visitors gather along the riverbanks to witness the enchanting ritual, where priests sway in rhythm to hymns, offer prayers, and circulate incense and lamps in intricate patterns.

How is it?

Everything about this city spells spirituality in all seasons. Referred to as the ‘spiritual capital’ of India, Varanasi, also known as Banaras and Kashi, is a city beautifully located on the banks of the holy river Ganga, is considered as the holiest of the seven sacred (Sapta Puri) in Hinduism and also Jainism, along with being a significant place of activities during the development of Buddhism. It is one of the cities that are believed to grant moksha (salvation/liberation).

Every corner of this ancient town throbs with ancient stories.

You will be wandering on the streets of a city that, based on not only mythological stories but all the archaeological evidence, is among the world’s oldest continually inhabited cities.

You will probably be treading the same paths that were trodden by some of the best minds that lived in this part of the country — Adi Shankara, Gautama, Tulsidas, Kabir, Ravidas and Guru Nanak among other historical figures. The city was even made a state by the British in 1910.

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The ghats and the temples in Varanasi have been some of the most interesting subjects of photography. And why wouldn’t you be in a place of which Mark Twain had once said, “Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.”

The fascinating conundrum of earthly details leading to an unearthly experience will become more visceral when you see the aarti in the evenings when thousands of lamps are lit and set afloat on the Ganga River, the warmth of their light flowing in your veins as they float away calmly.

Varanasi might be the perfect place where you are looking for if you long to listen to stories more conscientiously than wondering about structuring your own.