Its an experience which cannot be quiet explained. The noise, the jostling crowds and the wandering cattle, the narrow lanes with its colorful shops, the temples and the devotees, the foods…….There was a time when I used to make one and often two trips to Varanasi every year. Although my work took me to the pristine campus of Benares Hindu University, I never failed to find a couple of hours to wander through the lanes around the Lord Vishwanath temple. For me the darshan was never the primary objective of these trips – but the color and variety of the stores, the buzz of life in the galis was what attracted me. Even as one could see the changes that time brings within BHU, most of these seemed to have bypassed these galis.
While trying to organize old photos on my hard disk, I came across these from one of those visits – taken in early 2003.
I would love to go back – and while there cell phones and other technology would have reached these lanes, I’m sure that even today not very much would have changed.