8 Reasons to love India's happiest & hippiest city

  • Varanasi by the day Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.

    – Mark Twain

    Kashi, as it was called in the days of yore, is the cradle of Indian Vedic culture. It is the oldest living city of India and as Mark Twain puts it, it is older than time. There's a whole lot of folklore associated with Varanasi - how it it was formed by Lord Shiva and how it became an important place in Mahabharata. Today, it still retains its old-world charm and the past is very much present. Varanasi is a melodious cacophony of its historical fragments and contemporary existence. There’s some enigmatic beauty in its chaos, which you may explore by taking a flight ticket down to Varanasi. It has emerged as India's happiest and hippiest city. 

    I am Varanasi, I am older than time

    Ghats of Varanasi

    Everyone washes their sins here. Even the 200-year-old sunken Shiva temple

    A sunken temple

    Sarnath, where Gautam Buddha gave his first sermon

    Sarnath, Varanasi

    The Saadhus seem to have frozen with time as well

    Saadhus of Varanasi

    The sacred Ganga Aarti is extremely musical and soulful

    Ganga Aarti at Varanasi

    Fruit lassi, pizza like dosa, pan, chaat and kullad wali chai - Benarasis treat their bellies well

    Yummy street food of Varanasi

    That's what Varanasi is about, leaving your own mark on time. Graffiti by yours truly!

    Ganesha, the elephant God

    Colours and cacophony go hand-in-hand here

    Colours of Varanasi

    Author: Winnie Karnik