The rich Banarasi tradition and folklore, is not a mere inscription in stone, it’s an emotion that can be seen and felt. It’s a living legend.
The Banarasi way of life is a life of satisfaction. It’s the state of ultimate santosh (contentment) with whatever little one has. Varanasi-Kashi-Banaras is eternal and so is its rich folklore and fables.
It’s the land where life is a joy ride and death is a celebration. It’s a land where the river Ganga reflects the glorious sunrise and dances to the tune of Banarasi Bhairavi and Thumri. It’s the land of rich handloom, a land which gave India its literary heritage.
It’s the land where little joys of life are present in abundance and tears of sorrow ashed away in the holy water of river Ganga. It’s a place where paan becomes a piece of culinary art. It’s a place where having seen enough is never enough. It’s mystical, it’s the land of eternal bliss, where every day is a new discovery
Considered to be the oldest living city in the world,older than the oldest, Banaras exudes the energy of a child.
As Dr. Bhanu Shanker Mehta beautifully introduces Banaras, “Every particle and pebble (called Paras and Shiva respectively) of this city welcomes you. Here, every drum reverberates with the sacred mantra, Atithi Devo Bhava (guest is god).”
The city with many facets of life, is known by various names, each name rooted in a history of its own.
Popularly known as Kashi, the one that enlightens, it’s a luminous city where people flock from all over the world for spiritual enlightenment.
One of the Jataka-tales of Buddhists, refers to the city as Sudarshana— the good looking, and preaches the philosophy, “may your eyes see only the good”. The tales also call it Surandhana— the well protected one, a city where God protects you from all the sorrows and sufferings of the world.
Another name for Banaras is Pushpavati, the city of flowers. This name carries with itself the spectacular beauty of Banaras in spring. It’s a carnival of nature, where the guests are welcomed with Chaiti, a splendid bed of roses.
It’s the Avimukta Dham, a place that Lord Shiva (lord of the universe) never forsakes. As the legend goes, Banaras is situated on the trident of Lord Shiva and is different from all the three worlds.
It is known as Ramma Nagar by the Jataka tales, a city where everything is charming and surrounded by merriment.
The famous poet Bedhab-Banarasi once said,
“I will not leave Varanasi where you get Langra mangoes when alive, and Ganga water after death.”