Varanasi’s history dates back to 1400 BC and claims to be one of the oldest living cities in the world. It is also called the “City of Life” (Kashi) and paradoxically it has always been an auspicious place to die, hosting still nowadays numerous people awaiting to their death. It’s the city of Shiva, the destroyer, without whom creation couldn’t occur. And the Ganges, or Great Mother as it is know to Hindus, spreads out life by the flow of its Holy Water. This is why Varanasi’s (Benares) mystic and charm are still alive, since it posses both death and life and it has always been the place to pilgrim if you are newborn, adult or about to die.
There are different areas in town where hotels and restaurants concentrate but it is by the Ghats where the holy atmosphere of Varanasi can be breath. This part of the city is amazing. Something that provides an older, quieter and cosier aspect to it, is the total absence of 3 and 4 wheelers beyond one point. From there on, only bikes and people can fit in the colourful labyrinth of alleys which is Godaulia, the old town. This is the best place to stay for backpackers, very cheap and full of travellers. Time stops in Varanasi and it doesn’t matter if it has been hours, days or weeks what you have been spending there, the Ghats are simply magic and will always enchant you. Life and Death occur by the western side of the Ganges and the ghats are a constant flow of people willing to wash away all their sins in the river. Varanasi has been to us a great and delightful experience, like if we were inside a bubble and time would have stopped.