I have been confined to my hotel for the past week or so, venturing out occasionally to visit the city and its religious places. Today was a tour of the famous BHU the university of Banaras where my mother had done her graduation from. I was using a scooter that is what the entire Banaras is full of Scotties, mean and especially women use it extensively for going around town. It is perfect for the city’s small, narrow dusty dirt-filled roads. It can also be zipped around in campy marker places and in peak traffic. It is a fuel-efficient and perfect small city vehicle. People war shit’s checked T-shirts and jeans, some older folks wear trousers and even dhoti’s. But malls are commonplace in the city and most modern urban wear is available to the people of the city. The city I predominantly vegetarian, in Banaras try to eat Panner, Dal tadka, Lassi, Ras -malai and of course milkshakes.
After driving through the main gate of the University which has the huge Statue of its first founder Madan Mohan Malviya, I ventured into the university compound, with Tiwari on his Scottie .” This is the oldest university in India and Chanakya helped build it too, but Malviya Ji was its first Chancellor. The university is very old and still carries the old text of Ramayan written by Ve Vyasa .” Tiwari would in between try and acquaint me with the heritage of the University and a bit about its past. We drove across its many roads which were large and big so it had no suffocating feeling the place, not like in the city. This was a lush green place with old fashioned hostel blocks and since buildings. I could not help but smile when I saw the name of the girl’s hostel it was Called,” Mother Teressa .”
“ Kya Baat hie Mother Teressa, we will have to make a few more rounds of this place .” I laughed and chided Tiwari.
We would often Gert lost in the campus as it is huge and built in a circular format, but finally, find our way. We stopped over near the Shiva Temple built by the Birla’s inside the campus. It is a university hot spot, with book shops, dosa and lassi shops all around. Today they did not have lassi and were serving milkshakes and cold coffee. I decided to dive into a glass and then ventured into the book shop which had a huge collection of Hindi and English books. We walked through near the temple gates were shops selling flowers, images of Ganpati and other Pooja samagri.
The temple was huge and a triangular cone-shaped dome, it was light up by colourful lighting all choreographed to give the ultimate light effect. I did some still photography and walked into the gardens around the Shiva temple. It is frequented by many students and is a place for worship and quiet contemplation.
Banaras has definitely made me a vegetarian and more spiritual it is the essence of the place and the area where I am staying has a lazy contented feel to it. Which suits my nature perfectly as of now. I ventured into a Chines restaurant in the city but was shocked to realize it only served vegetarian. So I ordered the soup and the spring roles both turned out to be disasters. The city still has to get the feel of urban foods and food joints. KFC, Domino’s and MacDonald are the most this city can do as of now. You can try Sagar Ratna they have a few outlets in the city, again that is for vegetarian cuisine. One should try and enjoy the food at the Mithai and Lassi shops which are all over the city. Market place pure vegetarian Dhaba’s can also be good if you need a quick k snack. Overall the city has been hot in the afternoon, and one would prefer to stay indoor’s. But as the winter approaches the evenings have become rather cold.
The city still carries its own mesmerizing charm, a taste of that is in the special Banarasi Paan, something you can only get in this city, the damn thing just melts in the mouth. I am seeing and enjoying many different facets of this ancient holy city.