Known as the spiritual capital of India, the river Ganges is the life line of this famous city renowned for its religious significance and abundance of temples. A destination for learning and faith, this is the place where life and death come together and where 60,000 Hindus descend on the ghats every day to dip in the holy water.
Start your first day with a two-hour yoga class conducted by master Sunil Kumar at the Yoga Center. A unique method which is a blend of hatha, lyengar, pranayam and ashtanga, he teaches classes for beginners and advanced students.
Afterwards walk down to the Ganges to soak up the unique cultural and religious spectacle where you will find people praying, bathing and washing clothes in the water, children flying kites and playing cricket and cows wandering around.
Once night falls it is time to enjoy the nightly ‘Sandhya’ ritual that takes place at sunset at Dasashwamedh Ghat. Arrive 30 minutes early to ensure a good spot to watch the mesmerising religious acts where priests swing pots of incense and brass lamps with burning oil, all of which is accompanied by haunting live music.
Arise at 5.30 AM for an hour long sunrise cruise along the Ganges. Watch the world unveiled through an early morning mist as pilgrims descend on the Ghats to perform purja in the holy water. The trip culminates at the burning Ghat where bodies are cremated and the remains are deposited into the water. A deeply moving experience.
Once you arrive back (and after a quick snooze if necessary), it’s time to enjoy breakfast at the Brown Bread Bakery. Known for their social and environmental principles, their extensive buffet breakfast is famous for its use of organic produce and vast selection of cheeses. You will also be enticed back to sample their delectable cakes and slices.
Afterwards, you can explore their shop where they sell clothing, artwork and jewelery made by a woman’s empowerment group.
It is then time to take to the narrow alleyways that spread out from the river’s edge. A hive of activity, there are shops aplenty for the serious shopper.
After an early start and a busy day, finish up your day soaking up the chilled out vibe at Lotus Lounge that has a terrace that overlooks Mansarowar Ghat.
In the morning, a visit to Sarnath beckons. This crop of temples situated on gorgeous park land 13km outside of the city is famous for being the location of where the Buddhist Sangha came to be with the enlightenment of Kondanna.
After lunch it is time to visit the Durga Temple (also known as the Monkey Temple). Built in the 18th century, it is dedicated to the Goddess Durga and is visited by thousands of Hindus.
In the afternoon visit the Blue Lassi shop for arguably the best lassi you will have in the whole of India.
Video Source: milosh9k via YouTube