Varanasi, the eternal city as it is called had different meaning to me being a flier. Mostly we used to land at Varanasi for refueling which used to be quite quick. the very good Samosa's which the Airport Canteen served was an added bonus. Ofcourse we used to land during Mango season for the "Dusseri" mangoes as it used to be cheap and tastier.
So it was one of those VIP trips and we have to spend a day extra. Myself and my senior colleague Sainani went to visit the famous Shiv temple and were utterly disappointing at the dirtiness all around.But to me the most blood boiling thing was the presence of Gyan vapi Mosque inside the sanctum of the holy Shiv temple. and most of the Idols were lying in a disorganized manner nearby. I failed to understand the adamant attitude of the Muslims of this holy city who should have handed the Mosque to the temple authorities long time ago. When an Indian Christian like me felt so agitated, I could understand the feeling of ordinary Hindus from all over India who are visiting the temple complex due to interior tourism. In fact BJP should preserve this anachronism as it must be fodder for its growth.Now with Modi standing from this place, many workers visiting this temple city will become BJP's loyal supporters.
Myself and Sainani then visited the surrounding bazaar which was selling perfumed supari in various colours in very cheap rates.Also snack sold in road side dhabhas were tasty and cheap. Then we entered the ghats and Sainani visited a Panda who told about his ancestors.Then we did a great thing. Hired a local boat which was rowed by a young Muslim boy who took us to a small island in the Holy Ganges. I asked Sainani to take a dip and his sins will be forgiven .He retorted I am confusing 'Kasi" with Varanasi. That was his knowledge and he was thrilled when I told him Kasi and Varanasi were the same. He had a dip and the rowing back was very peaceful in twilight and watching all the ghats. One can easily feel why Varanasi is called the Eternal city, a city which people believe to be may be nearly 5000 years old