Varanasi, Banaras, Kashi (City of light) is the city with many names and mystical stories. The city is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world.
After the marriage of Shiva and Parvati, daughter of the Himalayas, Shiva had to look for a suitable place for the two. He chose Varanasi with its many gardens, temples and palaces.
Kashi is still Shiva's city today. Thousands of Shiva temples can be found in Varanasi. It is said that this city is the most original place, created by Shiva and Parvati from the beginning of time, when no other place ever existed. The place where the whole creation was born and to which it will return at the end of time. The place where Shiva Lingam was put on earth for the first time, as a symbol of higher consciousness.
Shiva, like his city of Varanasi, is a combination of opposites that make his unpredictable. He has no riches, no family, nothing of worldly values that would distinguish him. At times, he represents himself as the terrible, and then again the auspicious, the gentle one. He destroys and he creates and he wounds and he heals.
Prior to her marriage, Parvati was advised against marriage to Shiva. She should choose dear Vishnu, a more suitable bridegroom, because Shiva would be too ugly to live by her side. Then she taught a doctrine to every doubter, saying that Shiva was without precious attributes of this world. Why? Because Shiva is Brahma that transcends higher consciousness, and the whole Maya (the world how we perceive it). The embellishments and decorations of this world are not to be found in him, because he is above what is generally called beauty and bliss.
Shiva transcends conventional ideas and classifications into good and evil. He is not classified in any caste, neither in the Brahmins who pass on the traditions, since the Vedas do not recognize him as such. Nor does he belong to the warrior caste of the Kshatriyas as he enjoys the destruction of the world and the Kshatriyas save the world from destruction. And he can not be a Vaishya (Krishna follower) because he does not know wealth. He is not a shudra (craftsman, servant). In addition, he is ageless. So he stands above all varnas (casts) and ashramas (the stages of life).
Everything is assigned to its original source, the prakriti (the basic constitution), but Shiva has no prakriti. He is not a man because half of his body is a woman. He is not a woman because he wears a beard. He is without beginning and age. Shiva can not be classified in any way. He can not even be assigned by gender since Shiva is half Shakti, his feminine energy.
All these stories still stand out today from the high towers of the ghats of Varanasi and when one deals with Shiva, one also deals automatically with Varanasi. Because this city is a reflection of Shiva. There may not be a city that can underline our own mood like Varanasi. For some, this can be an exhilaration and a confrontation with one's ego, which is constantly being remembered here. As we stroll along the shore through the old city, or flow along the slow river stream of the Ganges by boat, we feel transported back to a different time. Varanasi is the only place where the Ganges flows from south to north, representing the ascending Kundalini. Every sadhana, every yogic practice is of particular importance here.
In Varanasi we will discover Indian classical music. Through Yogasubmarine's contacts with the best musicians in the city, we enjoy Kathak dance and concerts with sitar and tabla.
Varanasi is too extreme to be easy. Varanasi is the encounter with the stranger, a challenge for the senses and an inexorable invitation to wonder.
Different moods at different times of the day at the Ghats of Varanasi.
The total length of the Ghats stretches over 5 km.
Long stairways connect the city to the holy river.
The stairs are therefore a place of pilgrimage on which rituals are performed.
Modern meets tradition
Sightseeing absolute insider places
Oldest Aarti in the world in the ganges
Cleansing Ganges bath on the river bank
Oldest city in the world