Varanasi – A Spiritual Sojourn

Aleta Fimbres 03/09/2016

Varanasi, also known as Benaras or Kashi, is quite possibly the spiritual capital of India. It is the holiest of the Sapta Puri, or seven sacred cities, of both Hinduism and Jainism, and it also played a pivotal role in the development of Buddhism. The city dates back to the 11th century B.C.E., and has always been a muse for artists, writers and photographers alike. Varanasi lives in its ghats and winding bylanes, which were reputedly designed to be very narrow to prevent invasions. Take a walk through lanes like Dal Mandi, Vishwanath Galli and Manikarnika Galli to the ghats on the riverfront and check out some of the best places to see in Varanasi.

The spiritual journey that you can embark on in a visit to Benaras can be hard to describe in words. Wake up at the crack of dawn and head down to the ghats to go on a boat ride on the Ganga River. Watch the skies turn from pink to golden as your mind is rid of the clutter & chaos of daily life. Witness the city welcome a new day, bathe in the waters of the holiest river in the land, pray, and meditate on the steps leading down to the river. Hotels near the Ganges can be found but the Nadesar Palace, which is situated on the banks of the river Ganges, is the city’s crowning glory and one of the most striking Taj hotels.

Since 1835, the palace has hosted myriad figures of royalty as well as statesmen and celebrities. It is a tribute to Goddess Nadesari, which is why it is her namesake and has a shrine dedicated to her in the front of the Palace. The aura of spirituality that surrounds the Palace is further reinforced by the fact that it nestled among verdant gardens, mango orchards, and marigold and jasmine fields. Find peace and tranquility in this sanctuary.

The ten luxurious suites at the Palace are for art connoisseurs and enthusiasts. Works of art from the Maharaja’s personal collection adorn the walls. Embellished with original pieces of furniture, the décor of the rooms reflect the design and spirit, the hues of the marigolds, jasmines, and lotuses that are offered to the holy Ganges.

Also featured among the top 5 star hotels in Varanasi is The Gateway Hotel, nestled amidst 40 acres of lush gardens. It is also located just 6 km from the commercial hub of Vanarasi, also known as The Chowk. The spacious rooms complemented by efficient service makes it one of the best hotels for business and leisure.

Food at the Nadesar Palace is delightful and begins with breakfast on the sun-kissed veranda followed by an exquisite plated meal for lunch and a poolside barbeque at dinner. Serving up authentic Indian cuisine, Varuna at The Gateway is one of the best fine dining restaurants in Varanasi. The Satvik Thali has been at the epicenter of cuisine culture in the city, giving delighted patrons a reason to keep coming back for more.

Complete with meeting spaces & event venues, 5 star amenities & a friendly staff, the Taj also has a top notch reward programme – Taj InnerCircle. In addition to the inner circle, Taj offers hotel credits for spends on dining, Business center, laundry, etc., at all Taj Hotels in India including Taj Safaris & all Taj International Hotels on bookings made till 15th October, 2016. If you wish to stay a bit longer, you can extend your stay with a complimentary night! For a three day stay, avail a complementary third night & for a four day stay, avail a complementary fourth night. You can even club two complimentary nights for a consecutive six or eight night stay.

 

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