Varanasi Again – 59: And the other places we may go

However, if one does not enter the Singh Dwaar, the Lion gate, and turns left, one may proceed through the narrow lanes to a pontoon bridge which leads one to Ramgarh, an 18th century fort built by the rulers of Kashi, the old name for Varanasi. Also, one can find a large open field, if one takes the by-lane which veers off towards the left of this narrow road and heads towards the Allahabad bypass, or Prayagraj bypass as it is called now, where the original foundation stone of the university can still be seen. This by-lane leads to, as mentioned earlier, the Prayagraj bypass which is the hub of several favourite dhabas or roadside eateries, which were frequented by students back in the days.

One name which immediately comes to my mind is Thikana, a favourite dhaba of the students situated a few kilometres from the university campus and serving delicious non-vegetarian mughlai fare. The Prayagraj bypass also leads one to the newly built (newly built in the 90s) bridge over the Ganga which is the route one must take to reach the Ramgarh fort when the river is in spate, and the pontoon bridge has been dismantled.

But wait, all this was long long ago. Today, if one turns left from the Lion gate, one encounters a busy four-lane road, leading up to an extension of the university hospital with the Trauma Centre and other Super specialty wings built in the new swanky campus. The narrow lane leading up to the river and the pontoon bridge is gone now, and with the disappearance of the narrow lane, that house has also disappeared where we lived, on rent, after our marriage; the modest two-room accommodation where life started. But I must stop now, for fear that I may write more than I intend to, spill more than I should, share more than is reasonable….

If one was to take a right turn from the Lion gate, one would drive along the boundary wall of the hospital, along the narrow, crowded road teeming with drug stores, chemist shops, and stores selling surgical consumables. This roads curves along the university boundary, and leads one up to a trisection where one may choose to go straight, towards Nariya, and Hyderabad gate, and faculty accommodation, or one may choose to turn right again, and go towards DLW, the Diesel Locomotive Works campus. If one does not stop at DLW, one can drive straight up to the Varanasi railway station.

But these are not the places that should concern us today, because that day, when Vaishali’s reunion function was due, I did not turn left, I did not turn right, but drove straight through the Lion gate and into the verdant campus of the Banaras Hindu University …..

To be continued…….

Check out these Amazon Bestsellers from the author –

The Battle of Panchavati and Other Stories from Indian Scriptures
Daffodils: A Bouquet of Short Stories

By Divya Narain

Additional Professor in Plastic Surgery, doting father, loving husband, newbie author. Love travel and literature. Love reading religion, politics and history!

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