The Reunion XIV: At the Vishwanath Temple

All the Shiva temples across India will have a small furrow like conduit cut out into the floor on one side, which serves to drain out the water or milk or other fluids which are used to wash the ‘lingam’; the ceremony being called ‘abhishek’ or anointing. This conduit runs from the base of the…… Continue reading The Reunion XIV: At the Vishwanath Temple

The Reunion XII: Inside BHU

Later, as we collected our shoes from the shoe stall, Shubhi asked me, ‘Papa, do we have to pay the person who takes care of our shoes?’ ‘No beta,’ I said, ‘The service is free of cost and is rendered voluntarily by the people residing in the temple premises. But as a gesture of good…… Continue reading The Reunion XII: Inside BHU

The Reunion XI: Sankat Mochan Temple

The cavalcade moved on to the next destination on our itinerary – the Sankat Mochan temple. The temple is dedicated to the Vaanara deity or Monkey God from Ramayana, the immortal Hindu epic. He is popular across India as Hanuman or Maruti. His other, lesser known name is Sankat Mochan or ‘trouble shooter’, as Maruti…… Continue reading The Reunion XI: Sankat Mochan Temple

The Reunion X: Durga Kund Temple

We passed Bhelupur and I recognized an old theatre which had now been converted into a shopping arcade. ‘Vijaya was the name,’ I thought. The car sped along the congested roads with the chaotic traffic which had always been so characteristic of Banaras. But no, there was a difference now. The roads were wider, well…… Continue reading The Reunion X: Durga Kund Temple

The Reunion VIII: Dinner and drinks

The evening had turned to night now, cold and young. Liveried waiters moved around with delicious snacks and drinks. The women sat together on sofas around glass-topped tables and chatted. Children ran around the hall, not paying attention to the stares from concerned parents. We, the men, stood within serving distance of the bar and…… Continue reading The Reunion VIII: Dinner and drinks

The Reunion VII: Hotel Surya Kaiser Palace

Hotel Surya Kaiser Palace, the board announced the name as our destination came in sight after the bus turned into a side road. From the road, the hotel looked rather disappointing for we had seen some great pictures of the hotel on the internet and Avinash, our batchmate who had been doing all the local…… Continue reading The Reunion VII: Hotel Surya Kaiser Palace

The Reunion VI: Varanasi, At last!

The long corridor was dark at places and illuminated with naked tube lights at others. The floor was mosaic, sometimes Kota stone, and had been wiped clean with a disinfectant solution. A few cobwebs hung from the roof, in the corners, and the few shuttered window frames which lined the corridor. A strange smell, putrid…… Continue reading The Reunion VI: Varanasi, At last!

The Reunion III: The journey begins!

We filed out, wrapped and packed, lugging our luggage along. It was bitterly cold, and the sun was still not completely out. We stood there near the gate of our house, watching the Traveler sputter to a stop, as the driver, Pappu, opened his door and jumped out. A ‘gamcha’, or cotton towel, was wrapped…… Continue reading The Reunion III: The journey begins!