Birthday in Benaras

When we were planning the U.P and Bihar leg of the ShikshaDaan Yatra, we decided to be in Varanasi on Krishnan’s birthday which is today. We reached Varanasi yesterday from Allahabad… after a 3 km harrowing drive through a narrow lane. More of that in a separate blog.

Krishnan’s birthday celebrations started off with a morning walk to Shri Ram Bhandar, the puri-sabzi-jalebi eatery that Rajeev had insisted we go to. We had been to this store when we visited Varanasi in 2011 and stayed at Hotel Vaibhav. This eatery is in the lane opposite hotel Vivanta by Taj and just google it for the exact address. Its a 200 year old eatery :). For someone who doesn’t like puris and potatoes, I love eating them at this place. We just ate two plates of puri-sabzi and one plate of jalebis between the three of us. The bill was Rs. 77/- .. unbelievable but true.

As we walked down to this place, we passed by the Doordarshan tower. Doordarshan has childhood memories attached to it so I had to take a picture. Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram indeed.

Please reduce the timing shown on the pics by 2 hours.. the camera chose a different time zone for some reason.

We also saw a quaint “red” church.

On our way back to the hotel, we caught sight of this sugarcane vendor who had smartly converted an auto rickshaw as a mobile sugarcane juice shop.

And then this tried and tested, inexpensive cold storage facility for milk :):).

Jute gunny bags soaked in water and tied around the milk can – refrigerator on the move.

What was heartening was to see the efforts to keep Varanasi clean. While its not squeaky clean, its far cleaner than the filthy garbage filled city it was in 2011. We also came across 3 public toilets, non-smelly and clean, along the 2 km stretch. So things are changing for the better.

For lunch we went to a restaurant called Shree Shivay. They serve vegetarian thalis… We ordered a mini thali (meant for kids) for Amma and Krishnan and I went for the limited thali because we aren’t big eaters. Mom gave away some of her food even from the mini thali. The food was good, not outstanding but good. Some of the items like the khichadi was outstanding.

We found an interesting auto driver called Sonu who has given us his number and has told us about all the places that we need to visit. He is a hard working guy who says he has a lot of “hunar” (skills) but doesn’t have an education which would have helped him to earn better.

We had planned on seeing the Ganga aarti in the evening today, but the heat during the day was unbearable and we felt lazy to go out again. So the Ganga aarti has to be seen on some other day.

Happy birthday sweetheart ! May Kashi Vishwanath bless you with good health, a long life and all the happiness in the world.

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