Older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together - Mark Twain on Varanasi.
Varanasi also known as Kashi and Benares is a very old, very holy city on the river Ganges. Varanasi is characterised by long flights of stone ghats and a pilgrimage for millions of piligrims.
Even today it reeks ancientness. It has been the destination for all luminaries such as Adi Shankracharya, Kabir and many more.
Varanasi is a surreal experience. Funeral fires ceaselessly burn fed by a steady stream of newly dead and at almost every corner, you shall see the Shivling, Lord Shiva's symbol/idol. Narrow lanes of Varanasi hides many mysteries. These lanes equally belong to the innumerable cows and Bulls as well. Processions of the relatives of just departed one frequently meet your gaze.
Traditionally many old Indians come to Varanasi and wait for their death. Varanasi is a city in your face. After Varanasi no city has the potential to surprise you. Rest of India shall look tame.
Either your will passionately love Varanasi or be absolutely put off by it. Varanasi thrives on extremes.
Take the boat ride on Ganges.
Varanasi if famous for its ghats (chain of steps). Each ghat is marked by a Shiva symbol, lingam. Varanasi has nearly 100+ ghats. Few of them are: