The New Kasi Circuit 3

Returning from Raj Ghat, when the sun is already overhead, is best done through the dense network of galis. The best place to enter the network is around Teliyanala or Rani Ghat. As one has walked the whole riverfront, the first stage of knowing the terrain is complete. Kasi, as I know it, is the densely populated area around Gangaji almost the whole of it between Assi and Varuna. Knowing the base of the city, i.e. the ghats is the logical first step to knowing the way through the city then.

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Taking the curved line of Gangaji bounded by the ghats as the base and the city radiating from it, a kind of parallelogram comes to mind. There are veins of the galis joining various parts of the city. One needs to learn drifting in the galis in order to enjoy the city. An early exposure would be a good idea.

So, some time after entering the system at, say Rani Ghat, one may lose one’s sense of direction completely. The rule to be followed, if one wants to know and enjoy the galis is: “Thou shalt not ask for directions“. One may always turn towards Gangaji and walk the ghatscape to reach one’s destination, if there’s a hurry. There’s no need to panic if one has lost way, as the way is there, only the person is lost. So, one must enjoy the pakki mahaal and try to keep to the left whenever a parting comes, but also remember to leave the way to the extreme left, as it leads to Gangaji. The first time round, there are chances of one’s finally emerging on the main road somewhere between Macchodari and Kotwali. It’s a huge success if one succeeds in reaching there, because from there one enters another river of Kasi both metaphorically and historico-literally. A few drifters may actually reach the stretch of the main road between Bulanala and Godowlia.

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The famous Kasiphile and Kasilogist Professor Eck tells in her interesting book on Kasi that once upon a time, during heavy monsoons, Macchodari talao used to carry the water of Gangaji and Varuna to Beniya talao, and from there to Godavari nullah that emptied into Gangaji near Dashashwamedh Ghat. This river that one has entered near Macchodari probably takes the same route to reach the modern Beniya Bagh, Girjaghar and Godowlia. The Bulanala, Bansphatak Road meets the old water course perpendicularly at the crossing shown below.

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