The New Kasi Circuit 4

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By the time we reach Godowlia, having started at Raj Ghat at around eight, it will be nearly half past ten and the sun has started becoming hot. There will be a long pause here because the belly must be grumbling and rumbling after such a long walk and only two cups of tea and some toast. Although Kachori Gali would have been an equally good option, the first timers may need to ask for directions to reach the exact location where the jalebi and paratha shops are. So, it has to be Kesari‘s dosa or idli. Let’s forget everything about future, and indulge our taste buds. To reach the restaurant one has to enter Dashashwamedh Road from Godowlia side and walk up to the first gali to the left. There are some who call this joint the best South Indian Food Restaurant in Kasi. Once the stomach is full, we have to make a very important decision: gali  or road?

If it’s gali, we have to walk straight towards the ghat and take the right turn, just before the steps of the ghat begin. If not, we take the Godowlia Madanpura Road. One of the most interesting galis of Kasi (they are all interesting), the Dashashwamedh-Kedar Ghat gali, is worth experiencing several times. As one enters the gali, there are a sweet shop and an other milk products shop facing each other. Turn left and the journey begins here.

There will be galis to the left and right, but one has to stay on the central gali. Galis to the left lead to the parallel riverside where the ghatscape can be enjoyed at its busiest. Galis to the right open on to Ganesh Mahal and Bengali Tola areas. Turning left is safer than turning right if one wants to reach somewhere. Turning right will take one to Kasi, if there’s no haste or route map: drifting and imbibing unconsciously are the things.

The main gali has shops catering to the needs of the floating population of Kasi: the pilgrims and the tourists. It also has innumerable lodges, internet cafes and shops selling various musical instruments. The sun is overhead now, but the galis are narrow, with high buildings like trees providing shade. Anandvan (forest of bliss) takes another form here, as the botanical is replaced by the architectural. The gali is a transformed forest with houses densely packed in specific localities as trees in groves. Life has a different rhythm here, than that on the roads and colonies of (even) Kasi.

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