I have seen a few galis and have visited all the ghats on the banks of Gangaji from Assi to Adi Keshav. I have seen the major temples of Banaras and parts of at least one university: Banaras Hindu University. I can make a list of all the places I have seen. Yes! I can actually count the temples and kund/ponds and ghats and places I have been to and seen in my city. That proves that I have not seen most of it. I have read the names and locations of hundreds of temples in the city: the temples that I had neither heard of before reading their name nor have ever seen. I’m sure that I will not be visiting many of them in near future.
My yearning for an age in which Kashi had ponds and lakes of various sizes throughout its breadth began after seeing Prinsep’s map and reading about it in Diana L. Eck’s wonderful book on the city. Many of the major kunds of Prinseps’ map drawn in the first half of the nineteenth century are extinct now. Out of those that have survived man’s lust for land, there are many kunds I have not seen. Paapmochan, Rinmochan, Dhanesh, Kapildhara, Laxmi Kund, Ram Kund, Moti Jheel, Ishwargangi etc. are the few that I want to visit (if they still exist, especially the first three) the next time I get a chance to be there.
I don’t have adequate knowledge of most of the ghats of Kashi and the galis arising from there. I have not seen in detail and in a leisurely, strolling manner, most of the major galis that have their own name. I had been to Man Mandir Observatory once. I could not understand what those strange and huge instruments on the roof top were for. I can revisit the place and try to find that article by Pandit Bapu Dev Shastri that Rev. Sherring had mentioned in his book.
Since they prohibited mobile phones etc. from the core of Kashi Vishwanathe Temple, I have never entered the gali that passes from the front of Annapurna and Vishwanath Temples. I resent my inability to do so. I hate it specially strongly whenever I remember my good old days: the time when I used to pass the zone on my bicycle! I also remember having taken my bicycle across the narrow passageway leading to Gyaan Vaapi right behind Baba’s temple. And then there’s the totally unexplored chunk of the map lying between The road joining Cantt with Raj Ghat and that joining Maidagin with Raj Ghat. Kashi longa, vita brevis.
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