I’ve just come back from home or have gone away from it. It’s true that Amitav Ghosh has already given a lot of space to the problem in his The Shadow Lines but I think that does not give him a copyright over the idea, does it? Moreover, this post is the first after my coming back and a reply to a previous post of mine.
(Omkareshwar Temple, near Macchodari Kund, Varanasi)
In my manifesto post: “Kashi Longa, Vita Brevis”, before I left for the city of my dreams, my city of birth, my hometown Kashi, I had committed to myself that I’d visit certain places and experiences in my city. I had written:
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. … Paapmochan, Rinmochan, Dhanesh, Kapildhara, Laxmi Kund, Ram Kund, Moti Jheel, Ishwargangi etc. are the few [kunds] that I want to visit (if they still exist, especially the first three) the next time I get a chance to be there.
So, I actually went to Ram, Laxmi, Kapalmochan and Kapildhara Kunds, courtesy my friends and guides (as I did not know how to reach three out of the four kunds mentioned above) Mr. R. Vohra and Dr. A. P. Singh. Mr. Vohra performed the duty of Arjuna’s charioteer, Krishna too. He rode the bike and navigated it through the bumpy and difficult terrain that the streets of the city around the two last mentioned kunds are. What’s more, he overcame his visceral and instinctive fear of entering a densely populated Muslim locality, Kazzakpura. He accompanied me as he wouldn’t let his brother go to such a place alone. Had he not been there, I’d have returned without any photographs of the Laat Bhairav. Here’s one:
(Laat Bahirav, near Raj Ghat, Varanasi)
I had also written in that post:
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.
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.
I could not visit most of the ghats and the galis arising from there. It’ll take many more trips and a lot of gali strolling and gazing from many perches. I could reach some of the galis with prominent names viz. Kalika gali, Saraswati Phatak, Tedhi Neem, Badadev etc. And yes, I went to the Man Mandir Observatory and palace twice: once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. I enquired (so naively, to the person handing over the tickets @ Rs. 5 for an Indian) about Pandit Bapu Dev Shastri’s paper but couldn’t find anything about it. There will be an independent post about it. A couple of images are here:
I could not explore the slice of the city between Raj Ghat. Time was limited and the heat would not permit it. The wish, and the intent remains and I’ll return to that work in the months of winter sometime.
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