Benarasi Masti - Culture and Lifestyle. Known as the cultural capital of India, Varanasi is famous for its religious and spiritual lifestyle. One of the most important pilgrimage spots for Jains, Buddhists and especially Hindus, Varanasi is situated on the banks of Holy Ganges, which plays an important role in day-to-day lives of the people of Varanasi. Being the oldest living city, Varanasi has been a mute witness to many great historic upheavals and events.
Mythology reins the city and there are many religious places and
institutions and places of worship throughout the city where people
visit everyday, especially in the mornings and the evenings. On closer
look, one can still find the primitive worship cults that are still in
practice in the city. The religiosity of the region is evident from the
fact that Buddha, Jain Tirthankars, several Shaiva and Vaishnava saints,
Kabir and Tulsi were either born here or were associated with the place
in a significant way and have spent a long time here.
People of Benaras are known for being the exponents of literature,
music, Vedic philosophy, arts, crafts and architecture. Socio-economic
aspects of the city are highly influenced by the Ganges and on most of
the Hindu festivals people can be seen using the bathing Ghats (river
fronts) even before daybreak as an important part of their rituals. In
Varanasi, the atmosphere is relaxed in general and we can see people
chewing the famous 'paan' and chatting in a laid-back manner. That does
not keep Varanasi behind, as is evident from the growing modern
industries in the city. Varanasi is also the most ancient seat of
education in India (Sarva Vidya ki Rajdhani) and Benaras Hindu
University is still famous throughout the world for its scholars. The
city is also a seat for Sanskrit and one can still see the Guru-Shishya
tradition being followed here at certain places.
Several social and religious customs co-exist in the city and the caste
system is still prevalent here. People wear 'Gamcha' (a cotton towel),
as they go bathing in Ganga and drink Thandai (a coolant with milk as
its base), which have become a part of the cultural identity of
traditional ways of Varanasi. Music, drama and entertainment have found
a place in the lives of the people. Its dance traditions and vocal and
instrumental music is highly developed and one can catch the glimpses of
folk drama in the 'Ramlila' organized before Dussehra. Traditional games
and sports include 'Akharas', where wrestling or 'kushti' competitions
are organized. Foreign tourists love to ride horse-driven 'Ekkas' and
cycle rickshaws that are still in use here. Indian medical science of
Ayurveda, yoga and meditation are cherished here since ages.
The culture and lifestyle of Benaras is unique one and is popularly called as Benarasi Masti. Take a plunge into the Benarasi culture and find the difference yourself!
Varanasi : Benarasi Masti