By Deepak Solanki, Volunteer, Indore Chapter

“The Regional Volunteer Exchange to Varanasi was a lifetime opportunity for me. One of the most ancient cities in the world, Banaras, does full justice to the title of being the Spiritual Capital of the country. Visit to the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Sankatmochan Temple, residence of Goswami Tulsidas, Parshwanath temple and witnessing the Ganga Aarti were out of the world experiences which cannot be described in words. These places truly make one feel directly connected to the almighty. Boating in Ganga and the best view of the beautiful sunrise were the most peaceful experience I could ever have on the exchange. Shopping of Banarasi Saree and learning how it is woven, visiting the Carpet factory in Bhadohi and the Trade Facilitation Centre gave us the most detailed knowledge on the handicraft and the traditional knowledge of people of Banaras. The museum at the Trade Facilitation Centre was one of its own kinds which gave us a mythological, spiritual, historical and cultural tour of Banaras in the most beautiful way. The Chunargarh (Chunar Fort) was another splendid place to be visited which holds a rich mythological and historical significance.

This exchange was not only a golden opportunity for me to learn more about Banaras, its culture and history but it was also an opportunity for spiritual engagement, enlightenment and self-realization. Be it visiting different religious and cultural sites or trying the different dishes or be it the ever welcoming people in the locality, it was all a lifetime experience for me. It is truly said that Banaras has some aura that holds you back and makes you stay there and that I realized, while leaving Varanasi. This exchange not only gave me a wonderful experience of different places in Varanasi but it has also blessed me with beautiful people in my life whom I now call as a family. I would really like to thank Sunbeam School Lahartara and the entire team for hosting us and making our stay very comfortable and memorable. I would also like to thank all the fellow volunteers for being a great support system.”