Agra and Benares: confluence of history, heritage, religion

“The Taj Mahal is phenomenal not in the beauty alone, which shines forth, but in the deep planning design and thought that went into its making, and also the ethereal idea of immortalizing love. Delicate carvings in marble vie with gorgeous pietra dura for one’s attention. Lapiz, Lazuli, Emerald, Carnation, Mother of pearl and Agate are inlayed in floral and geometrical patterns in the marble itself.

“This enchanting mausoleum built on the bank of river Yamuna began in 1631 and took 22 years to complete by an estimated 20000 workers.” This is how the official UP tourism website depicts Taj Mahal.

Agra, the home of Taj Mahal, is also famous for its fabulous handicrafts that are made of marble and softstone inlay work. You can also get in Agra fine leather products, brassware, carpets, jewelry and exquisite embroidery work. You can carry a Taj replica as a treasured memory.

The city is also renowned for its sweets ‘gazak’ and ‘petha’. The city’s main shopping areas are Kinari Bazar, Sadar Bazar, Raja-ki-Mandi and the Taj Mahal Complex. Prefer shopping at the Government Emporia or authentic Souvenir Shops.

For religious minded, Varanasi, Kashi, Banaras or Benares is a must-visit destination. Silk weaving is the most popular art of Varanasi. Banarasi silk sarees are an indispensable part of a bride’s trousseau. Besides the gold and silver brocades and richly worked sarees, you may look for brassware, copperware, antique designs of heavy gold jewellery and wooden and clay toys in Varanasi.

The shopping hotspots in the city are are Chowk, Gyan Vapi, Thatheri Bazar, Lahurabir, Vishwanath Gali, Godoulia and Golghar. One can also buy shawls, carpets, Zari work, lampshades and wall hangings that make a good gift. However, one should be watchful while buying them. See to it that you get the authentic silk sarees at the right price.

One thought on “Agra and Benares: confluence of history, heritage, religion

Leave a Reply