The Twice-Born by Aatish Taseer

Written by a journalist author who is loved and hated in equal measure by the public, who courts controversies through his written words, the book The Twice-Born by Aatish Taseer is probably last in the series of both his fiction and non-fiction writings inspired by Indian subcontinent.  A book based on my hometown Banaras, the... Continue Reading →

Khele mashane mein Holi

Banaras starts celebrating Holi 6 days before on Rangbhari Ekadashi when Shiva is supposed to come home first time with his consort Parvati post marriage and his followers welcomed them by playing colours with them. And next day Shiva's followers play Holi with ashes at famous cremation grounds of Banaras and this Pandit Channulal Mishra... Continue Reading →

The Tirangi Barfi of Banaras

The fight for Indian Independence was fought at many levels - from the boycott of foreign made clothes, to making salt and by making statement through food. And Banaras (Varanasi) led the way by creating special mithai (sweets) during the Independence movement and the most famous of that is the Tirangi Barfi of Banaras. The... Continue Reading →

Rāmā Kātha – the Rāmāyana story

During my final exams for Masters, Banaras Hindu University hosted a festival of Rāmāyana from other South-east Asian countries; everyday in the evening one country or the other presented a retelling of their version of the story in dance drama format. That was my first initiation to various versions of the epic Rāmāyana - the... Continue Reading →

Our Holi lunch of Banaras

Festivals in India are closely linked with food especially in UP households where there is different menu for each festival. Even though Punjabis, since we lived in Banaras our food habits have been influenced by UP-Bihar traditions and some from the home rituals followed by my maternal Grandmother. In almost all the households of our... Continue Reading →

Banarasi Thali – A Taste of Banaras

Banarasi khana is unique in its taste - very different from its Western UP counterpart or even Punjabi cuisine. Banarasi cuisine over centuries has created its own taste with influence from Bihar and Bengal, even taken inspiration from Muslim rulers and inhabitants. In Banaras, one even finds an Italian pizzeria, a Japanese restaurant or a... Continue Reading →

Khele mashane mein Holi

Holi across the world is largely associated with Krishna, and people flock to Brijbhoomi to witness the festivities. Even the songs or paintings that celebrate this colourful festival centers around this playful God. But in the city of Shiva - Banaras (Kashi or Varanasi), Rangbhari Ekadashi marks the beginning of the festival six days before... Continue Reading →

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