Banaras Varanasi Kashi There’s a lot of debate around which name is the oldest If you ask me from a scientific perspective, because I’m from a science background Then I’d say that just like a child learns to make sounds before speaking whole words at first it’s whispers then familiar sounds that the mother understands instead of complete words in the first go and the same biological concept can be applied to these names and the result is Banaras. Welcome to Lord Shiva’s land, Varanasi. It’s Kartik Poornima today which is considered to be a very auspicious occasion We’ll start our food tour From Pappu Tea Stall. Let’s go. Har Har Mahadev! This has lemon, ginger and Hajmola It’s more of a digestive drink rather than a tea But it’s very refreshing This man is telling us that all of Banaras’ politics starts and ends at this shop This is not some ordinary tea. It is political tea A good start to our day Let’s move on to Banaras’ famous breakfast Kachori, Sabji and Jalebi A 12th century creation of Pandit Damodar Sharma, who was considered to be Gobind Chandra Dev – a god or incarnation of Vishnu Pandit Damodar was considered to be the most prominent teacher of that era a lot of major religious literature was taught by him He wrote such brilliant pieces that can’t be translated to any other language That is true Banarasi If I do some name calling then you’ll think I’m abusing you because you’re getting it in Hindi But I’m speakimg Old banarasi which is called Kaashika. and symbolises love. So ‘Bana’ means ready to serve and ‘ras’ is the juice of life. The day you understand what joy and sorrow are and that they are the same. That is the juice of life. this was defined as Banaras. That city or that area where nobody minds anything Even Shiv is abused on the night of Shivraatri and the same day he’s worshipped as well. This is ‘Ras’ Anubhav: Their style of serving is quite different Anubhav: The poori and the vegatables are served separately Anubhav: Poori is called Kachori here Banaras’ kachori and Channi Devi’s shop they’re very old And her son, Kailash who caters to ourists from all around the country as we as the locals and i think this tradition will continue the rush you’re seeing right now is very less there are about 300-400 people here on the weekends It is said that the owner of this shop, when she passed away the whole city mourned her death Let me tell you, Pandit Madan Mohan Malvi of Kashi University All his students, who are either professors or IAS officers almost half of them come here. and those who are working or retired they used to come for her blessings they even got scolded by her. Anubhav: I’ve heard she abused a lot Anubhav: And people didn’t mind being abused by her. Anubhva: It was also considered a sort of blessing. There’s a local leader Mr. Chanchal he came here around 2 years ago witih his family and children and he asked Channi ji to hurry up and then he was scolded by her at another level. Anubhav: which word did she use the most? mother and sister related abusive words she asked him, your wife is right here do you ask her to hurry up as well so people enjoyed listening to her scolding After BHU The one place you should visit is Channi devi’s shop Anubhav: Yes, these are very nice, small sized Kachoris along with potato and bottle gourd curry Anubhva: and it is said that all Banarasi curries have chickpea in them so there’s chickpea as well Anubhav: What about onion and garlic? no, there’s no onion and garlic Chickpea gives energy and bottle gourd has ayurvedic properties you can eat it everyday Anubhav: It’s very tasty Anubhav: Not too spicy Mildly spiced and full of flavour Anubhav: Chachi is no longer there but her blessings are still there yes, it is perpetual there’s Kailash and his family they still run this place with the same honesty. Professor: Street food emerged in two ways First when the city started developing then those who had economic troubles started this as a side business which is also known as Dhaba Culture Professor: that’s how vendors came and then fast food was accepted as well Now only in the old part of the city can you find the real street food which includes poori kachori, and the curries if a place is selling only one type of vegetable in the curry then that’s not the original. If it is authentic then they’ll serve at least 5 types of vegetables in the curry Chickpea will definitely be there germinated chickpea. Bottle gourd will surely be there mashed potato is added to thicken it. and seaosn’s two green vegetables will also be there. All the vegetables are mixed together and put in the same vessel with some oil and spices then they are slow cooked for some time and that results in our typical Banarasi flavour. Anubhav: Jalebi is eaten in a different way in Banaras It is eaten with Yogurt here. My friend has gone to get some Yogurt and I have the jalebi The yogurt helps digesting all the spicy food that you’ve eaten at night Anubhav: Another reason for having yogurt is because cuts through the sweetness Anubhav: Jalebi is very sweet but the curd balances it. Anubhav: It’s like milk and jalebi Anubhav: Very interesting combination I think Jalebi is eaten this way only in banaras. One of my friends is an IAS, but he’s busy or he would’ve taken you to eat Malaiyo Anubhav: Yes, i tried that yesterday. Malayio is only available in Banaras. Anubhva: I went to Khateli Bazaar Brilliant! then you’ve seen the whole city. Anubhav: We’re now in Ram Nagar There’s a very famous lassi shop here Shiv Prasad Lassi Shop and it is said that former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri was born here. Although there is a controversy whether he was born here or in Mughal Sarai But we’ll try the famous lassi here Anubhav: After travelling for almost an hour I’ve come here from Channi Devi’s just to try this lassi The shop is 72 years old And you can’t find this kind of lassi anywhere else in Banaras. Let’s taste it. and see what’s so special about this. Anubhav: The best part about this lassi is there’s no water or ice only curd sugar, milk and milk solids amazing if you ask me then i think the milk is slighlty burnt to give a distinct flavour it tastes amazing the flavour is very good and the kulhadh just adds to the experience Anubhav: I’ve come specially from Delhi to try this lassi Anubhav: and travelled for1.5 hours from Lanka Actually today is a very special day It’s the night of full moon so the whole of varanasi will be jammed. It’s still morning but at night It’ll get even more packed Our lassi is absolutely pure nothing else is mixed with it. Anubhav: Just yogurt? yes yogurt, sugar cream and milk solids Professor: the style of banaras that we’ve learned from our elders it’s very spontaneous and sudden suddenly you’ll abuse the person and then immediately be friendly also no clash outsiders find this very weird that at one point you’re angry and then you’re not This is the banarasi style this is called ‘akhadhpan’ Banarasis have two characteristics The first is Akhadhpan for example if you request something and the repsonse is “why should I?” and after two minutes you have paan together and happily oblige. this is Akhadhapan spontaneity is a part of life The second characteristic is Phakadhpan that means no botheration about anything someone’s going or coming, doesn’t matter they never care whether you’re taking photos or not they don’t care about their attore or the place their at This is Phakadhpan. No care for the materialistic world but just pure enjoyment We’ve come to Sigra for lunch we’ll try Baati-Choka here The preparation of litti is going on here there’s the dough and the stuffing that goes in the litti It’s called sattu the masala consists of onion, garlic, chilli pickle and after making it after filling it it is roasted over here Baati-Choka. It’s called Batti, Litti and Bhauri as well. Anubhav: In which places is it called Bhauri? Anubhav: What about U.P. and Banaras? In Banaras it’s called Baati and Litti in Bihar Anubhva: but they’re all the same. Anubhav: Sattu on the inside and and Chickpea with potatoes The breakfast in morning is of Kachori and Jalebi while lunch is Baati and Chokha Anubhav: oh okay and Rabri- malai is for the evenings Eat that. And have some Paan and Thandai later to get the complete Banarasi experience people and eat and then sleep ‘Akhadhpana’ is prevalent here Anubhva: Akhadhpan and Phakadhpan Yes, there’s phakadhpan too the amount of fun people have here is like no other place. Anubhva: This is Litti which is filled with Sattu, Onion and garlic Anubhav: Along with potato and brinjal curry onion, chutney and green chilli. Let’s try it Anubhav: Are you from here or Bihar? Bihar. Anubhav: Where in Bihar? Tehri. Anubhav: Since when have you been serving Litti here? 16 years. Anubhva: Really! Anubhav: Basically it’s a a specialty of Bihar only. Anubhva: People of Bihar who migrated herre they brought it here. Professor: That happiness which makes us forget everything else that only comes from Banaras. and one of my teachers, when I asked him how to say this city? he said this city is like a forrest i said, “what do you mean by forrest?” he said it’s a special type of forrest i asked him to elaborate He said, ” My goodness I was just going and and an elephant was passing by and the people were clapping then there was a bull and a dog. But nothing was happening. Everyone was enjoying My goodness! This would never be possible in some other part of the world That’s a lifestyle Sideshow. If you stay for longer, you’ll see the sideshow as well. Not the kind that happens in Mumbai It’s different here When bullfights happen people encourage them instead of separating the bulls everyone enjoys it No money and full entertainment So this is a part of our lifestyle We’ve come to Ravidas Gate At Keshav Tambul Bhandar This is my favorite Paan shop Let’s try Banarsi paan here. we’ll try the Jagannathi paan Although there’s no Paan leaf in Banaras It is imported from other places but the style of making is completely Banarsi. So we’ll try that now Shopkeeper: whatever comes to Banaras becomes Banarasi Anubhav: True The two main things are beauty and cleanliness they’re both taken care of here. no harmful ingredients are added to it. and no chemicals are used. Only Ayurvedic ingredients are used. and everyone enjoys eating it. We tried a lot of street food in Varanasi Now we’re at a Pizzeria in Assi Ghat And we’re going to try their Apple Pie Kaashi has a lot of things that make you want to stay here forever. If someone comes once, he keeps coming back over and over again. You start liking it here. So banaras is a place you don’t feel like leaving from. It’s very simple but good for the stomach. And tasty too. Anubhav: It’s very refreshing Anubhav: I really enjoyed it Anubhva: I’ve never had such a drink before. People have tried to make it at a lot of places but this flavour wasn’t there. We’re making an apple pie for you. try that It’s the most famous dish here and people come here just for the pie from far off This is the famous Apple pie. Anubhav: Topped with Vanilla Ice-cream Yes, we make our Vanilla Ice cream ourself. Try it Anubhav: Oh so you made the ice cream too? yes Anubhav: It’s stuffed with Apple I don’t think I can find such an apple pie anywhere else in India. Amazing Anubhav: It has a beautiful flavour of Cinnamon There’s Star Anise too. Anubhva: What else do you add in it? There’s lemon Sugar That’s all Anubhva: Just these 4 ingredients? But the flavour is so soft and melts in your mouth Dev-Deepawali is an old tradition which originally happened in Haridwar. then people thought so many tourists come here they should be able to see this and that’s how it started happening outside the temple Earlier it used to happen at a very small scale. and it stopped during the British era. the last record is of 1913 or 14 after which dev deepawali was stopped. Elephants used to come here, in the water The paintings of this visual are still there in Ram Nagar Fort and it used to be a spectacle all the royals used to come and the elephants dragged the boats Then the credit goes to Rajiv Gandhi who associated it to Tourism and started it again so there are two stories related to Deepawali One, that Lord Ram returned from his exile and therefore in his honour Second story is that it is the beginning of Kartik Chandra and that all our ancestors come to us and we welcome them this way. Shankar Prasad wrote a story in either ’42 or ’47 It’s called Aakaashdeep which tells us about the local traditions That’s when it started. Who are we lighting these diyas for? We’re lighting them for our ancestors And we welcome them while they visit us. And it was thought that they give us their blessings.