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A city steeped in ancient history. A place of prayer and peace. In Varanasi, each nook and cranny, each narrow passage, each riverfront step that leads to the bank of the sacred Ganges river, tells a story. It is where time slows down and its dwellers and visitors alike are taken by its old-world charm. It is where people come to find respite from the affairs of everyday life.

In the winter, a gentle chill permeates the air. The river is enshrouded in a delicate veil of mist. In the wee hours of the morning, solitary figures emerge onto the ghats, draped in the warm and comforting embrace of a woolen shawl or a quilt taken straight from bed. The makeshift cloaks billow gently in the breeze, as people look upon the tranquil waters and sip their chai.

Not far from the shore, in the labyrinth of alleys, tea stalls become oases for travelers and daily wagers who are ready to embark on their day. The aroma of fragrant chai wafts through the lanes, while the sizzle and crackle from the stove- tops of roadside vendors invite passers by to indulge in a local breakfast of kachori-sabzi, chaat, and hot glistening jalebis. Masterfully swirled into spirals of sweetness, they are loaded onto bowls of dried leaves. Each humble stall is a gastronomic hub here where people flock to begin their morning.

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