Kindly contributed by Piers Moore Ede, author of the new book Kaleidoscope City. Whether he is attending Ramalila -- the city's annual performance of the Ramayana, talking those who work the cremation ghats along the Ganges or simply searching for the best mithai, or sweet, in town, Ede presents a vibrant, kaleidoscopic portrait of contemporary Varanasi.
There are certain cities which offer up their charms immediately: navigation is easy, comfortable accommodation abounds, the right views materialise before one’s camera. Other cities are far less easy. First time visitors find themselves lost in the backstreets, ripped off by touts, unable to reach the city of their expectation.