Harper's Bazaar March 2016 - Page 288

ESCAPE Bazaar KALYANI SAHA CHAWLA: BENARAS I was visiting friends in Allahabad a few years ago, and drove out of the city to Benaras to catch the last flight home. En route, I realised the Kashi Vishwanath Temple was in Benaras and asked the driver to make a quick stop before the airport. The bustle of hundreds of devotees, who had come from every corner of India, by all conceivable means of transport, infants in tow and faith in their heart, was beyond humbling. I felt I was enveloped in something strong. I missed my flight, but in return I experienced Benaras, which now has a magnetic pull of inexplicable power on me. It’s a heady mix of so much that enlightens and heightens one’s senses. For me, it represents life. The spirituality, the creativity of artisan weaves... it’s intoxicating and beckons me back time and again only when it wants to see me. I’m waiting for my next bulava. SANA REZWAN SAIT: BENARAS Founder and creative director, Indelust A travel experience that changed my life was when I was exploring various cities in India to realise my idea for Indelust. But it really hit home when I visited some of the weaving communities in Benaras. It validated what I was trying to do with my business. It definitely propelled my intention to support handloom textiles, revive ancient skills, and, moreover, preserve India’s heritage. (Clockwise from top left) A sadhu at a temple; an aarti ceremony at night; an aarti at dawn over the Ganges River; the ghats along the Ganges; saris at Dasaswamedh Ghat; palaces on the ghats in front of the Ganges River. 288 IMAGES COURTESY MM GETTY; JON HICKS / EYE UBIQUITOUS/MM GETTY VP, marketing and communications, Christian Dior Couture, India