Were you there when Bismillah Khan
Played shehnai at Viswanath temple
And the strains of Raga Bhairavi
Like incense, pervaded the senses?
Have you walked the narrow alleys
That maze the city like Shiva"s locks
Tiptoed past a burly bull,
Into that melt in mouth betel shop?
Or floated on Ganga in a pleasure boat
Past the ghats on the yonder shore,
Girija Devi singing a thumri
To the last radiance of the setting Sun?
Have you watched a million lamps
Ornament the ghats in gold
Or the worship every evening
Deifying the river of yore?
Development beckons, the mindsets change
Will old Banaras survive the winds of change?
Neighborhoods are giving way to apartments small
Shops are yielding to the glitzy mall.
And yet, the changes are but transient in nature
Benaras is not a mere city but a culture
Rooted in belief and ensconced in heart
The eternal city shall remain eternal.