The Ashokan column was also located here and dates from the 3rd century BC to 12th century AD. It consists of four twenty spoked wheels with four animals (elephant, bull, horse, lion). The animals are thought to represent four stages ofBuddha’s life. The non-religious interpretation is an enlightened rule over four directions.
I was touched by the passion and devotion of the Buddhist and Hindu pilgrims. You could see it in their faces and actions as the joy and spirituality filled them. The views of the ghats during sunrise and sunset was unforgettable. But, Varanasi was also a very tough city to visit. The level of pollution and dust was among the worst I’d ever experienced (I’ve been to some very polluted cities too). The animals were rampant in the streets and even on the steps of the Banaras Ghats. It was interesting to see these two aspects next to each other. Of course I’m still glad I had this experience.
Note: At most Indian tourist and cultural sites, you will see an “Indian National” price and a “Foreigner” price. Inevitably the “Foreigner” price is several times higher though still reasonable.