Varanasi - The marmite city.
Varanasi Travel Blog› entry 7 of 15 › view all entries
Arrived in hot hot Varanasi at 7.30am, and stayed in the Buddha hotel. Couldn't go any further in as it was an election day, there had been some trouble earlier and all the roads were closed.
I slept a little then met up with 2 guys from Germany in the same hotel and we all walked down to see the Ganga river (ganges). So hot today, I drank 7 litres already! We took a boat ride and saw the burning ghats, bathing ghats and the sunset ceremony. I will never forget the smell of burning bodies on the funeral pyres, doused with sandalwood oil..it's hard to explain and not really even an awful smell... just sweet and acrid.....still haunts me in my dreams.
It was a huge shock to me to see people bathing in the water while shrouded bodies were being dipped and bathed.
The streets are packed at night, combined with the heat it was a little manic. On my first day I did not feel happy or comfortable in Varanasi at all - I think the shock of it all hit me with the heat and I had an urging temptation to get back to the train station to get out that same day. Got woken up the following morning at 6am by the craziest sound I have ever heard! All I could hear was very loud terrible music. Turns out that they have sunrise ceremonies, where they drag a huge loud speaker throught the streets, with a large procession of people following it. People get up, and follow it round the city!
Spent the day in the heart of Varanasi, walked the length of all the Ghats from the bridge right down to the museum. Saw the Durga temple, and many others. Varanasi or Banares as they call it has over 3,000 shrines and small temples! Went to see the Golden Temple which was amazing.
My veridct? Varanasi - the marmite city - you either love it or hate it. Me? I couldn't wait to leave, now I can't wait to go back!