Varanasi - the most amazing Indian city
Varanasi Travel Blog› entry 7 of 22 › view all entries
We got to Varanasi around noon with a train from Gorakpur (the city close to the Nepali border). In the train station the head police officer stopped us and gave us a map with some tips on places to stay (pointing out his cousin's hotel as the best hotel in the city). He said he is helping us out cuz some tourists disappeared in Varanasi, so we took his advice. We took 2 Rickshas (we were 4 people) and had the first crazy moto Ricksha drive in Varanasi, including going in the opposite lane and bumping into some cars and a cow in the way. After a few days you get used to this Ricksha drives in Varanasi, but the first time is the craziest.
We reached the hotel, somewhere in the middle of the old city, you can only walk to the hotel cuz the streets are too narrow with huge cows in the middle.
The temparature was like hell, 45 degrees celsius, everything stinks, the cowshit is intolerable and the flies are annoying. This is Varanasi. Well not precisely, you have to add to that the garbage in the streets, the sick dogs that you are afraid of them that they might attack you when you pass next to them, and ofcourse the huge cows going everywhere there.
Early in the next morning we went to see the sunrise on the Gangas (took a boat ride) and we saw also the beautiful Ghats and ofcourse the burning one. It was less exciting than the one in Nepal (see my review about Pashupatinath) but it was a good experience. Especially watching the old people standing in the balconies of the building next to the burning area waiting for their time to come. It's amazing to think about all the old people in India who travel to Varanasi and just wait to die so they will be burned on the river which is the holiest river and helps the soul to get to heaven.
Later during the day (and the following couple of days) we wandered around town, having fun with the people, laughing a lot, playing cricket with kids in the streets (between cows and shit), avoiding the diseased dogs, taking Ricksha rides just for fun, and enjoying the spirit of the city.
I have to say something about Varanasi. I think this city is the most amazing City in India (well at least from the ones I've been to). People say it's dirty, it's ugly, it's full of shit and sick people, dogs and cows. But I think that this is what makes it so amazing. It's a true cultural city, where you can really feel the people and the indian culture at it's best. It's very holy there, and you can enjoy your time there as long as you take it easy and don't get excited over the filth in the streets. And if the filth is too much for you, just take an hotel outside of the old city, which is a bit cleaner (but with cars).
Overall, Varanasi is much cleaner and arranged than the average african city, so if you've been to Africa, Varanasi is kids play for you. And again - this city is a must!!!