Visiting Varanasi

Varanasi Travel Blog

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You are not going to believe it but I am in bed, with a big cold and with a huge stomachache! ☺ yes, in January India can be cold and, yes, curry is strong if you are not used to it! ☺ The first day I had some curry and nothing happened to me, so I had curry in my next meal, and curry in the next… voilà! Sick as a dog! Having chicken on the grill with no sauces whatsoever ☺ but I am standing up, so tomorrow we are getting up at 5am to see the sunrise in Ganges river.

This morning we got to Varanasi almost at 9am, 1-½ hours behind scheduled. Lucky the guy who was supposed to meet us up was still waiting for us, as the train station was quite confusing. Tons of people walking up and down with many taxi drivers offering their services, young kids begging for money and others guys trying to see us some stuff… ufff… very confusing! Welcome to Varanasi, I thought to myself!

The guy who picked us up was very friendly and took us to the hotel.
Our tour guide was meeting us up at 2pm, so we had time to rest a little bit and have a light snack in the room. By the way, today I had my first beer in I don’t know how many days! ☺ When I saw alcohol in the In Room Dining Menu, I could not avoid it! I had a nice cold beer from Australia!

At 2pm our guide picked us up and took us to a Buddha Temple. There you find the original symbol of India (four lions). This symbol is stamped everywhere, in their passports, bills, driving licenses… the atmosphere was very interesting as it was full of Buddhist coming from all over the places to visit it.

At the exit you had some souvenir bazaars and we saw a couple of things we liked. You wouldn’t believe the age of the sales people… there was a 6 years old girl and a 10 years old boy! We asked for the price of one figure and he replied with a very firm voice: “500 hundred sir!” shooot! I didn’t expect them to be so expensive, and he just gave me the price of one of them, so we just turned around when we heard: “Excuse me sir, how much do you offer me?” I couldn’t believe it! The boy wouldn’t let us go ☺ Then Silvia replied she would pay 200INR for both figures, and the kid smiled to us saying, go then, I cannot sell them at that price.
We ended up turning around and when we were heading to the car, the kid came to us with both figures in his hands saying: “Sir, sir, 300!”. Silvia told him 250, but then he moved his head to one side and said “then I don’t get anything…” I felt really bad, but we got in the car and we started driving. Stop! Stop! We told the taxi driver, we are buying them! We went to the kid and handed the money to him. You should have seen his smile on his face. This kid gave us the day! ☺

Then our new tour guide took us to the Muslims neighborhood to see how they make all saris. It was quite cool as a representative of a silk cooperative gave us a welcome and took us to different private houses to see how everything was made. What we didn’t know is that at the end they would take as to a room to sell us some stuff.
In the beginning they started saying we didn’t have to buy anything, just look, but then they started to go straight to the point, they wanted to sell us something. First piece was 200 Euros, then 90, until they started to show us some pieces for 10 Euros! Our tour guide was outside, he did not come with us. I guess he was getting a commission… WE WERE NOT INTERESTED! I got quite pissed off, and we left the place.

Our tour guide didn’t say anything and we kept silence too. Then he broke the ice telling us what was next. We were visiting the University… then I asked, is it worthwhile? Isn’t it better to go to the Ghats already? “later, later” he replied. Shit! It took us 30 minutes to get there, and we just drove along the campus for some time. Nothing to see, not interesting at all, and 30 more minutes to get to our final destination! The Ghats!

Ufff… We miss Jagdish and Bhupi! You feel so secure and comfortable with them.
Lucky they are picking us up tomorrow at the Khajuraho airport!

Anyhow we finally got to out final destination, although we had to walk for a while before reaching the Ghats! Shit! That was impressive; I had never seen anything like that. As I said earlier, I visited Stone Town in Zanzibar and was quite impressive but this was just too much! So much poverty, people begging everywhere, tons of sales people trying to sell us stuff, dirt, dirt, and more dirt. And then you get to the river Ganges. Woaw! You must see the photos!

At 6.15 a ceremony takes place right at the edge of the river with 5 or 6 priests guiding it. We got there around 5.45, so we had the chance to get the best seats, right next to the place where the show was taking place.
We were there getting ready, with the cameras on, when one of the priests gave us a big responsibility! ☺ There were around 10 dumbbells hanging and the priest handed us a string to make them sound when he gave us a sign. Shit! ☺

The ceremony was just beautiful, as they played with the background (Ganges river), the boats, flowers and candles floating on the water, and the priests dancing with fire and flowers! And of course the sound of our dumbbells! ☺ I highly recommend you to go to the Ghats with more time to get used to the odors and the situation itself. I read many times that you are never ready to experience it and they were right! Once in a lifetime, but you have to live through it!

We are going back tomorrow at 6am to see the sunrise. Once we finish taking some photos we will be heading back to the hotel for breakfast and then straight to the airport to fly to Khajuraho.
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Varanasi Hotels & Accommodations review
Decent hotel in Varanasi
If you are in Varanasi this hotel is quite close to the center but it is not in the busy side. If you are coming in January this might not be the best… read entire review
photo by: rotorhead85