Varanasi - Day 2 (part 1)

This is a link from my blog about my trip to India in 2014
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Varanasi - Day 2 (part 1)

Post by david63 » 25 Oct 2014, 10:16

Varanasi is considered to be the religious capital of India and the main focus of Hinduism in the world.

The day started as expected – with an early morning call at 05:00 so that we could be ready in time to meet our guide at 05:30. Initially our thoughts were along the lines of “it seemed like a good idea at the time” but that soon changed once we arrived down at the Ganges. The sight of so many people, both Hindus and tourists was an unbelievable sight. After a short walk we boarded our boat which, on first impression we wondered whether it was “sea worthy”. Now this boat was propelled by a young lad with two oars – and how he managed to row the boat for so long was something of a minor miracle.

Anyway we set off along what was later to become apparent was a pre-determined course, in that you travel close to the shore going out and travel further out into the river on the return leg. Even with such a system there were one or two minor collisions.

So what were we there for? We had come to see the Ghats where the Hindus come as a ritual. One of the things that Hindus are expected to do in their lifetime is to bathe in the River Ganges and the majority that are there at any one time are pilgrims – or they have come to cremate a family member.

It was quite fascinating seeing the different people along the river and the groups actually on the Ghats – there the devotees, individuals meditating, the dhobis doing the washing and a couple of cremations. It is said that there is always a cremation taking place as it is considered by the Hindus as the place to die.

After our trip on the river we got off and then walked through some of the narrow back streets that lead up from/down to the river. Now this was not something that you would want to do on your own if for no other reason than you would almost certainly get lost. Another reason is that it not the cleanest of places particularly where the cows are concerned! We then headed for the Golden Temple which is considered by the Hindus to be their most sacred place but due its close proximity to the mosque (which is next door) and the other problems that abound in India the security around the place is very high. First of all you have to leave bags, cameras, mobile phones outside and this is done with a “trustworthy” local shopkeeper – by shopkeeper I mean stallholder and whilst there is no charge for this you are expected to look at his wares (with an obvious outcome that you buy something) upon your return. Having left our belongings with our selected shopkeeper, and wondering if we would ever see them again, we set off on the short walk to the Golden Temple whereupon we had to go through airport style scanners and be frisked. Sadly non Hindus are allowed to enter this temple and not only that but all you can see is the spire from a distance if you stand on some steps and the devotees coming and going. Another short walk and we were back at our car for the return to the hotel and some breakfast.

After breakfast we set off on a city tour, the only problem being that apart from the Ghats there is very little else to see. The driving in Varanasi is not too dissimilar to that of Kolkata other than there are less cars and more bikes/scooters – oh and cows. Now in India cows have priority on the roads – they cross when they want, they lie down and sleep when and where the want and generally just slow the traffic down, and it is not a question of just one or two cows, but dozens of them.

Our tour comprised of a visit to the Vishwanath Temple in the university grounds – a university that is claimed to be the biggest/best in the region. After that was a visit to the Mother India Temple where there is a large scale relief map of India on the floor. I have to say the map is quite impressive. That concluded the city tour and we returned to the hotel in readiness for our next excursion this evening to see the night time rituals on the River Ganges. Upon returning to the hotel we found out that they were preparing for a wedding tonight, so how much of it we will see remains to be seen.


Ray Scully
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Re: Varanasi - Day 2 (part 1)

Post by Ray Scully » 25 Oct 2014, 12:34

:thumbup:

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Dancing Queen
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Re: Varanasi - Day 2 (part 1)

Post by Dancing Queen » 25 Oct 2014, 14:43

Crikey .. only day 2 and you seem to have done so much already, you'll need a holiday after this to recover :lol: :lol:
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Romig1
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Re: Varanasi - Day 2 (part 1)

Post by Romig1 » 25 Oct 2014, 15:58

Day 2 in Varanasi DQ, not day 2 of the holiday!

Do keep up at the back :P

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Re: Varanasi - Day 2 (part 1)

Post by Dancing Queen » 25 Oct 2014, 18:13

Ooops yes I did know that R but I was flitting in/out of the forum in between ironing so probably wasn't being as observant as I should have been :silent:
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