Published: January 26th 2010January 26th 2010
Holy smoke, not so holy pollution and cacophony of smells
This is not going to be a long update since we should go to sleep quite early as to we shall go to Nepal early next morning and it will take two days to get to Kathmandu.
So once again the Indian locomotive was very delayed when we arrived in Varanasi in the Sunday afternoon (the train left Agra four hours late and finally it was just 9 hours late when we came to the holy city). Therefore since people told us that the trains towards Gorakhpur are delayed or even canceled often we decided to take bus this time. So I'm looking forward to those bumpy roads and breathtaking mountain roads.
We have spent a few days here in Varanasi now that is the holiest city of Hindus. You can definitely feel the different atmosphere here when everything that you do is considered 'holy'. The chants from the ghats are often heard as well as the prayer calls from minarets and even the ringing of church bells sometimes. So people are on the religious mood here and one third of this city's population is pilgrims (or just
tourists like us).
The most memorable thing from here is probably those burning ghats (only two of many ghats are used to burn the people to attain the end of reincarnation). So we saw them both where almost never-ending flames since it's a very desired thing to get burned here after death. There was also a very scenic view from the river boat which we took in order to get a proper view of the ghats. Many pilgrims had their dips into the river Ganga to become more holy men, but I think there are lots of more people during the summer time when water is remarkably warmer. One can guess that we both were chickens and didn't take a holy dip this time. But I put my finger into the river so at least a part of mine is sacred now. :D And it's getting more awkward as to people's stories when they say that 'your eyes look like paradise' or 'you're strong man, nice muscles' or like in Lauri's case 'you look like Michael Jackson's brother'. Maybe it's because we look so different or another trick to get our attention.
So next we will head towards
the Himalayas and India will be left behind. This is a vast land and for the time being I can just say that we saw a small bit of the subcontinent. It's another world - we westerners live in our clock-oriented and scentless realm and I am pretty sure that I shall return to this one billion people country sometimes again.
There are more photos below