Blogs from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, Asia

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Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi February 18th 2019

For the first time while in India there would be no need to wake up early. There was no breakfast buffet to get up for. Instead there was an outdoor restaurant that served breakfast and dinner foods all day. And the restaurant was right outside my room. Having woke up luxuriantly late I practically had the whole place to myself. And what a place it was. I picked a table on the rail overlooking the Ganges. From my perfect perch I could observe all the life down below. The locals boarding boats to be ferried across or down the river. People walking along the ghats. The boats clustering and drifting down the river in jolly scrums. On the other side of the river people wandered and clustered on the dry floodplain. To me the distant figures ... read more
Breakfast
Contemplating Life
Holymen of Varanasi

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi February 17th 2019

The fact that I was stuck in a middle seat did not bother me, because my Air India flight could not have been any nicer. The seats were a good size, the sari-clad stewardesses were kind, and although it was only a two-hour flight they served us a decent lunch. America might think of itself as first world, but our domestic air service is strictly bottom of the barrel. It wasn’t until we landed that a little bit of India broke out. The passengers began pushing and shoving to get off of the plane almost from the moment it touched down. But once they got down to the pavement outside all they did was stand around and take selfies. After which they ambled slowly toward the airport terminal. Back home if someone pushed his way off ... read more
Mumbai Airport
Old City
Foot Traffic

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi September 28th 2018

Being a little cooler first thing in the morning we decided to get up early again today. I must admit that without knowing there was a boat waiting for us it was difficult but the call to prayers by the next door mosque at 5am helped wake us up. After finding someone to let us out of our guesthouse we wondered down to the Ghats to watch the morning goings on. The Ghats just north of the Manikarnika ghat (main burning ghat) were surprisingly quiet compared to those we rowed past at the same time to the south yesterday. There were a few men washing in the Ganges and a group having a religious service in an area at the back of the Ghat. Finding a place with a reasonable view we sat down to watch ... read more
Morning ceremony
Scales at Manikarnika Ghat
Main market.

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi September 27th 2018

Proud to be up, dressed and ready to leave at 0530 this morning our timeliness for the boat was thwarted when we discovered we were locked into the guest house! Another couple soon joined us, also wanting to leave for a boat ride and our noise managed to wake the owner up so we were soon let out. Our boat guide was waiting for us just outside. Walking down to Munshi Ghat we were surprised to find it already very busy, full of people washing in the Ganges. The Ghat we started at was full of Brahmins (high class Hindus) washing, and there were quite a few women as well as men. Our boat was a rowing boat, complete with bamboo oars with planks of wood attached to make the blade. Being rowed up the river ... read more
Busy morning Ghats
Washing in the Ganges
Sunrise over the Ganges

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi September 26th 2018

We finally managed to get to Varanasi about midnight last night, only 12 hours later than planned. Our tuk tuk driver from the station didn’t seem that confident as to the exact location of our guesthouse and we found ourselves wondering down the narrow alleys somewhat unsure of where we were going. Fortunately a couple of nice locals en route reassured us we were going in the right direction and we soon arrived. Well locked up they fortunately answered the doorbell and were extremely kind and welcoming. Our room is small but clean and tidy and we were soon fast asleep. This morning we decided to do our usual wonder around. After a rooftop breakfast (with view of the Ganges) we walked down to the nearest ghat (munshi ghat) and then headed south along the river. ... read more
Cleaning the Ghats
The Ghats
Buffalo in the Ganges

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi February 19th 2018

Woolly says – By the time we had surfaced from our beds the Ganges had already been given its morning blessing and breakfast, which was more than I had managed. We’d ordered some food at nine o’clock and by ten I was getting a little bit restless, having annoyed Jo as much as I could and been told to sit for the fortieth time I decided to trot down and find out where my scram was. Finally arriving at the bottom of the four flights our host looked a little surprized, and having asked when we were going to eat I wasn’t best pleased to be told that the chef wasn’t working today, I plodded back up knowing this wasn’t the answer the girls would be expecting. We weren’t impressed and having shoved our ... read more
LIving life
But there cute!
Helping with the washing

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi February 18th 2018

Woolly says – What can you say about spending twenty hours on a train! An Indian train (luckily sleeper)! Sharing those said sleepers with the two women who intrude in my world, it wasn’t easy, but I thought I had managed well which is more that can be said for the others in the group. After a huge rail delay they shuffled onto the platform at Varanasi Junction looking very much the worse for wear, there obviously not proficient travellers like myself. Some of us had slept through the getting up at 2.30am to catch the train and continued to sleep until an hour before our arrival, whilst some of us lay listening to the snores around us! Woolly says – Small details, very small ones. A rickshaw dropped us at a road gate ... read more
View from our accommodation
Watching the world
Sitting on one of the Ghats

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi January 27th 2018

'Look over there,' said Raju, pointing with his chin in the Indian manner to some indistinct letters and numbers painted on a building. 'Would you believe that the Ganges reached up to there in the monsoon of 1978?' We looked down to the river flowing serenely beside the stone steps of Varanasi’s ghats today, a dizzy, mind-boggling 74 metres (242 feet) below. Ahead and beneath us, left and right, as far as the eye could see, everything would have been covered in a fast-flowing, brown inland sea. The vast sandbanks stretching to the horizon, the ghats, the temples and streets throughout the city would have been flooded, flushing away the grime of decades and adding to it with the detritus from towns and villages upstream. It seemed almost inconceivable that this remarkable city could have survived ... read more
Janki Ghat, just one of Varanasi's 80 ghats.
Manikarnika Ghat
Harishchandra Ghat

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi January 25th 2018

25th January 2018 Uttar Pradesh Return to India 5 (click on 'previous' below the panorama for earlier blogs) Varanasi - The Ghats and beyond Continuing the travels of two somewhat elderly brothers, David (of ‘the grey haired nomads’) and the younger, Mike, (aka, ‘keep smiling’). The good guidebook tells us there are 88 ghats here in Varanasi; those long terraces of riverfront steps leading down to the banks of the mighty Mother Ganges. Most are used for ceremonial bathing but just two are used exclusively as cremation sites. Raju, our guide here in Varanasi, has organised a boat to take us downriver this evening, to view the proceedings from the water just before sunset. The guidebook also talks much about tigers, but that will have to... read more
Varanasi - Harishchandra Ghat
Varanasi - Banikarnika Ghat
Varanasi - Banikarnika Ghat

Asia » India » Uttar Pradesh » Varanasi January 25th 2018

The past few mornings had been cool, clear and crisp. Today was positively freezing, foggy and soggy. But, at last, we'd be travelling by boat on the sacred River Ganges and arriving in Varanasi like proper travellers - providing we didn't freeze to death along the way! I'm not sure what type of boat we were expecting. A typical wooden boat, perhaps with a pretty awning, colourful cushions and rugs on which to while away the hours, a mast and sail to speed us on our way...? Well, correct on one point at least. A typical wooden boat awaited our arrival at the foot of one of Mirzapur's ghats, next to an old chap casting a line out into the calm water, more in hope than in anticipation of catching a fish for lunch on a ... read more
The journey begins
Fish traps
A flock of pochard and pintail rose into the air as we passed.




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