Our first sleeper train in India was not the most pleasant experience. We felt rushed after nearly missing the train to begin with, and that set the mood for the rest of the journey really. When we finally arrived in Varanasi we were both ready for bed as I hadn't slept a wink because there were too many staring men. (And because I couldn't relax that meant that Rob couldn't either.) Once we arrived in Varanasi we realised immediately how amazing it is and why so many people are drawn here. Without a doubt it was the most spiritual place in India that we have visited to date. It was a lot bigger than we had expected it to be, and the city itself had the trademark look of other Indian cities, with traffic, noise, dust and chaos everywhere. There is always something going on in every part of your vision which makes every journey a crazy and interesting experience. On the hunt for our hotel we had to walk through some medieval looking alleys that had amazing character, but for me were a little overwhelming. The people of Varanasi seemed to be a lot less pushy and this pleased us
a lot. The point that really blew us away about Varanasi hit us in the face as we walked onto the Ghats and saw the Ganges for the first time. The whole city has been built around the river itself. We witnessed all manner of things going on along banks of the mighty Ganges. We saw childrens swimming lessons, buffaloes bathing, bodies being cremated and pushed out into the water, people in boats, cricket matches, people washing themselves or clothes and even some fishing!
In the evening we took a boat ride down the Ganges and it was one of the most beautiful and rewarding things that we have done in all the time that we have been in India, and I think that we will remember it for the rest of our lives.
We were touched by the city and the way that the Ganges not only represented life and death, but was also such a big part of daily life for the people of Varanasi and the people who visit here. India seems to make you feel down and then bring you right back up again! In Varanasi we saw more of the side to India
that we were looking for. We had also gained a lot more confidence to hold our own with the people and were getting to understand the Indian humour better. India is a better ride if you go with it.
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