Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Varanasi.. Reloaded!

It is by far my favorite city in India.
Ganges, the Ghats, Pilgrims, Sunset, Boat rides, Pujas, Horse carriages, Cows, Monkeys, Garbage, Dirt & Dust everywhere, all together in some sort of harmony, Varanasi is one of the most interesting places one can see in India and most probably in the whole world. Being one of the oldest cities in the world and hardly changed since the first civilizations, Varanasi can be considered as a Timeless City. It seems like even if you come to this city 50 years later whatever you would see will not be different at all. 

Varanasi by the Sunrise & Example of a graffiti all around the ghats

I was there 3 years ago, i travelled alone, met with some fellow backpackers and spent 3 great days by the Ghats. This time it was different. Guys in Kolkata already planned to go there for the weekend and i decided to join them in the very last minute.

Morning by the Ghats & Sameer, Badr & I enjoying the company of buffalos

In India, you need to arrange the train tickets way in advance if you want to travel in a good spot however as it was a last minute decision and as i didnt have any train tickets, i had to buy a "general quota ticket" which means that i had to travel 16 hours on a small compartment with a lot of people sitting on the ground or maybe even standing. However i didn't do that. 

The others already booked the sleeper class (2 triple bunk beds in a compartment with fan) so i joined them in their tiny compartment. As there were 5 of us for 4 beds, we had to squeeze. On the way to Varanasi, it was Roxanne (CA) and Sameer (CA) sharing one tiny bunk bed. On the way back, it had to be different people and at some point, it was me and Ronami (BR) .

On the way to Varanasi & Ronami and I sharing the bed on the way back

After a long but bearable trip of 14 hours, Maggie (CA), Roxanne (CA), Lucas (BR), Ronami (BR), Sameer (CA), Badr (MR) and I arrived in Varanasi. Having no place arranged, we arranged a ricksha and ended up in a hostel in the south part of the city. It was way too hot and we were walking by the ghats, during the day the city was like a ghost town as everyone was at home or at a shady place.

Puja for Ganges at the background & Boat trip at night 

In these 2 days, we were by the Ganges, walked around the Ghats, took 3 boat rides (sunset, sunrise and travelling during the day), tried to check the non existing temple, watched the PT & DE game (which i lost a bet of), wander around the main market and in between, rested in the Brown Bread German Bakery. (A place where had the best continental food especially cheese in India).
Relaxing in Brown Bread German Bakery

It was a short trip with 2 long trips, especially on the way back we had a delay of 4 hours, stopping in a couple of places for hours without having any explanation. Considering it was around +40 degrees and we had only 2 small fans to cool us down, it was not easy to survive in the trip. However we made it! 
Good Morning Varanasi (we are still sleeping) & Going to the train station on a horse carriage

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