The Varanasi Chill…

What a difference a day makes! We finally escaped from Agra on our very first sleeper train…. an experience to remember…. not easy to sleep when the tracks are rough… but we managed to get some kip on the 12 hour journey and watching the green fields roll past was amazing. Train food however… not so good! Vegetarian breakfasts was pink rice and pickle… which seemed to attract the hidden cockroaches from under the seating…. mmmmm.

Now we had heard that Varanasi (the most holy city in India) was full of hassle, dirt and was in the grip of something called Indian Eye Flu…. so can’t say we thought we would stay long… after our getting stuck in Agra, we had already booked our train out… lesson learned the hard way – as this would have been a great place to spend a few days.

When we arrived, we found a labyrinthe of lanes and shops something like an Indian York, a lovely hotel right on the holy Ganga-Ji (ganges)… and some great people. We started with a sunset cruise on the Ganges, something not to be missed… beautiful temples, incense burning and the Ganges at its highest in many years. We got to see the burning ghats where outdoor cremations take place… Andy got a bit closer than me… I was feeling a bit strange about it so hung back on the boat. We spent the evening with some spiritual Americans… who tried to convince us to swim in the river – something which quite a few of the travellers in our hotel did…. but we just weren’t quite feeling it – maybe the threat of illness, bacteria and pollution… or the fact that it is full of bodies… even a comment about lovely ganges dolphins failed to convince me! So sadly, we will not pass to Nirvana in the next life… coming back as a cow hopefully… they are revered in India… although there was a grumpy one in Varanasi which tried to gore people as they went past!

Andy wanted to know who had turned the chaos dial down 2 notches… such a chilled out place! So we decided to indulge in a spot of Yoga… a two hour lesson for 5 quid… bargain! We are paying for it today though with serious “yoga legs”.  The weather was just too hot for us to go out in the day so we chilled out until it cooled down and then Andy went off for a Sitar lesson – he reckons he  could play it quite well given a bit more time – so Yoga and Sitars are on the itinerary again hopefully.

Andy on the Sitar

We are now in Lucknow and leave tonight for Chandigahr in the north… gateway to Shimla and the mountains. The people here are lovely and we have had a lot less hassle… although we did get thrown out of the botanical gardens for sleeping and visited the zoo and museum that time forgot!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Katie
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 15:32:58

    Hey Rach and Andy
    hope it’s going well Harrys teacher asked me for the web address so she can update the class on your travels lol your quite a celeb @ harrys school hehe ! Keep safe speak soon x
    Katie,Mark,Harry & Phebe x x x


  2. Steve n Jude
    Sep 24, 2010 @ 22:19:34

    Wow! Sounds awesome, we’re really jealous. Makes good sense not to swim in the Ganges unless you’re shod in a diving suit pre sprayed in dettol.
    Take care of your selves and enjoy.
    Steve n Jude xxx


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