The Holy City

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The Ganges river

After a 5h delay, I finally arrived in the holy city of Varanasi. My host Ashish, a graphic designer who recently took over the guesthouse of his parents, lives on just 5 minutes walking from the trainstation. Unfortunately he was out, promoting his guesthouse so I decided to explore the Ganges river & the narow streets of old Varanasi. Walking by the ‘Burning God’, a temple where cremations take place from the deceased, I was taking a snapshot when suddenly two guys grabbed me & screamed it was forbidden & that I risked to go to prison for 6 months.

The 'Burning God' area in Varanasi

The ‘Burning God’ area in Varanasi

Unless I paid them 250INR right away for wood for their families. It felt like another of their scams so I asked where the sign was. They showed me a graffiti on the wall that said ‘No photo’ That really confirmed my suspicions.  So I refused to pay 250 INR but apologized kindly. But there was a third guy coming & they became pretty agressive, so finally I paid them with the money I had left in my wallet, what was luckily just a small amount. As they realized their scam didn’t go as planned, they let me go…

My host, his family & some couchsurfers...

My host, his family & some couchsurfers…

By sunset I walked back to the house of my host & finally met him. We talked over dinner. A few moments later Alain & Elodie, a french couple, arrived for a short visit and so did Juan & Sofia, a Columbian couple who where also hosted by Ashish. Both couples turned out to be great musicians, so we spend a nice evening with them playing on their Yukulele, Gitar, Kenna, etc.  It didn’t last long or the whole family of Ashish joined us and enjoyed those musical talents. Anshuman, the brother of Ashish, has his own chemicals company. His wife Shalini takes care of their two kids Kushare, their 2 yr old son & Kavya, their smart 8 yr old daughter.

Yun & myself having a sunrise cruise on the Ganges river

Yun & myself having a sunrise cruise on the Ganges river

Last but not least, there was also the mother of Ashish, Shubna. A lovely, caring & very hospitable lady! We spent an amazing evening talking, listening to music, playing with the kids. Loved it!
In the meantime, I got a call from Yun. A South-Korean girl that I met a week before in Pushkar.

She asked me if I would join her the next morning for a sunrise cruise on the Ganges river. So I did and we met right before sunrise. It was a little bit foggy, creating a somehow mystical atmosphere. The ‘Gaths’ were  overcrowded & thousands of Indians bathed in the river due to the ‘Makar Sankranti’ of ‘Kite’ festival that day. Quite a sight & a unique experience!

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Comments
2 Responses to “The Holy City”
  1. Madryt says:

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