Monday, August 22, 2011

A Few Days in Varanasi

My alarm went off at 4:30 a.m. Ugh. 

Varanasi was almost idyllic this early and no one hassled me to take their rickshaw or photograph their monkey at this time of morning, as I straggled over to the budget hotel next door to the Radisson, to go on their morning excursion to the Ganges.

The excursion from the budget hotel was cheap, but I paid in other ways. Two of the other passengers were friendly and pleasant, but the third was a brash, loud Italian woman who would not shut up.

She was so loud and irritating that at one point, the guide muttered "If I'd known she didn't listen and talked all the time, I wouldn't have let her come."

Morning excursions to the ghats on the Ganges are one of the top sights in India, something that tourists make pilgrimages to, in order to watch the pilgrims wash in the holy river.

But hardly any pilgrims (or tourists) were here this year, with the river being high enough to flood the steps on all the ghats. The current was so fast on the river that the boats couldn't even run the whole circuit. We could only motor along half the regular route, up to Assi Ghat and back, and there weren't many people there doing their ablutions.

Here are more photos of Varanasi and of the onward trip to Darjeeling.

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