What a thrill to go from Agra to Varanasi by train. We spent a whole day watching the amazingly green and lush landscape spread out as the train rolled through village after village. Arriving Varanasi was even more spectacular. In the evening we were picked up at the train station by hotel employees for a one hour trip by car to a street nearby our hotel. To get to the hotel we had to go for about 10 minutes. What an amazing new world that was to us. The narrow streets full of people, animals, dirt, shops and temples made a huge impression on us all. This over 4000 year old city known as “the city of light” is one of the most sacred cities of the world today and is seen by devotees as “the home of Shiva”. The legend even tells us that the God Shiva founded Varanasi. The city rises from the many stone steps up from the Ganges river and is as colourful, chaotic, full of houses, temples, narrow streets, aroma, people, different animals and holy cows you can only imagine. Devoted Indians come here either to wash away their sins for a lifetime in the river Ganges or to cremate their loved ones in the belief that they will achieve the salvation of the soul from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. We will never forget this city for as long as we shall live – and I personally adored it! During our stay our superb guide Prakash gave us the history of different temples, shops, weaving factories for making saris, the main cremation place, the university and the evening rituals with thousands of lights floating on the Ganges river. Thank you sooooo much! 🙂
Another surprising and very pleasant experience we had in Varanasi was the warm welcome that all people greats you with – namely “namaste”. This greeting means in essence “I bow to the divine in you” and is used to give a respectful greeting of someone. Watching the people we met pressing palms together facing thumbs upwards and doing a little bow with the head some 20 times, we all got the hang of it in the end. This was a quite nice way of meeting someone and you felt calm and peaceful doing this.
The train trip from Agra to Varanasi
Our colorful and spiritual hotel in Varanasi
The narrow streets, holy cows and city of Varanasi
I even wonder if my own sister has a secret hotel in Varanasi… 🙂
The main crematorium in Varanasi – with its eternal flame
Temples and holy wells for fertility
Evening rituals on the river Ganges
And then you light the candle and make a wish…
The cosy Banana Lassi cafe in Varanasi with their speciality Lassi – Yummy!
The weaving factories
And this is how the woven saris may look like…
Before leaving Varanasi I just had to visit one of the famous astrologers in the city! What a thrill! What a pity one of the drawbacks of this visit was that I was not allowed to tell anyone about the content of the conversation we had… That includes you! Ha, ha! There was some fish inside his office that seemed very intelligent. These pictures tells it all…