I is for India – my favourite country in the entire world to visit – and here’s a few days we spent in Varanasi in November 2016. If I ask you what do you think of, when you think of India, it’s probably the Taj Mahal. But in Varanasi? It’s the Ganges and the Ghats. But first, did you know, just outside Varanasi is Sarnath?
Sarnath is famous for the being the first place where Buddha taught.
So it’s a very holy and revered site, with a super stupa at its heart.
And, unsurprisingly, a major place of learning.
But Varanasi itself centres on the Ganges.
All streets lead there!
Especially at night, when pilgrims, locals and tourists alike swarm to the river for the Aarti ceremony.
Important to reserve your seat early, but you may be sat next to a cow.
In the morning – very early – take in a leisurely boat ride along the Ghats to see life on the riverbank and to see the pilgrims bathing.
Death is as much part of life in Varanasi as anywhere else, but the city is well known for its riverside crematoria. The dead are cremated on the banks of the Ganges and it’s a major aspect of the city. Crematoria smoke frequently fills the sky.
And the wood for burning is piled high
Time for a wander around the old town
There’s also a highly respected university
But, like anywhere in India, all the best pictures are to be found on the street
And by the water
PS Watch the traffic. Some vehicles can be very large!
I don’t think that elephant indicated right.
Gotta love Indian roads
“Knock, knock. Excuse me, but do you have any apples?”
PPS. 1970s snack in the hotel!
If you’d like to find out more about our brilliant few days in Varanasi, here’s the link to the blog that I wrote at the time. Next blog – probably on Tuesday – will be back to the theatre trips, and memories of shows I saw from September 1979 to July 1980.