Varanasi - the holiest city!
As we were getting to the end of our journey we set this destination as the last one to stay longer in. We ended up staying 4 day, due to Jay's stomach problems and me meeting a girl we acquainted with in Sriananda Ashram.
Very nice time there together and some new people we met as well. All in all the city itself, or at least the part we were staying in, appeared to be quite interesting mostly because we were just by the Ganga river staying in a river-overlooking guest house. I went in for morning, sunrise celebration/event, with sth yoga-alike by the river, on a big open-space in one of the ghats. I first time tried laughter yoga, awesome! Then good quality cup of coffee with Linda and Phoebe made my day :)
Otherwise we were just hanging out, drinking lassis and eating out, mostly fruits and light-weight, easily digestible stuff. Which obviously didn't make its happy end once Jay ate some heavy rubbish food that one very time..
Varanasi happened to be quite a quaint place, full of curiosities around. We saw dead bodies (fairly often actually..) being carried to the burning ghat (wrapped in shroud), just by the places where life was thriving and going on with its own, regular pace and rhythm. We saw cattle animals being bred amongst the buildings and narrow streets of the part of the city where the main tourist hub is. Burning bodies, in bulk, on the top of the wooden stacks, pretty creepy indeed. Fortunately we didn't have an iffy pleasure to see bodies of "baba's" (the holy men, that are not burned after death, but thrown to the river..) being eaten up by stray dogs on its bank, as my friend had, a couple of times. Or baby body being thrown to the Ganga with a load hooked to it (due to the babies soul purity that makes it unnecessary for the body to be burned, and therefore purified from sins.) And a bunch of different stuff that were surprising us every day.
I must admit I felt very tired at the end of traveling already. After 5 months on the way, especially in India, all became very mind and body-exhausting. I felt homesick and in the same time, we had to back down from traveling to Nepal cancelling the tickets we bought a couple of weeks before, resulting from the terrible earthquake that took so many men's-life recently... We felt shakes even in Bodgaya, just before getting to Varanasi. I had a horrible dengue fever there and was stuck in bed for almost a week, with no life forces whatsoever, body temperature of about 38-39,5C most of the time, muscle aches and not sweating at all (very awkward). And then it happened, the whole bed started wobbling and the door slamming. I thought it was Jay's joke or sth, and with the high fever I couldn't really estimate well what was going on.
When the dengue passed away we were able to take up the journey again, but I got some post-dengue itchy rash on my legs, so the fun continued...
First tropical disease - ticked, what a glee.. ;)
Anyways, Varanasi was the last stop on our around India trip draft-list and afterwards, we had just two more stops on a way to Delhi. All along the way we were passing by the bhang fields, growing abundantly and freely along the road, hehe. More commonly known as cannabis plants ;), used in Indian subcontinent as an intoxicant. Very unusual experience it was, let's call it this way.
Here are some pics from Varanasi and its daily life:
|busy morning in the Varanasi' ghats|
|meditation time, ghats|
|sunrise' boat trip ;)|
|water tanks by the river|
|religious chanting spot by the Ganga river|
|famous Varanasi's Blue Lassi Shop - a bit overrated,|
but still good enough to have a little treat
|Indian style of decor keeping ;)|
|sunrise in Ganga ghats|
|morning toilet, right on the street|
|they'll catch you even on a boat ride|
|puja / wake-up call!|
|a barn in the middle of the city.. :>|
|as you can see...|
Our journey, in India at least, is coming to its end now! That was very challenging, sometimes rough sometimes very relaxed, inspiring and full of intense emotions, whole range of them, actually.
The big sum up I'll post soon!