went from Allahabad to Varanasi by train..always an adventure..
Varanasi(ex Benares)is a city you should see...
it's very very Indian..as a matter of fact I've
never seen more holy cows anywhere else then
in Varanasi..this holy city for Hindu's is dusty,hot,
crowded,very spiritual...and specially very good to
have a glimpse on Hinduism,holy men,cremation on
the ghats(steps on the Ganges river)first you arrive
in Varanasi..most probably by train in Mogul Serai=
11km.south..try to arrive in Varanasi Junction Station..
Tourist office=The Mall 15b=Cantonment area..
accomodation..try Tourist Dak bungalow=The Mall..
no idea about prices...just make a walk to the river
side..on the ghats..you will see strange things...
ritual baths,chanting of Holy texts,yogi,holy men..
cremations are held at Manikharnika ghat or Harichandra
ghat..photography is forbidden..I've witnessed once a
ceremony..and i felt quite awkward..in fact the oldest
son has to light the pile of wood...it takes a lot of nerve
to witness..you will hear no mourning..it's more reading of
Holy texts by a pandit..around these ghats a strange group
of holy men live...with dreadlock hair..and poorly dressed..
ask for aghori's..very funny people...sort of sadhu's..
The bathing rituals are going on mostly at daybreak
..ask for Dashaswahmed ghat..a ritual bath consist of
chanting a mantra..going head under 3 times..and drink
some Ganga water..on the ghats you will see a whole
cremation..red cover over body is for women..
white one for males..only rich or middle class can afford
a ritual cremation..the very poor are cremated in another
way=electrical..near Harichandra ghat..
Benares is famous for silk,as well as Sanskrit study's..
a great University to study hindi or Hinduism..
but all together..didn't like Benares too much..
it's too hectic..too many swindlers,beggars,people who
want you in their shops,riksja pullers who overcharge..
I would recommend Sarnath=10kms.from Varanasi..
here Budhha held his first preaching..there is a great temple
ask for Maha Bodhi Society Temple..ask for Deer Park where
Buddha held his first speech..what a difference this place is..
with hot bustling Varanasi..take a bus from Varanasi..
I'll try to find some links..Tiger
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