Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Varanasi, The Ganges, and a little relaxation.

After our flight landed in Varanasi, we board our coach for the long ride to our hotel. I am not sure about the distance but to get to the ganges it is a 45 minute ride, from our hotel. We all settled into our hotel and rested for the afternoon and our group met for dinner, an early night was had by all, as we were to get up at 0430hrs to go down to the Ganges to witness the sunrise, cremations and the Hindu pilgrims that bathe in the Ganges..
Walking to board our boats
On the boat.

We were driven by coach to the Ganges and then walked 10mins to get to the banks of the ganges, where we board a boat to take us up the river.

There are about 83 cremations performed a day along the banks of the Ganges . These cremations are done on the river bank on a pile of wood, so the fires that you see is a cremation.

I might mention that we were all very conscious of not touching any of the water from the Ganges due to it being heavily polluted, the river is so polluted the dolphins that are in the ganges are blind.
There were also people bathing in the ganges, but I suppose being an Indian native they would be immune to what lurks beneath.

The other that I can not fathom is if the hidu's feel that the Ganges is sacred water, why is it so polluted.?

Let me share some amazing scenes along the ganges.

After our 2 hour boat ride we all disembarked and went to visit the university, where people can go to study for free or a very minimal fee, all they need to do is sit for a test and if they pass the test at an elevated level, they are allowed to study their. This university is one of the leading universities for medicine.
Entry to the Hindu temple
Also in the university grounds was a Hindu temple, we all witnessed blessings to the gods.

We were returned to the hotel for breakfast and free time, until 4.30pm, where we all took tut tut's back down to the granges to witness what happens at night, here we took another boat ride and we all layed candles with marigolds, the sacred flower, in memorium of people we have lost or in poor health at present.
The tut tut ride, 10 of them was the most exhilarating ride of our lives, weaving in and out of traffic, with the noise and pollution, was very fast, I would hate to think what would have happened if we had had an accident.
DH and I layed the candles and marigolds for friends lost, Ian Thompson, Christine Book and Jo Kent Biggs, and DH mum struggling also at the moment, our thoughts were with them when we layed our memoriam.
The candles in the Ganges.

That was an end to our evening in Varnasi , for tomorrow we travel back toDehli.
The next day was a free day, some had left our tour group and were going to Nepal, 15 of us were catching an overnight train to Dehli. The train ride will be 14 hours, we had a sleeper carriage, but had to share with two other people from our tour, we felt we were quite lucky as most of our tour group did not get a private cabin and had to go cattle class with  locals.
All in all it was an experience, not one that I wish to repeat.

Needless to say we were all very tired when we got back into Dehli, thank goodness for breakfast and our room being ready.

After a rest 7 of us went and caught the metro to Chandi Choux, the market place in Dehli where everything could be purchased, this was now my time to shop, as I had only done a little whilst travelling due to the weight restrictions on our flight from Khajuraho to Varanasi.

In hindsight this was not a clever move, as unbeknownst to most of us, 
the Indian government had banned 500 and 1,000 rupees nulinvoid due to the amount of circulated counterfeit notes. 
The banks closed down for two days and no ATM's were accessible, and guess what, all we had was 1,000 and 500 rupees, and no one would take them, so after finding kinnari Brazzar where all the sari's and trims were located, I had a very frustrating time with looking but not much purchasing, due to only having the unacceptable rupees, the other frustrating thing with India is they choose not to accept credit cards and we soon found out that their machines do not work, because they only use eftpos for India and need to get the international eftpos for our cards to work.
Amazing that these eftpos machines are used when they are going to miss out on a sale.
We were fortunate that the banks opened on the day we left, so that we were able to change the money that we had left.
Just a few trims!
Fabric, silk and trims galore!
I did manage to get a few trims!

Thursday we few to Singapore, then Perth, next post I will share with you a recap of my overall experience with India and some amazing photos that I have taken.
Next post Perth, Broome and Margaret River.

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