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Varanasi at Dawn

All Over the Globe
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Varanasi at Dawn

Just returned from a visit to Varanasi and still in awe --and a bit of shock-- from the city, the ghats and the spirit of the place. The best part of our visit was the view of the city from on high and its many faithful at dawn down by the ghats. We rose early to walk the ghats before sunrise and also took a local row boat up and down the river. The colors at dawn were rich and truly remarkable, as were the people who sought out the river and raised their prayers to the rising sun or went about their daily business. We also did the same (walked the ghats and took a local boat) at dusk to see the fire ceremony and to get a sense of the breadth of the river. In addition, we hired a guide and walked the old twisty streets above the ghats. After a few hours, we felt at ease to wander on our own to seek out the small Shiva temples and view a slice of life: school kids in freshly pressed uniforms, family members bearing a lost loved one to the ghats, mourners shearing their hair, cows, gorgeous carved wooden walls in the Tibetan temple, a snake charmer or two and the usual vendors and tiresome touts. You can find similar scenes in almost any Indian village or town, but the ghats and spiritual aspect of Varanasi are remarkable. There are colorful sadhus, the lost and crippled (of all ages and from all over), vignettes of gorgeous old people being supported by family as they make their special pujas.

Make sure you rise early and see the ghats in the dawn light. There is nothing else like it in the world.

Somerset, UK
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1. Re: Varanasi at Dawn

Thank you for this post Explorer17. We leave for India in a week's time and, after reading your post, I'm definitely pleased we have scheduled in a few days to visit Varanasi. Looking forward to the whole trip (with a little trepidation as we are travelling throughout by train!)

Chicago IL
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2. Re: Varanasi at Dawn

Please also read wiki-travel pages about Varanasi and Sarnath.

Make sure you visit Sarnath when in Varanasi. It is believed that Buddha gave his first speech after achieving enlightenment. The place has ruins from 3rd century BC, museum, dear park and several Buddhist temples.

http://wikitravel.org/en/Sarnath

http://wikitravel.org/en/Varanasi

Wiki-travel website is great for just about any location.

St-lambert
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3. Re: Varanasi at Dawn

Thank you also for sharing your experience, I am to leaving for India in December, and I have plan to visit Varanasi. I do intend to do the same as you did.

Merci

Sylvain

Mumbai (Bombay...
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for Mumbai (Bombay), New Delhi, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai (Madras), India
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4. Re: Varanasi at Dawn

Well there's the other side too.

I have seem many people recoil from the commercialism and utter corruption even at the very scene of death. I personally find the pandas (priests) disgustingly greedy, they are disgraceful inheritors of an ancient tradition. They do disservice to Hinduism by their behaviour. The erudition of yore is harder and harder to find.

In addition, the sheer poverty and miserable conditions of beggars and alms-seekers is shocking. The streets are filthy.

In spite of all this, Varanasi continues to fascinate.

Perth, Australia
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for Cambodia
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5. Re: Varanasi at Dawn

Oh Deepa. You are so right in all you say. When Traveltom & I were leaving Varanasi after our first visit, our Indian friend asked me, "Well, what do you think of Varanasi?"

My mind quickly jumped all over the place, not knowing how to start to answer his question. Finally, I blurted out, "Everything!" To this day, having been back again, I still make the same response to that question.

Having said that, India is the most diverse, wonderful, dreadful yet fascinating place, and we can't seem to stay away for very long. Oh and I forgot to say noisy.

Travelkat

6. Re: Varanasi at Dawn

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