Our walk around the northern area of the city was great. Our guide Nanda was a veritable encyclopaedia of information on everything from Hindu philosophy and local politics to sign painting and street dentistry! As a native of Varanasi he has a deep love for the city but also a very pragmatic/humorous view of the reality and problems here. It was fun to spend time discussing all this as we explored the streets.
The tour itself included hidden temples, narrow backstreets and courtyards. It gave us a chance to visit areas away from souvenir shops and touts and see things we wouldn't have otherwise. nanda also gave us great advice about other festivals to see and places to visit in the rest of our stay which was very helpful. I would highly recommend this walk and Nanda as guide.
We also took the evening boat tour. Whilst this was equally as informative as the walk it was maybe not as good value. We didn't have time for part of the tour which was planned to walk to a temple and as there are many boats covering the same route up and down the river we could probably have seen the sights much cheaper - all be it with less info.
All in all though the walks are good value and help open the city to outsiders.
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