Varansi is a must see place for anyone wanting a piece of true Indian culture.
The main area in Varanasi hugs the Ganga and is made up of tight alley like streets, home to an array of different businesses.
After the New Year celebrations and a couple of weeks of non-stop travel we used this opportunity to relax and become a part of the real Varanasi. You can spend your time meditating, hanging by the ghats, taking traditional Indian music lessons (be prepared for the sitar strings to destroy your fingers), reading or doing really whatever you please. This place is made for relaxing!
A short walk through the streets or down on the ghats you will be sure to run into some peddlers selling everything all the time. And I mean everything. Necklaces, flowers, postcards, balloons, boat rides, hash, food, drink, tours, instruments etc. Be cautious not to be ripped off though. Safety is no concern even if you do find yourself a little overwhelmed by the amount of cow shit and strays. Honestly, the beauty of Varanasi completely takes over any smells or sights you may not be used to. People are bathing and washing clothes in the sacred Ganges and although it is somewhat polluted it is also absolutely breathtaking, so you can easily understand why the people love it so much.
The Manikarnika ghat or burning ghat if you aren’t aware is the ghat in Varanasi where people are cremated in ceremonies full of colour, happiness and music right on the Ganges. It’s a very different place than I’m sure you’re all used to but nonetheless check it out. We found our selves returning to relax and just watch. It’s strangely calming.
Boat Ride on the Ganga
We stayed in a pretty sweet hotel, Palace on Steps. Every room here is great and they’re all steps away from some pretty nice views of the Ganges. Rooms start from 1,518Rs ($23USD) a night. They also have a rooftop restaurant serving awesome meals of any cuisine at reasonable prices.
Varanasi is any new age hippies dream! Definitely put it in your India travel plans.
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