Our India Adventure travel blog


The famous Blue Lassi in Varanasi

Our view from our balcony of the Ganges River

Marlys out for a walk...to find an ATM

A body being transported to the burning ghat...right past our lassi shop

In the hopes that the hotel restaurant does a better breakfast than dinner we headed down for breakfast at 9:00 a.m. Porridge (plain and with bananas), an omelette, and toast with scrambled eggs were the order of the day. Marlys advised that the coffee was quite good.

Our walking tour started around 10:00 a.m. and we walked along some of the ghats and in particular, stopped at one of the burning ghats. While no pictures are allowed it is a memory that is likely to be indelibly etched in our brains for years to come. I won't describe it in detail either as it is rather graphic. We saw a number of the various stages that have to be undertaken to complete the cremation (i.e. carrying the wrapped dead body down the narrow streets while chanting, the shaved head of a male family member, the placing of the body on the funeral pyre, the receipt of the "sacred" flame, the lighting of the pyre, and the burning of the body (we were so close the flames made a hot day even hotter). At one point we were walking away from the burning ghat in single file down one of the narrow streets when I felt someone shove me very hard, pushing me to the left for them to pass on the right. I was rather indignant until I looked and realized that I had just been shoved by one of the many cows wandering Varanasi.

After the burning ghat we saw some temples, watched sari silk weaving in action and was taken to the obligatory silk textile shop to buy. As it was air conditioned I didn't mind and we escaped with a $30.00 silk cloth that I am sure we can use for something. Very pretty!

Along the way we also went to Blue Lassi Shop which is famous for offering up the best flavoured lassis in town. We all ordered the mango pomegranate except for Theo who had just mango. It was superb, but I thought that the lassi shop in Amritsar was better but I was heavily outvoted. It was a lot of fun watching the world go by as we waited in the tiny 6 X 10 foot shop for our lassis to be made and poured out into a clay pot for our use. Four lassies for 340 rupees.

At the end of the tour we stopped at the Dosa Shop for dosa and uttapam. Superb. Then it was back to our hotel, showered and cooled off. We generally recharged before heading out around 7:30 p.m. for dinner, once again at the Dosa Shop. By this time I was feeling a bit under the weather and wasn't hungry and by the time we got to the restaurant Theo was feeling lousy. So Eleri and Marlys ate while Theo and I drank water and I tried some plain dosa and had a banana lassi (to aid the stomach). The incense burning in the restaurant did not help the general feeling of malaise.

After a quick and quiet dinner we went back to the hotel where we dropped off Eleri and Theo and then Marlys and I headed out for a walk along the ghats in search of an ATM machine. After half an hour of walking in the hot humidity of Varanasi and finally finding an ATM (out of service), we got instructions from a policeman (I think) and after another 10 minutes of walking in the chaos we found a veritable covey of ATM machines (for numerous banks...none of which you would recognize). After getting our cash it was back into the chaos and we made our way back to the hotel, pleased that we weren't run down by motorcycles, auto rickshaws, cyclists, cycle rickshaws and cars. It was quite an adventure just walking across the streets!

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