Home » India

Adventures in Varanasi – Episode 2

21 December 2012 India No comment

Varanasi

Varanasi, the shores of the Ganges, 6:00 o’clock in the morning.

Lonely Planet says that one of the best experiences in India is to see the sunrise over the Ganges in Varanasi. So we stumble into an Ambassador early in the morning towards the Ganges. With us, some Czech people. We reach the shores of the Ganges. It is dark and you could cut the fog with a knife. In the waters, the morning faithful get purified of their sins, but probably get full of dirt. We climb a boat and a girl sells some offerings – a candle in a palm leaf. We have to set it free on the Ganges. We buy, we light the candle and we let it flow on the Ganges….Karma reaches new records. Unfortunately the sun isn’t…The fog gets thicker and thicker. We take a stroll next to the Ganges and I remember the Greek Styx legend where the boatman Charon carries the souls of the dead by a boat over the foggy river to the dead world. This is how I am feeling now…From time to time, like in Harry Potter, a boat that is full of tourists appears out of the fog and disappears a few meters ahead. We are told not to take pictures of the cremating ghats. Who sees them? Oh well, the sun was supposed to rise a while ago, the stroll on the Ganges is over…. Karma isn’t that good. 

A short tour is next to a couple of temples in the city.Varanasiis a holy city, so it doesn’t lack in holy settlements. We also have a guide. He is very intense, he tells, he interprets the Vedas, no one can stop him …and us, the hordes of quiet, exhausted and barefoot tourists follow him…At every 2-3 minutes, with a thick , memorable voice, he repeats “and you remember ….Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, Shiva the Destroyer”…”and you remember…”. “And you remember…”…Yes, I will remember for as long as I will live.

Surya Hotel, 14.00 o’clock

We finished the tour, I understood who “the Destroyer” and who “the Creator” are, we come back to the flowers and squirrels oasis. The initial plan was to take the night train, this evening, to Satna, then at about 4 o’clock in the morning the bus towards Khajuraho. When hearing about train, the girls go crazy, so I need to back off…Anyway, the smart guys from the hotel didn’t buy train tickets, although I gave them money to do so. The plane isn’t an option. There is a daily Air India flight, but after phoning their office it became pretty clear to me – it hadn’t flown for a month because of the fog…I still have one hope. I tell to the hotel reception to get me a car. And I go out in the streets.

After passing by the boys with the rickshaws, I am picked up by a guy with a moustache, with a smart look on his face. We skip the usual “Hello, Sir, Where from, Nice country, Sweet name”. He proposes to take me to his silk emporium with “great prices”. I tell him “OK, I come, but I need a jeep at 4 o’clock that will take me tonight to Khajuraho and I am willing to pay 4000 rupees (around 100 dollars) for it”. “Yes, Sir, it can be done, but not a jeep, but a Tata Sumo”. What is a Tata Sumo? Well an Indian 4X4…Ok. It’s settled that I bring the girls to the emporium and he will get me the car. There is one more condition to fulfill – that I come without a rickshaw driver because he won’t be able to give me “the best prices”, he must pay the driver as well a commission. He takes me to see the emporium. I go back, take the girls, dribble around any rickshaw and we arrive at the emporium.

The silk selling in India is an art carefully cultivated for thousands of years and the Varanasi moustache guy is a master …We take a comfortable seat, some other 2 guys appear and the moustache guy throws gracefully pieces of silk, crazy colors shining in the neon lights. The girls are hypnotized…The nightmare of the train disappeared. Meanwhile, I run back at the hotel. For 4000 rupees, the hotel didn’t manage to get but an Ambassador. I send him home, I don’t need it. A few hours later I was congratulating myself for the intuition, for wanting stubbornly a 4×4. The girls reappear….full of shawls and multicolored sari’s. The moustache guy sold his silk, let’s just hope he keeps his word about the car.

Surya Hotel, 4:00 o’clock (incredibly sharp).

The moustache guy appears smiling in the back yard with the squirrels.    He doesn’t have 1 Tata Sumo, but 4. All white, all freshly cleaned. He looks at them, lifts the hood, checks I don’t know what. He comes up to me – “This is the best”. Up until now I went by his word and it was ok. I pull out the money, hand it over to the proprietor, this one gives a part of the money to the driver that receive the final instructions. We won’t have one driver, but two. One at the wheel, another in the back, instead of the luggage. We are leaving.

If you believe you have seen bad roads anywhere in the world or chaos on the streets, well, you haven’t seen a thing…You should see the highways of India – anything that can move is there – people, children, horses, cows, bicyclists, motorcyclists,  cars, rickshaws, 30 tones trucks with lights like the Christmas trees. And they all make different sounds….the industry of the horns inIndiahas a very diverse product offer. Driving is an adrenaline full activity…every minute, a 30 tones trucks comes directly at you, pushing the horn like there’s no tomorrow, and everyone avoids him at a millimeter. It’s getting darker…Is this Khajuraho far away?

The border between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh states, 21:00 o’clock

We reach the 127th village on the road. I see a barrier and we stop. Well, it wouldn’t quite be for the first time. One guy in an uniform appears and starts yelling at the drivers that are wearing their fakest nice smiles. They go into a building. What the hell is here? After about 10 minutes, the driver comes out with a face like his whole family just died. He explains in English so hard that his hands hurt that this is the border between the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh states and there’s a missing paper. I get out of the car and I go to one of the windows of the house. As soon as they see me they invite me inside…Inside, a menagerie like in the classical Bollywood movies – the chief, big, fat, with a moustache, lying back in the chair, doesn’t know one word in English. The deputy, younger, quick and skilled, smiles smooth like in a bad comedy shows towards his chief and towards me, as soon as he turns back to the subordinates or the drivers, his mood changes dramatically and he immediately sweeps the floors with them. The door opener feels without seeing when somebody is approaching the door and opens it promptly. The hard headed cook, that doesn’t understand all the culinary explanations that the chief gives to him, but eventually brings some tea and cookies. We start chatting aboutRomania,India, the weather, the fog. After about 10 minutes, we touch the main topic. Why did he stop us…Well this is the border between UP and MP and we need some sort of a paper in order for people transportation to take place. I begin the theory of the European Union where you can travel from one state to the other without a passport, without papers, without ….I talk, the deputy translates, the chief wonders. It’s time for the tougher artillery. I go to the car, say: ”Girls, make yourselves pretty, we have some negotiating to do”. They come in as well…the talks continue. I notice a calendar on the wall with the pictures of the major Indian monuments – Taj Mahal, Amber Fort, Gate of India, Golden Temple in Amritsar…I leaf through it and we all sigh of how beautiful they are. The food, tea and cookies appear again and again. Thanks God they are good, so I eat without further fuss. We hand out to everyone some 10.000 lei Romanian bills. They all look at it like they’ve seen an UFO…wow…plastic bills. I tell them that they are a gift for them…”no, not us” they all jump…”wait, you guys, this isn’t worth anything, it is just a souvenir from my country”. They relax…

Meanwhile, the chief takes the big decision. We seem nice to him, he lets us enter the holy ground of Madhya Pradesh state. The drivers are brought in, with their heads down. They are being yelled at, they shake their heads…Finally we leave…Shaking of hands, bye, bye, bye, we jump in the Tata Sumo and we leave joyfully. I look at the watch …We stayed for 2 hours, it is 11.00 o’clock pm.

The Madhya Pradesh state, 11:00 o’clock pm

They had better not give us the OK to leave at all. If the roads in Uttar Pradesh are bad, in Madhya Pradesh they practically do not exist. I tell the driver to take it over the fields. The field is much smoother than the national road, unfortunately there are some forests coming up so we go back to the road…At the headlights and the moonlight, we see a lunar landscape. Apparently the governors in the MP stole all the money for the roads unlike their colleagues in other states that only stole part of them…The problem with this street is that somebody made the mistake to pave it with asphalt. Probably, the English some 60 years ago. If they hadn’t, our journey would have been dramatically smoother…We will reach Khajuraho at 3.00 o’clock in the morning without any major happenings, but dead tired….Lucky that there’s a nice hotel waiting for us here as well, also with the name of Surya…

The Indian Odyssey isn’t finished here, but about this in other posts…

Pictures of Varanasi:

Varanasi: On the shores of the Ganges

On the shores of the Ganges

Varanasi: The offerings seller

The offerings seller

Varanasi: On the shores of the Ganges

On the shores of the Ganges

Varanasi: Puja on the Ganges

Puja on the Ganges

 Varanasi: Brahma

And remember: Brahma the Creator

Varanasi: Vishnu

Vishnu, the Preserver

Varanasi: Shiva

Shiva, the Destroyer!

Varanasi: Surya

Back at the Surya with the German girl from the train

Varanasi: In the silk emporium

In the silk emporium

Varanasi

Favorite shawls

Cat walk

Varanasi

Ready to leave with the Tata Sumo

Varanasi

We fill in the tank with gas and leave for a 13 hours trip …

Varanasi: Khajuraho

Any offer is worth the erotic temples from the Khajuraho!

Leave a comment







best smart watches
  • Advertising


    Subscribe



    Find me on Facebook




    Find me on Google+

    Find me on Twitter

    Translate this page in your language




    Me & My Flights






    Most recent posts

    MYFLYRIGHT: Taking Care of Your Passenger Rights

    26 August 2019

    MYFLYRIGHT: Taking Care of Your Passenger Rights

    We all know that when travelling by plane there’s a whole host of things that can go amiss, so you should know what you can do to fight for your rights as a passenger.

    Goa, the Indian seaside paradise

    18 March 2019

    Goa, the Indian seaside paradise

    Historic churches, Catholic relics, azulejos, crosses at the corners of the road … could it be Europe? Could it be Latin America? Well, you will find these images on the Asian continent, as well … it is Goa, a small part of Portugal transplanted thousands of miles off the Lusitanian shore, in India!

    9 Genius Uses for a Folding Wagon

    6 March 2019

    9 Genius Uses for a Folding Wagon

    A foldable wagon is not your obvious ideal purchase. However, once you get one, its uses can outdo its price. It can be folded, making it easy to incorporate into your day-to-day activities. It can easily travel and be stored. Below are genius ideas on how to maximize how you can use your folding wagon:

    Choosing an Asian Travel Destination

    11 February 2019

    Choosing an Asian Travel Destination

    Choosing a destination point іn Aѕіа fоr уоur nеxt vасаtіоn mеаnѕ choosing bеtwееn thе fоllоwіng locations: Afghаnіѕtаn, Armеnіа, Azеrbаіjаn, Bаhrаіn, Bаnglаdеѕh, Bhutаn, Brunеі, Cаmbоdіа, China, Cyprus, Eаѕt Timor, Gеоrgіа, India, Indоnеѕіа, Iran, Irаq, Iѕrаеl, Jараn, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwаіt, Kуrgуzѕtаn, Laos, Lеbаnоn, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Mуаnmаr, Nераl, North Kоrеа, Oman, Pаkіѕtаn, Phіlірріnеѕ, Qatar, Sаudі Arаbіа, Singapore, […]

    6 Tips for Taking Your Family Camping

    4 December 2018

    6 Tips for Taking Your Family Camping

    Going to a camp is a hilarious experience. This is because it gives you an opportunity to take a break from your busy lifestyle for a while. However, planning for such a getaway can be a challenge when there are kids involved. This is due to the fact that your kids may not be willing […]

    About:

    Hello Everybody !

    My name is Cezar (where the nickname "Imperator" comes from) and I have travelled to 105 countries around the world. In this blog, I would like to share with you stories, memories, travel tips & tricks and news to help you plan your journeys !

    For any questions or comments, please, feel free to contact me at imperatortravel@yahoo.co.uk

    My trip around the world can be summarized in the movie below which I invite you to watch.

    SEARCH THE SITE:

    I like to read:

    Advertising