Magical mornings on the Ganges. .
If you watched my stories you know that I had a love-hate relationship with Varanasi. It had every stereotypical thing about India that people warn you about, the garbage, the air pollution, the crowds, the noise, the chaos, the cows, and the extreme poverty. At the same time, it had everything wonderful that I love about India. There where so many beautiful and colorful people coming to the Ganges to bathe in the river under the soft morning light. The aarti ceremonies on the ghats with thousands of people chanting in unison while the prayer leaders spun candles and incense in the air. The crazy and colorful sadhus walking around blessing people and throwing all modern conveniences to the wayside. It was such an intense mix of good and bad, chaos and calm, divine and destitute that it all became overwhelming. .
Am I glad I went to Varanasi? Absolutely! There really is no other place like it in the world. Would I go there again? Probably not. Even though I enjoyed the sights and the experience, it was the one place that was really hard to stomach. Perhaps I would have a different perspective if I hadn’t stayed in a guesthouse in the labyrinth of backstreets leading to the ghats. This area was especially bad, with lots of trash and poop. I felt so bad for the people that live in these conditions day in and day out. But I would be sheltering myself from how the people of Varanasi live to just stay in a beautiful 4 star hotel and pretend that all the suffering that occurs here doesn’t exist. Have you been to Varanasi? What did you think of it?
Picture credit @whereivebeenwandering ...