After Bodhgaya, Varanasi was quite a change. Varanasi is the main place where people go to visit the sacred Ganges river. This is the river you have all seen in pictures, with pilgrims bathing, cows wallowing, children swimming, and cremation fires that burn around the clock. All the photos are pretty authentic, but it’s hard to capture the feeling this city in pictures. It’s just amazing how tightly the city is willing to crowd in close to this river. The closer you get to the river, the smaller the streets get, the more three-dimensional everything gets. Buildings just seem to spill over on top of each other, so sometimes you have to look up to find the one you’re looking for.
We were lucky enough to find a quiet guest house (the Maruthi Guest House) a bit outside the crazier part of town, and a nearby restaurant that served Middle Eastern meals—the pita bread and hummus there was good. It was just nice to have a quiet place to retreat to at the end of the day.
Once the missing seven arrived the morning after we had arrived, it actually was quite an enjoyable visit to Varansi, and once again people were wishing they could stay a few more days instead of continuing on to Delhi ….