15 March 2012

Varanasi - India's Holy City

The last city Christy and I would be exploring in India- Varanasi- was completely unique unto itself. Varanasi is said to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and is supposed to be India's holiest. Hindus believe that if they come here and bathe in the Ganges river, all of their sins will be washed away. Our first morning here, we took a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges River, and it was such a surreal experience to be seeing all the ghats, the buildings along the river, the bathers, the temples in person. As a Christian, it did feel kind of odd in Varanasi with the huge emphasis on Buddhism, Jainism, etc. But, it was really neat to be part of the whole Varanasi experience - seeing the golden glow against the buildings as the sun rose, placing a lit candle in the Ganges (a ritual which didn't go so well for me- my candle getting hit by someone else's oar!), seeing some of the cremation process that takes place along the Ganges... it's a completely Varanasi experience. It was nice when Christy and I had the opportunity to just walk along the ghats the next day, seeing what there was to see, dealing with people trying to sell stuff (for the last time in India), sitting along the river...India truly is a crazy experience- all senses are heightened here- in both good and bad ways ( but mostly good!). I'll miss seeing the bright colors against the backdrop of India, the crazy tuk tuk rides (we never did hit anyone or get in an accident, although we had some close calls!)... But I think I shall be back- if nothing more than for an authentic Indian wedding! For now... On to Singapore! Let the adventure continue!

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