We were super excited to get to Varanasi and it was one of Charlie’s ‘must do’ places when he heard what it was all about.
We flew in late at night but already could see the craziness that came with the city. A completely different vibe to Delhi but just as hectic. Luckily we met Aniko and Pierre, a lovely French/Canadian couple who wanted to share a cab. It was great to swap travel stories and get to know each other on our 1 hour ride.
Varanasi was also exciting as Charlie was about to have his first hostel dorm room experience! It might seem an odd choice for our location but the reviews of this place were amazing. We checked into our hostel and pretty quickly knew we had made the right choice. The hostel building was in 600 years old and on a temple which is over 1200 years old. Pretty spectacular place, newly renovated and has the best rooftop views of Varanasi right on the GangesWe had dinner on the roof then headed to bed for an early night which was all going well until we were woken at 5am with the call to prayer. We took the opportunity to run up to the roof and watch the sunrise. The sunrise was nice but it’s not the clearest, however the whole of Varanasi comes to life when the sun comes up. It was the best way for the two of us to see Varanasi in daylight for the first time!After a couple hours nap we had some breakfast then went out to explore. It’s such a magic place here and there’s a charm that grabs you. It’s fascinating to watch everyone bathing, washing clothes and even their cows.The hostel was offering a free walking tour so we added ourselves to that and got a tour of the streets, different ghats and walked past a crematory where they cremate bodies on the river.It was a great tour done by one of the hotel staff who was born here. It was also great as we got the opportunity to meet some other people from the hostel. We became friends with Alex and Adam who we ended up sharing a boat tour with for the evening Ganga aarti ceremony. Oh and we found this sunbathing cow… Getting on the boat for the evening ceremony was great. We shared the boat ride with our friends from the airport Aniko and Pierre, as well as Alex and Adam from the hostel. Our boat tour was done by a 12 year old boy who loved getting his picture takenFloating down the Ganges during dusk was so beautiful and so peaceful. There was a lot to look at and take in.The ceremony that followed was just as good. The Ganga aarti is a daily performance called Angi Pooja (worship of fire) performed by priests on the main ghat. It’s full of light, inscense, fire and music.After the ceremony ended we went back to the hostel with everyone for some food on the rooftop.
The next day we got up and headed to a place called Saranath with our new friend Adam. We spent our time there walking around the temple and the ruins before grabbing some lunch and heading back.Our last night we spent having dinner on the roof, making plans for the next few days and taking in the view one last time. One of our favourite views was at 5pm when all the locals both children and men go up to their roof to fly kites in the sky. There can be thousands in the sky at one time!