Throughout our travels across India we have encountered diversity. The landscape and slight cultural differences shift from the tropical south right up into the north. However there is always one city that comes up in conversation, Varanasi. Varanasi is the spiritual Capital of India! It can be one of the most challenging and unforgiving cities to explore. Although if you embrace the atmosphere and everything it throws at you will have an experience like no other.
The Holy Ganges of Varanasi
The main attraction in Varanasi is the Ganges and everything that gravitates around it. After settling into our guesthouse a few streets back we set out to explore. We immediately head for the Ghats. Concrete stairs that rise out of the Ganges, that connect with the unique architecture that spreads as far as the eye can see.
We walked down a street that was heading straight for the river. When we turned our head we saw a dead body being carried towards the river by four family members. It was expected, as we walked closer toward the river we started noticing more dead bodies. Stacks of wood started appearing. We realized we were walking straight towards a stretch of the river where cremations were taking place.
Right there in front of our eyes were family’s huddled around grieving for their loved one’s. The bodies being cremated, sandwiched between a stack of wood on the edge of the spiritual river.
Here is a full list of things to do :https://www.thrillophilia.com/things-to-do-in-Varanasi
The Ghats stretch for kilometers, with each step throwing something new into your face. Beggars were common but their methods different. People bathing themselves in the river, where raw sewage and burnt ashes of the deceased lay. By far my favorite experience was playing cricket with the locals on the Ghats, they were unbelievably good players. Cricket is immersed in their culture. With a further several days spent in Varanasi we came across some of the most memorable sights I have ever witnessed.
Being our last taste of India before we head the boarder of Nepal I couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion to the country. India has been full of unexpected challenges and experiences. It has completely changed my perspective on humanity and the diversity of the planet.