2017 was a bit tough for me. I just wanted to disappear somewhere for some time. My plan had some barriers and they could have easily converted into excuses for the cancellation of the trip. Biggest barrier was budget. I didn't want to ask money from my parents. So,i finally managed to organise 4000rs which i had saved in the previous few months. But i was confused about destination and after searching for few days i decided to go varanasi.
Wake up your stop has come, told me the other passenger. I was still sleepy, eyes being pulled down by my lust for sleep but i picked up my bag and head outside the railway staion and took a auto till zostel.
As soon as i reached there i took a short nap and i spent most of my day in the common room chatting with other travellers from different parts of world and there i met one guy jeffrey from alaska who came to varanasi the same day as i was. I soon became a good friend with him. As it was already 4 pm so we decided to go to experience the ganga aarti which occour daily in the evening around 6pm at dashwamedha ghat. It was a great experience and i can sense the feeling of sprituality inside me and after that we both came back to the zostel and enjoyed delicious food on the rooftop cafe .
On next day i decided to roam around the ghats. i was amazed to know that there are around 87 ghats in varanasi and every ghat has its own significance. i walked from first ghat till the last ghat and didn't get bored because every ghat was different and unique and different rituals and many other activities were happening on each ghat and time passed by very quickly and then i decided to take a boat ride in the ganges. The best time to take the boat ride is at dawn when the temples at the river front are bathed in a lovely hue of orange and the ghats are just beginning to bustle with various activities and rituals. i have experinced the most beautiful sunset from the boat overlooking the ghats.
At around 8pm i went to manikarnika ghat. Manikarnika Ghat is one of the ghats in Varanasi and is most known for being a place of Hindu cremation where dead bodies are burnt 24 hours a day. Around me there were about four bodies being burnt, one about 3 meters away from me. One of the bodies I could see its face very clearly. It was the most surreal experience of my life, I didn't expect to see anything quite like that and i sat therer for around 2 hours thinking about harsh reality of life 'death". Your death or even worse, the life of a close one being taken away is something I dread of. It gives me nightmares and the thought of it makes me wonder, all our life, we live and the reward which we get at the end of it is death. Funny.
After a long and tiring day there was a surprise waiting for me. The staff of zostel have organised a bhang lassi :D for everyone and i decided to order a medium one. 1 hour passed nothing happened but after that i started feeling that my body is bouncing and suddenly i started laughing . Everyone was laughing around me and i don't even remember how that night passed by while laughing and doing conversations till midnight.
Next day i ate breakfast and checked out from my room and spend the rest of the day roaming the narrow streets of varanasi, tasting local food, drinking lassi from famous blue lassi shop (they have around 100+ flavours of lassi) and then i took an overnight train and headed back home.
Overall, it was an excellent experience. Though i was on a solo trip but i never felt alone :)
All pictures are taken by me. my instagram :