(October 23, 2014) Varanasi: Diwali
This is Diwali day. After our early flight, which should make
arrive to Varanasi at 10:25 AM, we’ll explore Varanasi ghats and
enjoying this city in so special day. We’ll get a boat tour by night to
see the lights of the city from Ganges River.
The spots marked at map are:
1- Ghat Dasaswamedh
2- Ghat Marnikarnika
3- Ghat Scindhia
4- Ghat Man Mandir
5- Ghat Munshi
6- Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple
7- Shri Kashi Visalakshi Temple
We pay the 1500 Rs hotel asks us for a private
taxi to the airport. It is expensive but we want to get there as soon
as possible and they’ve advanced breakfast time only for us, so we take
our breakfast at 6:30 AM and leave at 7 AM.
We reach Varanasi as scheduled and hotel’s staff
is waiting for us at the airport. The trip to the hotel has two stages:
by car from airport to Old City and, once there, by foot, following two
boys carrying our bags over their heads, through the make made by this
narrow and busy streets to the hotel.
We must wait our room is ready, so we enjoy the views to Ganges they
have and decide to take our lunch now in the meantime. This is a veg
restaurant, but we’re already used to this Indian food so good. It is
cheap too as we pay 387 Rs in total. Then, the room is delivered to us.
As all rooms in our booked category are busy we get the only room in
better category, which is amazing.
After a short rest we leave the hotel for a walk.
is walking through these streets to the Nord and coming back by the
riverside and ghats, where we can find the hotel easily.
We join these busy and small streets which make people know it is
Diwali using decorations similar to the ones we use for Christmas.
There are also a lot of people shopping, sweets mainly, and we stop by
a store to get a box of one of each sort of sweets to taste them all.
This is really a maze and we must ask several
know where the river is as we can easily lose directions in the middle
of this chaotic organization for streets.
When we go down to the river – as the entire city
is a level up to the river in order of being saved from its rises – it
looks like we are at the very North and walk South along the river
through the ghats looking for a sign to know our position.
This sign comes with the cremations where the
piles of wood and the bodies on fires point we’re in Manikarnika. I
expected worst smell here, but it is like firewood.
We keep walking through the ghats and looking
their inhabitants: gurus, vendors, boatmen, cows, goats and people in
religious fervor. We reach our hotel quicker than expected, so we just
keep walking a little bit more until the most crowded ghat:
This is the place where the ceremony Aarti is
performed. It is a Hindu worship to Ganga River and it is performed
every day at 6:30 PM. We take the offer from hotel desk for having a
boat by 70 Rs per person and hour.
We spend the time until Aarti on exploring the
Northern gaths, the same we’ve just explored by walking, including the
Lights give a magical look to the buildings at river
shores against the darkness and calm of the river, where we are. Now,
Diwali lights are joining to the usual. The festival is here and we
want to be part of it. We’ve bought an offering to a girl which is a
floating recipient with some flowers and a candle on it, and we light
it and leave it on the river to let it join with all the others
bringing light to the water too.
Across the river, there is a huge deserted sand area, but
tonight is where the fireworks and crackers activity is taking place
A lot of boats are concentrating in front of Dasaswamedh Ghat looking
for a place to watch the Aarti ceremony. It takes one hour, but we
spend 30 minutes before asking the boy for coming back to the hotel.
This beautiful night boat ride ends with 150 Rs and we
go to sleep with the thunder from the crackers, which won’t stop in the
entire night. Tomorrow we must be ready at 5:30 AM for another boat