13. October 2016 Travel 0
Our day started at 530am. We met our tour guide, Ayoosh, for an early look at the Varanasi. We started our tour at the Ganges, where hundreds of people gather every morning to chant, pray, perform music, meditate, practice yoga, and in general say good morning to the river. We watched the sun rise and drank lemon chai after taking in the sights and sounds.
After walking along the riverfront, we headed to a famous temple known for having reproductive powers. Hindus believe that bathing at the temple increases fertility, and we watched numerous couples take the plunge together. Ayoosh told us there is a particular day every year where thousands of couples come to take a dip (which can take a full 24 hours of waiting time), while on average the temple welcomes about 80 couples per day.
Next, we headed into the streets of Varanasi to find a cup of Masala chai. We watched a vendor pay careful attention to each cup he made, and it showed in taste.
We visited another temple, while stopping at a few viewing points along the river as well. Our morning tour ended around 11am, and after over 5 hours of touring we were spent. I was thrilled to see my bed at the hotel.
After a nice long nap and lunch at the hotel, we took to the streets of Varanasi again at 330pm. We met up with Anchal and Ben, another traveler from Australia via Scotland, to go on a food adventure. India is notorious for both delicious food and ‘Delhi belly’, so we did our best to walk the line. We stopped at 7 places in total on our adventure, which included the best Samosa (also the best thing I’ve eaten so far in India) I’ve ever had.
We also sampled Chat, a local favorite in Varanasi, plenty of sweets, Puri Perri, and Baan, a leaf pouch often filled with tobacco by locals. Our food outing ended with sweet lassi – I chose pomegranate while Amanda went with Banana-chocolate – and a visit to a local chai house where we sampled and made our own tea.
So far – no Delhi-belly to report. Wish me luck.