Thursday, February 13, 2020

Varanasi - North India (Part 3)

Varanasi. Yes. Of course. Precisely. Varanasi. So far. So good. Nothing much, honestly, no much I should complain about. In fact. A promising, fulfilling start I must state. Except maybe. The setback? Hotel Silk City. Mmmm!! Like a dungeon. Furnitures, fittings and the overall set-up? As if you have checked into an ancient old, war-torn hotel. To tell you the truth. I didn't know how to react the moment I stepped in. Sadly. Not at all to my taste infinitely. Then again? When you didn't pay for a  5 star  or even 4 star hotel? Keep quiet. Don't act, or behave like a standard mudguard please. Just make do with it. Yep. I had to remind myself.  Over and over, again and again. On a better note? Bathroom. The blessings to a clean, spic and span bath and toilet area. Thank god. The only bingo. The only bonus seemingly.

Now, where did I stop the last time? Okay. Varanasi! According to Nava K till this far? (Varanasi Part 2 & Varanasi Part 1). An absolute meaningful Hinduism, religionism god or gods profound matter. Yes please. Without a doubt. Varanasi! Also. The oldest surviving city in the world. The cultural capital of India and our, your or my trip to Varanasi will be shame, shame, shame, shameless, if we don't make it a point in exploring Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple (Golden Temple). Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple! Truly! Really! Indeed! The starlight, star bright, sincere, genuine highlight in Varanasi. Constructed in year 1780. Standing on the western bank of India's holiest river Ganges and Lord Shiva being the undisputed god strength in Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Furthermore, Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple is not only of tremendous religious value, but as well as, an important part of the Heritage Walk in Varanasi. Drawing thousands or hundreds of devotees and tourists. Either daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. Let alone on special, specific religious occasions.
Our moment in time of embracing Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple during this late evening? By the hour by far, when sun was slowly going down and its glow slowly fading further and further deeper and further into gods kingdom? We walking into temple's compound whilst passing by the street stalls lined on both sides and cleanliness within this area?  I shall. I must for a fact keep my big fat mouth shut. Yet. The moment I walked down the stairs leading to Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, across Ganges? My-My-My. Hair standing. Seriously. I don't know about the rest, for me personally? Simply splendidly overwhelming. As if the automatic Hinduism religious button in me has been tuned up for gently blowing all over me. In and out. Inside and outside for touching my inner and outer senses.
Having said that, the burning of bodies or seeing bodies being carried to be burned? Ohhhhh! Petrifying and terrifying until my wild imagination almost going haywire or bizarre. What if? The bodies, all of sudden waking up, and staring, or heading towards me? Zombieland! Thank god. Nothing of that sort. Half an hour allocated for whatever we wanted to, pleasing to our legs, hands and picture clicking, later, by 7.00pm, into the boat for drifting in the waters of Ganges. For getting closer to Shri Kashi Vishwanath Temple, and being amongst the hundreds who were in their boats for witnessing the Sandhya Aarti/religious ritual from the boat itself. Wahhhh! The prayers. The mantras. The holy chanting. The lights of the alter. So, so, absolutely "joy to the world" and we also paying a couple of rupees for the flowers and a tiny candle in it. Candle lighted up, before allowing, by carefully dropping in the water for swimming at it own pace in Ganges water. Pow-wow! While still at watching the prayers and prior to, by 8.30pm, heading back to the hotel.

Dinner? Dinner for me? No dinner. I was not in the mood for food. Just a cuppa of coffee in my room and after showering, crashing on the bed. What about next morning wee hours prayers for praying to your ancestors? For which you have to pay? Neh! I couldn't be bothered. Neither did it make any sense to me. The rest. Maybe 1/2 of them, they went ahead. Whereas myself? Up by 7.00, shower and to the dining area for buffet breakfast. Breakfast? Breakfast in India? Well. Like what? Tosai, vadai, idli, and what not Indian, which basically is like the standardised Indian breakfast items. Of course, nothing like a cuppa or two of Bru Coffee for Nava K.
Sightseeing? Later than expected due to wee hours prayers ending later than predicted or projected. Damn! Anyway, we returned back to Varanasi again by late morning and this time for dipping whatever. Whichever part of your body or your whole body in Ganges water. Did I? Of course not. I didn't even dare put my toes or fingers despite being convinced that Ganges pollution is not as bad as being said or spoken. No. Still a big no, no, no, no and no, no, from me regardless. Some of course. They dipped. Myself? Aha! Oh-well? Let the posing begin! Cracking the lens of my hand-phone camera.

Within the next 1 1/2 hours? Boat driven. The boat drive, mind you, which opened up for an overview of this whole area, plus, as far as  you can stretch your vision on Ganges as well.

Thereafter, we getting down at Meer Ghat, across another angle of Ganges, where Vishalakshi Temple/Vishalakshi Gauri Temple is located. Vishalakshi Temple. The most holy temples devoted to the Hindu Divine Mother, Adi Shakti and of course, when temples are a concern. Like I have told you before? Pray. Pray your heart out, pray  your lungs out, or pray your mind out. Yours truly? As crack, as crazy, as noisy, as loud, as unique and outstanding as she is? But definitely not till rolling or banging my head on the floor. Just. Maybe. 5 minutes most to most, in prayer pose or anjali pose. Done and over. Time out of Vishalakshi Temple and as we walked towards our coach, yea, some time for shopping or window shopping at the shops or stalls throughout the whole area.

 Lunch? Believe me you. At 4.00pm. That too like a rush. In restaurant Taste Of Benaras. The only food they could accommodate?

Tosai and coffee, prior to rushing for time for boarding our flight back to Delhi from Varanasi airport and prior to bidding bye-bye to our wonderful, amazing and such a darling guide, Mr Ashok. Mr Ashok. One of the best tour guides. Down to earth and full of soul like me. The Indian sentimentalism and emotionalism in me when shaking hands and saying bye-bye to Mr Ashok? Hard rocked.
Up next - Jaipur.  

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