To Varanasi, or not to Varanasi?

So off I set a few days ago (oops, you can tell how backdated this is, it’s now just over a week ago!), from Kathmandu to Varanasi. The new direct service should get me there in about 18 hours right? (it took 21!).

Overall the journey wasn’t so bad. Although I did have to laugh when it started to rain inside  the bus as well as outside the bus! All of sudden I could feel my socks (which were resting comfortably against the window, doing a grand job at providing my feet with toastie warmth and comfort) getting wet. Hmmm….?? Then little droplets of water, followed quickly then by great big fat droplets of water falling down from above my head.

“Yeah, so, the bus is leaking guys… Anyone?? No??”

Okay then.

I mean, it was fine – it wasn’t happening on every row, so a quick change of seats, resume as horizontal a position as one can get on a bus, and the world was okay again.

So after our 21 hour bus journey, arriving late afternoon, and after a bit of a mix up of hostels…

– the tuk tuk driver dropped us off at the wrong hostel! I hadn’t even realised this until after about 10 minutes of me being completely adamant that actually “I do have a reservation with you” I finally asked “this is Zostel right?”…awkward moment!

“Oh so you’re not Zostel then? Okay, makes sense now.”  Cringe!  –

…finally we arrived at destination point.

I think for now Varanasi, I’m tired. Tomorrow I will explore you.


For now, Goodnight.

Good Morning Varanasi! You hectic, noisy, polluted, colourful, vibrant, chaotic, exciting place you!

And it really is all those things.

I spent the good part of an entire day exploring the city, by foot and by tuk tuk.

We somehow ended up visiting an area of town that is predominantly responsible for manufacturing silk goods. Scarves, blankets, cushion covers, all showcasing the gorgeous bright colours we’ve known to expect from India:


It’s not a great picture, but you can see the intricate detail and the beautiful colours that are used on these automatic looms.

For me though, it was all about seeing the Ganges and the Ghats. That is why I came here, this is what I’ve come to see…

…sadly though, the rains had done a splendid job at hindering this.

The Ganges were full, the Ghats were hidden, that iconic view was not to be seen.  

Ah nuts!

I mean, I did still get a wave of excitement, even just to be by the Ganges, in Varanasi – I could still definitely feel the presence of where I was. The streets were crooked and narrow, brightly painted walls of greens and blues from inside people’s homes and shops, lit the way. Men and boys jump from roofs into the waters where they would bathe and swim, ignoring the pollution that engulfs their bodies, or swallowed down into their gullets. Cows lining the streets, oblivious to the mayhem that swarmed around them.

This, my friends, is Varanasi.


Jumping from roofs into the Ganges


Narrow streets.


A days work.

So would I recommend, to Varanasi? Or not to Varanasi?

Oh without a doubt, to Varanasi! You have to experience it – it’s one of the worlds oldest cities, and to be there is to feel it and understand it.

But the one thing I will say…. It’s not for the fainthearted folks, you need to stay aware of the fact that it is old and it is stinky and it is a little bit nuts. Once you have made your peace with that…you’ll be flying 😉

“Enjoy the crazy.”








4 thoughts on “To Varanasi, or not to Varanasi?

  1. Going to the wrong hotel in Varanasi sounds familiar,We arrived, jumped in a tuk tuk to go to the hotel we had chosen from our Lonely Planet book, A bit further down the road the driver turned arouns and said the hotel wasn’t there anymore.We chose a new hotel from the book and off we went. Again we stopped. The hotel had burnt down he said. Ok we got the picture.Where would you like to take us I asked. In a flash we were at his preferred hotel. Keeping a sense of humour helps in India. I ‘m sure things haven’t changed that much even though it was over 30 years ago. Yes I’m with you Jennifer – to Varanasi ! Hope the rain clears for you.

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