We got up slightly late in Mirzapur but reached the holy city of Banaras quite peacefully and had some local breakfast that comprised of aloo-kachaudi-gulaab-jamun and all that – it was good actually. A local dude outside this restaurant then took extreme pleasure in giving us directions to some budget hotels near ghats. I wanted to stay in a place called Tiwari lodges first – had read in Wikitravel that they gave you erotic massage and all that there. But Tiwari refused – he said the place looked crappy from outside. Finally we put our stuff in some hotel right next to a travel and tour shop that went by the name of Tiwari Travel and Tours. Tiwari must have felt quite at home. 😛
We tried Banarasi paan twice but were disappointed both times. By the way, we were the only desi tourists in Banaras – everyone else was a firang. Alright, so may be I am exaggerating but the fact is – there really were too many firangs all along all those million ghats in Banaras. The way the local boat-vallas and the small time guides tried to establish business-networks with these firangs was damn funny – at least the ice-breaking part of it. What they would do was – shout out – hailo madam or heio sir (whichever applicable though in some cases, you bet they got confused) in funny Banaras accent. The way they shouted those hailo’s to every passing-by firang was really funny (and after a while kind of annoying too) – reminded Tiwari of some Amir Khan ad that I have never seen – some of you might have. Oh, by the way we did take a boat later in the evening – just the two of us and the young boat-vaala. We even snatched away the rowing-shaft from the kid and rowed the boat ourselves for quite some time.
- Row, row, row your boat,
- Gently down the stream.
- Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
- Life is but a dream. ——————- (link)
Alright – enough written about our one full day stay in Banaras. Let the picture do the talking now. What you won’t find in the pictures are those burning corpses that we saw being cremated at ghats. As Tiwari and I leaned on one of the railings of Harishchandra Ghat to have a look at those dead bodies going black in the fire emanating from the wooden logs and all that – we wondered – that’s what everyone would meet someday – bloody death. We didn’t really say anything to each other but I guess we felt happy that we were together doing bike trips and stuff in this lifetime. You never know when you are dead – do you?
Here why should a man dwell in solitary place?
And what is the use of turning from the pleasures of sense?
And what is the use of practicing yoga or sacrificing to the Gods?
For without these one gets mukti easily in Kashi————–Diana L. Eek – Banaras: City of Light