Varanasi is an interesting place. Filled with a mixture of tourists, beggars and locals, the tourist shops sell a mixture of fake religious artifacts, candles and cheap knock-offs. Walking through the crowds can be a distressing experience, the number of street gangs of children clawing at your clothes – employed to sell their postcards and bracelets. The problem being if you give to one then you should give to all and that is impossible. You shrug them off for as long as you can, relieved as you pass through the narrow streets lined with hundreds of people, this is not necessarily a memory I wished to take from India but it is one that stuck. We attended one of the candle ceremonies (an Aarti) at the rivers’ edge the thousands of candles floating in the Ganges along with flower petals and lanterns, offerings are sent to the Goddess Ganga. These rituals are performed everyday and when complete the devotees will cup their hands over the flame and raise their palms to their forehead to gain purification and blessings. I had the opportunity to visit Sarnath, the place in which Buddha gave his first teaching after attaining enlightenment. A stunning park and some perfectly preserved archaeological remains. After a trip in some Hindustan Ambassadors and another night in the hotel it was off to Nepal – Chitwan National Park to be precise.Apologies
Source: An Indian Adventure: Varanasi and Lumbini
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