Varanasi -- boat rides on the Ganga:

(1) From Assi Ghat to the Golden Temple

Our first boat ride on the Ganges this year was from Assi Ghat up to Nepali Ghat, just north of Dashashvamedh Ghat. Destination: the Golden Temple.

Assi Ghat Tulsi Ghat
Leaving Assi Ghat - note the mud
 still left after the monsoon
At Tulsi Ghat ...
Tulsi Ghat Panchakot Ghat
... a local strongman flexes his muscles Panchakot Ghat

The dwelling at Panchakot Ghat (next-to-top floor on left, with large windows) was recently renovated and is quite beautiful inside. It is now used by the Deva Institute and can be rented by their supporters.

Chet Singh Ghat The boatman
Chet Singh's Palace Our boatman, approaching Ranamahal Ghat
Darbhanga Ghat Dashashvamedh Ghat
Darbhanga Ghat
Dashashvamedh Ghat where you have access
to the center of the town and to the bazaars

We made a good choice when we left the boat at Nepali Ghat.  We discovered that, at the top of the steps, you can turn left for the Nepali Temple, which is right there, or right for the Golden (Vishvanath) Temple, 500 m or so further on. The Nepali Temple is well worth a visit for the temple, for the nice carved wood and for the view over the ghats and the river.

Nepali Temple Nepali Temple
Nepali Temple seen from the river Nepali Ghat
Nepali Temple Nepali Temple
Lions guard the Nepali Temple Wood relief of the birth of Ganga from the
mouth of a crocodile

After visiting the Nepali Temple, we went back down the steps towards the Nepali Ghat, then took the other side and turned in the direction of the Golden Temple, which was "straight" up the street. We had tried to find it in 2006, but had started from the wrong ghat and never made it. Now, we were going to get there.

Old Varanasi Old Varanasi
Just off Nepali Ghat, the narrow streets team with life. Temples everywhere
Old Varanasi Old Varanasi
A line of worshippers waiting for admittance to
 the street of the Golden Temple
A narrow, lively street of old Varanasi, the chowk

It was only about a 5-minute walk, although we took more like 10 minutes. The streets were fascinating. And when we got to the check point, we weren't even sure we were there. There was what looked like a shop entrance, but with a long line of people waiting to get in and several policemen with an airport-style, walk-through metal detector. We couldn't take in anything but ourselves, so we went separately, with the one outside holding our cameras, backpacks and so on. Before entering, John was frisked very thoroughly twice by two different policemen. John: Afterwards, there was a narrow street lined with sellers of religious items. There were entrances to several temples and I couldn't help regretting not having a camera. First, we (I and a young man who had attached himself to us in spite of our protestations) passed a mosque, then the Golden Temple. Though non-Hindus were not allowed to enter, through a doorway you could look at the peak of Vishwanath Temple with its spire covered with the gold that gives it its title in english. Truly impressive. We could go into other temples in the same street, which were quite interesting. 

So sorry folks, no photos of the Golden Temple. Here's one from Wikipedia which they claim to be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, but it's also on a Varanasi web site, so... Also, we don't know what the white mosque is next door, but that could be the top of the mosque we saw.

Kashi Vishwanath Temple
Vishwanath Temple (Golden Temple)

Siv: I was also impressed by the very red temple at the end of the street bordered by bazaars and various small temples. It was beautiful and it was surrounded by tourists and beggars. I wished I'd had a camera. The strange thing was that people were selling things (probably to donate in the temples) all the way along the narrow street, but since you weren't allowed to have anything with you except yourself and your clothes I was wondering who would buy the things. I guess you could have sneaked some money into your pockets.

Two days later, we took another boat trip, this time to a Muslim site, the Alamgir Mosque.

Back to India 2007 or Varanasi