Siv had caught a bad cold in Nepal, starting in Pokhara, so we went to an Indian pharmacy there. We were amazed at the cost of medicines, which was very low because of their being supported by the government. In addition, they open the box and snip off the number of pills you need, so there's no waste.

John came out of the Narayani River on the back of Saraswati with his own cold. So we spent the first three days in Varanasi mostly convalescing. The second morning, we visited the Deva Center briefly and participated in the start of the day.

On the morning (late) of the third full day, John managed to get himself moving enough to walk down to Assi Ghat to sample the best of Varanasi. All the usual life was there: worshippers, vendors, cleaners ... even sleepers. A marvellous place!

Nandi and siestaYoung sweeper
Siesta with NandiYoung sweeper
Wadin' in the waterCLeaning up
Wadin' in the water -- and another sleeperBathing and cleaning

The next two days were taken up with DISCC activities (English-teaching workshop and visit to Sarnath and Ashapur). Rest was pretty much out of the question, especially considering that the holidays were an excuse for a big show on a specially-built stage at Assi Ghat, complete with Bollywood stars, singers, comics and about 1000 very powerful loud-speakers aimed directly towards our hotel. They broadcast live ... uh, music until around 01:00.

Festivities at Assi GhatFestivities at Assi Ghat
Stage, lights, fireworks and noise!

The third day, in the morning, John took the prize walk -- from Assi Ghat up to Dashashwamedh Ghat. That is always fascinating, with lots of local doings to see along the way. Already, the stage for the previous nights' festivites was a shambles.

Sic transit gloria mundiWashing away monsoon silt

On nama Shiva yaShiva shrine
Darbhanga GhatJumping in
Darbhanga GhatJumpin' in
ShaveAll dolled up
A really comfortable shave
All dolled up
Hungry cowParade comin'
This cow was eating that clothA parade is comin'

I arrived at Dashashwamedh Ghat just before a parade showed up. For some reason, a clarinetist came over and played directly to me, the (very) former clarinetist! Coincidence or karma?

That afternoon, we visited the DISCC's Sankat Mochan Center for victims of leprosy. The following three days were given over entirely to DISCC activities, with visits to the Gangotri and Ambedkar Schools as well as a workshop for CEP students. Only on the morning of the last day did we get the time and energy to descend to the ghats just after dawn.

Back to home page/accueil or to Nepal India tour