travel

the foggy route

After a few days rest in Delhi and Lucknow, we recharged ourselves and started our journey. but this time the weather was not supportive. our train to Varanasi from Lucknow was scheduled at 8: pm and due to fog, it was delayed indefinitely. unlike many capital railway stations in south Lucknow was totally different. there were bare minimum amenities for the passengers to sit or stand on the platform. Monkeys, Dogs, and Rodents everywhere. I somehow managed to find a place to sit for Ramaya while I have to stand straight 8 hours until my train finally arrived. we reached our destination Varanasi at 1:00 pm.

meanwhile, I understood all the trains between Delhi to Kolkata were running late by 18-24 hrs. In that case, chances for me to catch my flight o Chennai will be very less. So I was forced to cut short my program in Varanasi for 2 days to 1 day and booked another train to Kolkata where I will have at least a day time even if my train is delayed by 24 hours.

Ola helped us in Varanasi to reach Andhra ashram, where a lot of Telugu talking people are concentrated and you could get a room as cheap as Rs.400. we bought 2 buckets of hot water for Rs. 10 each and had a shower. we quickly hit the narrow roads and passed through the busy lanes sipping hot tea and came to the ghats. we sat by the ghats eating some snack enjoying the weather. it’s a beautiful part of the year where u hard see the sunshine at 2 in the afternoon. and people like us coming from Chennai where you feel like 10 AM at 6 AM we fell in love with the climate in Varanasi. After saying No to n number of boatmen, we finally negotiated a boat for both of us at Rs. 150/- where his initial offer is Rs. 600/-. There are no words to describe the beauty of the holy city, the ghats, and Ganga.

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In the evening we witnessed the most beautiful Ganga Aarti and then went to the Viswanath Mandir. It was no different from the many other temples in terms of security and ban of electrical items and cameras. but unlike many other temples, the temple authorities have the least concern towards the pilgrims who visit it. there were no dedicated locals or close rooms to leave your belongings. either you leave them at room or leave with the private people who run the coconut and garland stalls. the irony is, you need to buy a basket of flowers and garlands which cost Rs.150/- to leave your camera in a locker or rent the locker for Rs. 200/-. I walked back 3 km back to the room dropped my camera and went back to the temple. the temple was destroyed by the army of Qutb-ud-din Aibak in 1194, Sikandar Lodhi early 1500,  Emperor Aurangzeb in 1669. the present day temple is constructed by The Maratha ruler, Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore in 1780.

after a quick darshan, we ate some puri and Jilebi on the streets and head back to the room. the next morning we vacated our room and came back to the station and found that our train is delayed by 6 hours. with no place to sit, we stood on the platform until finally our last train to our last destination finally reached.

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