Varanasi – the idea

Last year I had a job interview with the Amazon. After the introductory part the interview turned to be very technical, and my interviewer asked me, how I would have categorized the: “software” as product.

I mean…I still don’t know where I failed. The question is a kind of insane, I mean, any response could have been satisfactory, as you cannot categorize something without any advice/point of view, at least knowing the first major categories, where your new categories have to fit in. There are so many possibilities. (They didn’t hire me, so I think, it’s not necessary to tell you my ideas, which began with: software for individual or professional use).

Why I start this post by remembering myself on this interview now? We arrived to the point to organize the details of our journey. I have to find a logical approach to list the details and information of the various cities, we’ll visit.

I could go in alphabetical order, and it would fit for most of my readers, or I could take the cities in geographical order, how we reach them. It also would be very acceptable and not disputable. Anyway, I don’t like these ideas they’re too clean and too objective. This is my blog, I need a personal approach.

I will talk about the cities in order, how they became part of our journey, in this way you’ll feel the most of the organization.

How did it all begin?

It began with a documentary that Giorgio saw about a Hindu funeral in Varanasi. I guess, for a European person it is more than unusual to see the deceased burned on the riverside, in Varanasi it is the Hindu custom. As their webpage says:

Ganges in Varanasi is believed to have the power to wash away the sins of mortals.

It is something magical in that city. More than just being different – which is my choice for “strange” – it is magical.

We’ll spend here a day and a half, from November 20th to November 21st. Having so little time, we try to prepare at least two activities for the morning and afternoon, having in between enough time to spend to eat, look at the people on the streets…

I show you the most impressive things of the city:

The Durga Temple, also called Temple of the Monkeys due to the huge monkey population living in it, dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Durga.

It is situated by the pond, Durga kund. It is built by a Bengali Maharani (Queen) in the eighteenth century. It is believed that the present statue of Goddess Durga was not made by man but appeared on its own at the temple. Non-Hindus can enter the courtyard of the temple but not the inner sanctum.

Thanks to creativamente, who sent me some really useful info, I contacted a local tour guide in Varanasi who will help us to discover “the real Varanasi” during a four hour walk. We really are excited about this part of the tour. We chose the Cultural Diversity tour. You know my intercultural part…

For the evening there is more the Ganga Aarti. According to one of the members of the

The evening ritual of Ganga Aarti is a fire ritual, in which lamps are offered to the deity, in this case Mama Ganga, the river itself. The whole ceremony is quite lengthy, with conches blown, 3 incense sticks (per priest) lit and the smoke formed into elaborate patterns by the hand gestures of the priests; then tiered lamps with burning wicks are also lifted in slow circular patterns; finally a large open-pan lamp filled with oil is offered in the same way – all to the accompaniment of chanting, bell ringing, and rhythmic clapping from the devout crowd.

Throughout the ceremony, families come down the steps to the water, purchase leaf bowls filled with flowers and candles, and offer the to the river in memory of departed family members.

The ritual starts at around 6pm, with crowds gathering long before that. Musicians entertain the crowds until the priests arrive.

Lots of the shops around the ghat have balconies that tourists can watch the Aarti from – for a fee. Perhaps the view wasn’t so good, but I preferred wandering around the bottom of the ghat.

Read more:

So…that’s the first part of the immersion….


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