Monday, January 2, 2012

New Years Day in Varanasi

New Years day in Varanasi was a good but lazy day for me. When I woke up and looked outside I was surprised to see that it was raining. It's the second day of rain in my two and a half months in India so I wasn't complaining, but it sure did make a mess considering that many of the streets here are now muddy.

Deepak, his wife and sister picked me up and we drove to the old part of the city. There was a lot of foot traffic this morning as people were making their way to the thousands of temples for their new year blessing, we were going by car and it seemed that every car in Varanasi was also on the road. It was very slow going but that allowed for a lot of people watching, something I enjoy.

When we turned a corner I was amazed to see a line of people stretching out from the maze of the old city and into the street, about two kilometers long. Deepak said the line within the maze was equally as long if not longer. Everyone was waiting to get into the ancient Shiva Temple and the wait was going to be about eight hours. I'm glad I went the other night Deepak where we had no wait. I did learn later though that because of Deepak's family name that there are privileges such head of the line, our last name carries a lot of weight in this city, something I'm beginning to see.

After some time our driver stopped the car and we started our trek into the maze of alleys within the old city. It's really challenging sharing a space that is only two feet wide with scooters and cows. Hugging the wall is something I'm becoming very good at. Once at the temple we removed our shoes and went inside. The family did their ritual prayers and received blessings from the priest. As I'm not Hindu I didn't quite understand everything that was said or done but I did participate as well, and was glad that today instead of drinking holy water I got to drink from a fresh coconut. The blessings were well received and so far 2012 is looking good.

Afterwards I went to the family house and had breakfast then back to the hotel where I just called it a day (at 1pm). Because of the rain I didn't go out and my allergies were acting up a bit so I just hung out in the hotel where the staff took really good care of me.

Today's highlights, getting blessed for the new year, eating jelabi (an addictive flour/syrup mixture that is deep fried), spending time with family. The down side of today is that I again took no pictures. I have this thing about taking the camera out in the rain...

Here are some photos that haven't been uploaded yet. These were taken in Meerut as I was heading to Delhi.

View from the street

Boy looking out from an auto rickshaw

Street side barber shop

1 comment:

  1. Great blog. I picked up on it via India Mike and have been enjoying reading your posts as progress with your trip.