Friday, November 12, 2010

Leaving Varanasi

Hi everyone. Josh and I are just finishing up our last afternoon in Varanasi, and preparing for a 17 hour train journey to Kolkata this evening. Hopefully the train is only 17 hours. Our train from Agra to Varanasi ended up being four hours late because of a coal cargo derailment at the Varanasi station. It messed up all the traffic in Northwestern India.

Varanasi is a very interesting city. We came in on the night of a festival where Krishna tosses a ball in the Ganges, wades in after it, and ends up fighting with and taming a naga (multi-headed snake). Our guide got us a boat and we watched the spectacle from the river. It was a mess of boats tied together making a boat-island that people ran around on top of for the best view. After that, we headed down river to watch a nightly 45 minute ceremony to Mother Ganga (the river) where the Brahman priests waved around incense, peacock feathers, flaming naga candelabras, and something akin to a golden Christmas tree of fire in graceful motions. It involved a great deal of bell ringing as well.

Our next stop is Kolkata and the end of the northern portion of our tour. We'll be flying south in 2 days, into much warmer weather. We hope all is well wherever you may be reading this from. Sorry for the lack of photos, we made a photo DVD, but the old computers we have internet access on only have CD readers. We'll try to change these google images with our own soon!

This photo is from Mamalapuram on the southern part of the tour.

And here is one from Rishikesh. Will write more soon!

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