Varanasi is still after staying here a couple of days quite interesting. Almost every corner shows you something new – sometimes amazing and sometimes disgusting.
I forgot to mention in my last post that I finally bought a SIM-Card from Vodafone. This enables me to walk more freely around without depending on the hostels WIFI. It is quite easy to get one SIM-Card, the only stuff you need are a copy of you passport and your VISA. Combining these two things with some Rupees summons you a SIM and therefore mobile Internet.
The SIM-Card also allows me to choose the Guesthouses more freely. Before I had to check first if the Internet is working properly before the check-in. But the common problem is that usually the Wifi is quite slow or not working in the Evening because many people come back from their day trips and want to share impressions with their friends or simply read news. As already mentioned, I need the Internet to finish my work back in Germany and therefore reliable Internet is a necessary thing.
The mobile network of India seems to be worlds better than in Germany. You have almost everywhere a 3G connection with a good speed. I think thats related to the technical history of India. They don’t have a long history of landline connected phones and therefore the mobile network gets more investments. The Deutsche Telekom still sticks to their outdated network with bad connection and high prices without investing in further connectivity. So for example if you travel from Mannheim to Berlin you will have for almost 60% of the time not mobile Internet or a ridiculous slow connection.
Further most Indian live their lives on the street and don’t have a real house for using a landline connection. The only thing they have is their mobile phones which are quite cheap to buy in India. I think thats another reason for the great mobile network of India.
Patricia (the Spanish traveller) and me decided today to explore the Ghats of Varanasi. Just walking around the different Ghats is an adventure you should do for sure. Every Ghat is different and serves for its own purposes. There are the Burning Ghats which are used for the cremation of dead people in order to bury them into the Ganges River. Other Ghats are used for having the morning bath, playing Cricket or also to wash and dry clothes. The Ghats are quite busy at daytime since many different people hanging around there, starting from locals, tourist up to religious people having their meditation there.
Walking around the Ghats means also to be asked several time if you want to do a boating in the Ganges: “Boat? Hey Mister you need a Boat? Hashish?”. But after staying about almost two weeks in India you’re getting used to all these questions. You start to filter them out of your cognition and therefore they don’t disturb you anymore. You also don’t answer them because answering means to waste your time. The Touriwahllahs are everywhere and they used to be good storytellers ;).
We begun our Ghats tour to the Asi Ghat on the Main-Ghat which is also everyday the place for the Dev Deepwali. The Asi Ghat marks practically the end of the old Ghats. So what are Ghats? Basically, they are just a way with stairs next to the Ganges river. Using the stairs you’ll always find a way back to Old-Varanasi. Almost every Ghat has their own Art and different styles containing sometimes political or usually religious messages.
The end of the stairs are marked by awesome historical buildings that have seen their best times a long time ago. They must be very nice at the prime time of Varanasi. Being now old and not very good maintained they still keep somehow the glamour of their old times. Many of them are used for restaurants or hostels. The owner don’t any maintenance or renovation on them and thats something you can see for sure.
Starting our tour quite late at 4pm the sunset was starting quite soon and therefore it became fast dark. The Ghats have all their different facets at nighttime. Some of them are turned into a Cricket field.
Almost every night you can enjoy a Cricket game on the Main-Ghat after the Dev Deepwali. Nevertheless of stairs and no flat space all people enjoy the game with a quite energy. Even if the ball find its way into the water, the player don’t hesitate to jump in to get it back.
So if you have any chance to be at night in Varanasi, visit the Ghats for sure at night in order to enjoy a Cricket Game. In my opinion its more interesting then seeing a game on a real cricket field.