By the Ganga in Varanasi

Just a little more, I tell myself as I follow the hotel attendant up steep stairs to my hotel room.

I am in Varanasi after what seems like a long, long day. A day that began with an early morning flight to Delhi getting delayed, leading to my almost missing the connecting flight to Varanasi. And then there was this ride from Varanasi airport through the most crowded roads I have been through in recent times. All this was enough to stress me out on the very first day of a holiday that I had started planning in May this year.

When the hotel attendant opens the door to my room, I can’t believe my eyes. The view is exactly as the hotel website claims it would be: an uninterrupted view of the river Ganga or the Ganges or Ganga ji as the locals call it. All my tiredness and irritation vanishes in an instant as I sit down on the chair in the balcony and let Ganga ji take over.

For the next 3 days, if I was not exploring Varanasi or resting, I would be at the balcony watching life go by. Presenting some vignettes from the room with a view:

View of the southern ghats

View of the northern ghats. The cluster of boats that you see is around the Dashashwamedh Ghat, the most "happening" ghat in Varanasi

All lined up and waiting for passengers. Blue is the preferred colour for most boats

The lights from the Ganga Aarti at Dashashwamedh Ghat is so bright that everything else is silhouetted

Sunrise at Varanasi

Durga visarjan at Chausatthi Ghat

This cheeky monkey leapt and pranced for me, and even made faces, before attempting to snatch my camera away !

A lone sailing boat in the distance makes for a perfect photo-op

Sitting in the balcony of the hotel I stayed in and watching (and photographing) life on the Ganga was quite addictive. Even when I was not out in the balcony, my ears would be tuned to the sounds that carried up to my room—the sound of oars against the water, the drone of the occasional motor boat, people diving into the waters, prayers and songs, temple bells, and sometimes even conversations.

I stayed at Sita Guest House at Chausatthi Ghat, a central location, on the banks of the Ganga. Though the location is great, access to the hotel is not. It is through winding, twisting alleys and paths so narrow that you can’t spread out your arms. This also means that vehicles cannot come up to the entrance of the hotel, necessitating a walk of about half a kilometre or more. Though the hotel staff come to pick you up and drop you off, and help with the luggage, it can still be a bit of a chore to navigate the alleyways.

But it was all worth it just for that view, that wonderful room with a view. That healing, soothing, relaxing view of the Ganga and by the Ganga. :-)

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28 thoughts on “By the Ganga in Varanasi

  1. How did you find the hotel? It is not so easy to find one with such vantage point to view the Ganga! I must remember to ask you about places to stay when I travel :)

    Lovely pics and even better commentary.

    • This place was recommended to me by a friend of a friend. Then I did an online checking of the place and went ahead with this. The location made my Varanasi trip even more special.

    • Actually, I didn’t see any sand mining. The water near the banks was very muddy though mid-stream it was much clearer. The reasons for the muddy water can be attributed to the rains which had stooped just 2 days before my arrival to Varanasi

    • Thank you, Sunil. Varanasi was never on my list of dream destinations, but the 3 days spent there can never be forgotten. And I hope that your dream to visit such a place happens soon :-)

  2. I have spent a portion of my childhood in a house next to Ganga. I can relate to most of your post and pictures. You have mercifully left the stinking, greasier side of the place unraked.

    • Well I did see a lot of the stinking, greasier side as well as many unrecoognisable things floating past me. But the positives of the place far outweighed the negatives, and my post reflects that, I think.

      Thank you for stopping by and ommenting, Umashankar. Hope to see you around here regularly.

  3. Very serene & spiritual Ganga & surroundings accompanied by a good narration.
    Saw the guest house’s website. Quite reasonable. Having a balcony was a plus point.

    And so was the monkey able to snatch your camera? :-)

  4. Blue boats,
    silhouettes,
    pink horizon,
    vignettes;
    prayers
    drifting upwards
    dazzling golden
    waters..
    Like the mind,
    sometimes sweet
    sometimes unkind..
    Muddled confusion
    ringing through
    clearing cobwebs
    as you
    gently take
    my hand and
    make the
    meaningless
    midnight…
    peaceful..

  5. What a wonderful place to stay! the first time i visited varanasi, we stayed far from the city at the airport quarters… the second time it was for performing rituals with my in laws, so we stayed at the mutt! the next time i shall surely look for a place like this!

    • Sita Guest House was a great place to stay in and the views from my room were incomparable. It was also far away from both the burning ghats, yet close enough to the Dashashwamedh Ghat, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple, and a 10 minute walk to the main road. The hotel’s only drawback is that vehicles cannot come up to its doorstep and if you have luggage then the hotel staff have to come and pick you upand drop you off. The food caters more to the international tourist rather than the domestic tourist. I was travelling alone and I found it safe and the hotel staff friendly and non-interfereing. :-)

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