Friday, February 8, 2013

From Kumbh Mela to Varanasi and Kolkata

On Wednesday morning the 6th we take a boat ride to a special sand bar at the confluence where we are sprinkled with water and blessings. Only our guide goes for a dip. But he tells us our sins are washed away just by being there. These are not western style tour boats, no seats. You are supposed to sit or kneel. Not comfortable. For the ride back I lie flat.
the boats gather at the sandbar
a family heads out to bathe

a view of a few tents

Time for the long ride back to Varanasi. We arrive back at our former hotel. Two rooms have been booked for us to get cleaned up and organized for the trip back. One for 8 women and one for 5 men. About 9PM we leave for a train station out of town and safer. The station entails dragging the bags up long flights of stairs. The porters tried to over charge so we managed by ourselves. The men helped the ladies who over packed. Packs of rats live down on the tracks. A cow comes by to graze out of the trash can. How did she get here? We wait there until our train comes at about 2AM. We have sleeper berths. Not too bad. We get a solid four hours sleep. The train attendant comes by with tea way too early on Thursday the 7th.
Can you spot the fat rat?

how did this cow get here?

In Kolkata (Calcutta) we meet our new guide and head out to the outskirts of the city to our hotel. Lots of high rise apartment buildings being built out here. We are too tired for the afternoon trips to the temples. We hear the crystal/silver temple was amazing, but we were just to tired. We did wash.

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