My Varanasi Tour with a Shiva Devotee: Shiva City

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18 Responses

  1. Your trip looks beautiful! The cremation pyres looks really interesting – right up my alley!

    • Teja says:

      LOL I don’t know that I would do it again – I was conflicted over my morbid curiosity. But since I was invited… when else would I be invited to witness something normally so private?

  2. Wow!! What an experience. It sounds like Varanasi would definitely be overwhelming, but I think that would be true of most of India. The history and culture there is so abundant; I think it’d be so interesting to visit! Thank you for such a detailed guide :)

    • Teja says:

      My first trip to Goa/Karnataka was quite ok actually! Sirsi was just a sleepy rural town. I think there are definitely parts of India which are not overwhelming even for a foreigner. But Varanasi, and Uttar Pradesh in general, is definitely among the parts that are.

  3. Lori Tripoli says:

    India is on my bucket list, and this writeup on Varanasi is very helpful. I especially like your descriptions of the different types of ghats. The photos are beautiful, too.

  4. This is such a heartfelt post. You bring the chaotic city of Varanasi alive through your words. The narrow bylanes, the ghats, the temples…everything in Varanasi has a story to tell.

    • Teja says:

      Thank you. A city so ancient, feels a certain way – I’m glad I could resurrect something of what that felt like!

  5. Josy A says:

    Beautiful writing Nuraini. You really transported me off with your on your journey around this city of contrasts.

    I have visited Varanasi before, but it was half a lifetime ago, and most of my memories are more feelings and images rather than facts or information about it. Reading this made me feel all nostalgic for visiting India.

    • Teja says:

      I’m glad it came off the way I intended! I was worried I would come across schizophrenic, trying to write about India. It has definitely challenged me as a writer, to re-create that atmosphere.

  6. Zoe says:

    An interesting read for a wednesday night. You have some great photos that complete the story. I don’t think its a place I would find myself very soon though.

    • Teja says:

      That’s ok. I didn’t think I would either – until last year. India is not a country that everyone can be prepared to experience. It can often be ‘too much’. But I hope my writings can help those who don’t make it there, understand the people who did go when they talk about India.

  7. Brianna says:

    What an experience. It sounds like your trip was greatly enriched by meeting this local guide. You make an excellent point about romanticizing poverty. They are very real problems. I guess despite infrastructure problems though, locals can still be proud of their city and what it has to offer to culture. Thanks for sharing, that was a very thoughtful and informative post.

  8. Varanasi has a very old world charm, and you have captured the narrow bylanes and ghats beautifully. I was very young when i visited, a return trip as an adult is a must.

    • Teja says:

      There’s something about very old world cultures. Something that I don’t get in fairly young countries – and by young I include even Europe, outside of the Mediterranean. A hint of suspicion from the residual awesomeness, that maybe, just maybe, one’s ancestors were cleverer and greater than oneself in the present day. And maybe, just maybe, the assumption that human progress is linear and upwards is just from the European experience for whom it has been true, due to the youth of that civilisation.

  9. Sami says:

    What an interesting overview! I have never heard of this and had to do a quick google search. Some of that architecture is stunning!

  10. Brianna says:

    I loved reading this! You’ve captured both the chaos and the quiet reflection that is iconic of Varanasi! Definitely a city I’d like to see someday.