Varanasi, India Part I

May 2, 2013

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Varanasi has a certain…spirit to it, for a lack of a better word. It sits thick in the air like frizzy humidity, heavily blanketing the whole place. The spirit is made out of this weird calmness; where you still have the typical bellowing of prices, hustling of fanny packs, hawking of loogies, and nerves being frayed… but you can also feel the strangely settled peace inside the people you meet eyes with and pass by. People from all over the world come here to walk the ghats that lead into the Ganges River in old sandals, and to learn from the naked Sadhus (Holy Men) that live in tarp tents along it, trying to find out the Rubik’s Cube of a secret of how to let go of this antsy world and find peace inside themselves.

Me though, I’ve never really carried much angst on these little shoulders of mine. But with romantic markers like “the oldest living city on earth” and”spiritual capital of blessed India” under its belt, I could only imagine the inspiration philosophers, poets, and writers got just walking those dirt paved, winding streets. And I wanted to be part of that company, so off I went with my notebook under my arm and my mind ready to be stirred.

And this place was nothing short of beautiful. Much like the rest of India, Varanasi decided to kick the idea of an organized grid system for streets, and instead chose to lay out the roads much in the same way a tangled ball of yarn would look like on the carpet.

A mess. A beautiful, frustrating mess.

You’re forced to walk these intricately winding roads and constantly end up exploring more than you bargained for since of a wrong turn here and most certainly there. You find yourself backtracking, then backtracking your backtracks… and then vaguely (and somewhat desperately) grasping at landmarks you might have passed until you start figuring our the rhyme and reason to the madness. The streets themselves look more like tight alleys, with sand and dirt acting as roads and cows lazily walking with you to your next restaurant or trinket store. There’s as much cow dung on the ground as flip flops walking it, and though you would think it’s gross you oddly start getting used to it. After five weeks in India I barely notice them as I skip over the plops with my dupata over my nose, affectionately patting a cow on the rump as I pass.

If you want to read more about my time in Varanasi, head over to my tumblr HERE!
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Here you can see the Indians bathing in the river!
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A Holy Man
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The Holy Men we drank 7up with haha
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  1. I'm sure it's not quite the same, but when we visited Venice, we were always lost! There streets made no sense and I felt like instead of a grid pattern it was more triangular.


  2. Amazing pictures! xoxo

  3. I can actually feel the heat coming off these pictures. I'm just curious how your accommodations were when you were there. Did you have a shower? I'm the worst traveler on the planet so I obviously think of these things lol



    Southern (California) Belle

  4. amazing photos, love to explore India someday:))

  5. These are incredible photos! (:


  6. I am back from my "break" and I find all this and a new blog design (?...or my losing it).

    These pictures are so colorful. Makes my environment seem so bleh.

  7. Great pictures! I would love to travel more!

    Lattes & Lacee

  8. Beautiful ! x

    Have fun there :) :) a bit jealous here bahaha

  9. I adore your blog, every your new post makes me happy!
    And of cause I like this pics!

    Christina Klein

  10. Marlen, thank you for your lovely and kind comment. I really enjoyed reading it :) The women in India look so colourful. Definetely an inspiration for summer ;)


  11. Your photos are so gorgeous! The colours are wonderful, and what you've written really takes your reader on this voyage with you. I scrolled down and took a look at the Taj Mahol photos too ... What a place. And that snake charmer!

    You must have really had a life-altering time on this exotic trip.

  12. Lovely, LOVELY photos!

    I've been to Varanasi but didn't get to explore as I was just visiting family.

    Your pictures make me want to go back!


  13. Oh! How I wish to visit India too! Maybe someday..:)
    Thanks for your comment on !

  14. I'm not very good at walking up and down winding roads, but it seems worth it haha!
    So beautiful!
    You should definitely watch The Fall - my friends who have been to India watch it and are always like "oh I've been there... and there"


  15. Breathtaking. I can just feel the atmosphere from these captures!
    Have a lovely weekend :)!


  16. I'm absolutely in love with your wanderlust chronicles! Just followed your blog :) Thank you for such nice comment in mine! I have to admit I am suffering from envy after watching such awesome photos and travelling! Great adventures!

  17. Gorgeous pictures! Loved this post :)


  18. You´re right this looks like a peaceful place and so colorful too! I´v e never been to Inida, maybe someday...

  19. These photos are absolutely beautiful! I've always wanted to visit India, everyone I know who's been has said the same as you, that it has this kind of 'spirit' to it that's like no other place in the world. It sounds like a wonderful place to get lost for a few weeks! :)

  20. These photos are fantastic, as is the piece of writing. I really would love to visit India some day.. some day when I have enough money to do it comfortably. I want to drink 7Up with holy men!

  21. Wow great photos of India! I've been wanting to go

    <3 Kelly's Kouture

  22. Amazing pictures! I'll visit your tumblr :)
    About your comment, thank's so much! I think I'll make my own flower crown, thank's to your tutorial :)

  23. absolutely stunning photography & words to match the beauty you have captured, it was almost as if i was right there with you.
    The colors are stunning, what a bright and vibrant world they have created for themselves, beauty is all around. I have a friend who is working in Chennai, it would be wonderful to visit also, to experience the culture.

  24. Wonderful photos and I love your description of Varanasi. I have never been to India, but the day is getting closer when I will. Getting lost and then finding things you didn't know you would is half of the fun of travel isn't it? xx

  25. Great photos, I was enjoying every one!


  26. wow this looks so pretty

  27. "my mind ready to be stirred" I just love the way you write! You have a really good grasp on writing, and they compliment your pretty photography so well. :)

    The roads sound fun, but almost a little stressful. I guess it's one of those pick a path and go with it situations... Never really know where it will end, but the adventure in itself is fun and different each time :)

  28. These are captivating and timeless photographs.

  29. your pictures are amazing! I've always wanted to go to india! it's such a majical place! and you define it perfectly "A mess. A beautiful, frustrating mess." I couldnt agree more! :)
    You have a great blog btw! love your little world!

  30. these photos are incredible! What an interesting place to visit. :)

  31. love all the people sitting on the steps! so cute and fun!


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