Varanasi

Varanasi

Varanasi is not for the faint-hearted. The infamous Varanasian touts scour the ghats with preternatural persistence in attempting to sell their wares or services. A maze of thread-thin alleyways studded with hundreds of Hindu temples pad the area between the ghats and the rest of Varanasi, a bustling, noisy, typically Indian city with cows vying with the tuk-tuks, rickshaws, and automobiles for space on the dusty streets. When they find their ways to the ghats, visitors must be prepared to witness the display of burning bodies on public pyres. Those who try escape by hiring a boat to take them down the Ganges, will be confronted by carcasses and corpses floating among the debris. Those who make it as far as the opposite bank will encounter members of the notorious clan of Aghori Sandhus who drag corpses from the river to engage in ritual cannibalism and other ghastly rituals. Indeed, Varanasi is full-on—India level 10. As Lonely Planet succinctly states: “Varanasi takes no prisoners"...

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