[從觀光客變背包客的印度行end]My first time to be a backpacker in India_ Varanasi
After recovering good mood, I even forgot I was still in India. I thought the famous Ganges River was like the Danshui River in Taipei. I imagined we could walk along the river easily and there should be many restaurants along the river. However, the driver dropped us in a small Ghat. We walked for quite a long time to find a restaurant but failed, so we took another rickshaw to a shopping center. The road along the Ganges River was not continuous at all. Sometimes there was no way to cross the Ghat, we could only go into a labyrinth of alleys called galis that are too narrow for traffic. However, there are all kinds of cars and animals in the narrow space. We also met a bunch of enthusiastic pilgrims waiting in a long line to the temple. It was easy to be disoriented or to be moved by the crowds.
A tourist guide said if you haven’t visited burning ghats to watch cremations, you couldn’t say you’ve been Varanasi. We visited two burning ghats. The first was a small one, so we could see the burning process very clear. The second one was Manikarnika Ghat which is the main burning ghat. We got to there by following a corpse carrying team and then led by a guide to the upper floor of a nearby building from where we watched cremations taking place. The guide reminded us the photography is strictly prohibited. However, when there was no other tourist, he told us one picture for 100RB. Diky was moved but tried to cut down the price. The guide didn’t accept at all and asked us to leave immediately. After that, we turned to take a boat. When getting near the burning Ghat, the boatman reminded us not photographing again, but his companions took several pictures by their cell phone just in front of us.
Varanasi is regarded as one of Hinduism’s holy cities. Pilgrims came to the River Ganges to wash away a lifetime of sins in the sacred water. It’s auspicious to be cremated here after died, since the believers think it will liberate from the cycle of birth and death as a person. When we saw many people including some buffaloes washing in the same water, Diky said he thought it’s inconvenient to wash in the city place and that’s why they all came here. On the other hand, cremation is common in every nation, but it only takes place in public and free for watching around the Ghats. The cremation indeed reminds us to think about every life goes to the end necessarily.
We met a family took their leisure time along the Ganges river. They didn’t prepare to wash or do anything and observed all the happenings just like us. We found each other in the same time and they invited us to photograph. Their smiles are sincere and shiny, so we not only had good pictures but also shook hands with each other before leaving. For me, it’s the best encounter along the Ganges River in this trip.
We didn’t meet rainy days after leaving Mumbai except the night in Varanasi. It rained cats and dogs while we were having dinner nearby. The streets outside became a ditch just in few minutes. This situation seemed very common to Indians, so they still walked in the muddy water, even the women who wore long Saris. We still dared not to do it and paid to a rickshaw for away the mess.
有人說恆河的日出會帶給人平靜，那天清晨雨繼續下著，我們無緣目睹傳說中的日出。早上雨勢漸停，我選擇在Benares Hindu University渡過Varanasi的最後時光，因為那裡的寧靜和綠意深深吸引我。我們先在大學郵局裡寄最後幾張明信片，我問附近哪裡有地方可吃東西，路人指引我們到New Vishwanath Temple。雖然白色的New Vishwanath不如舊市區紅色的Vishwanath顯眼，但免費歡迎參觀，這是我第一次參觀印度教的廟，看到一些虔誠的信徒。我想假如我生長在印度，也許也會虔誠地每天進寺廟。
My guide book said waiting the dawn along the Ganges is a quintessential Varanasi experience. The early morning light is particularly inspiring and peaceful to the viewers. However, we had no chance to do that for the rain continuing to the next morning. Instead, we had a peace walk in the Benares Hindu University, since we had good impression of its wide tree-lined streets and tranquil atmosphere in our first day visit. We finally got to the New Vishwanath Temple in the campus. Although it’s not as shiny as the red-colored Vishwanath Temple, it is open to all, irrespective of religion. As a result, this is my first time to get into a Hinduism temple. I saw many pilgrims did their services sincerely and though if I was born in India, maybe I will make the same choice.
Our last lunch together was in an open air restaurant beside the Ganges River. The flies were still around as usual and that made Diky upset. He said when thinking about those flies may also stay on the corpse, he could not enjoy the meal anymore. For me, I’ve more adapted to the Indian culture including the flies, so I still finished my delicious meal and didn’t think about the possible stomachache, even my flight was just after lunch!
旅途中我曾暗下決定「不再去印度」，但一到德里機場就買了一本「Trekking Holiday in India」。回台後若朋友問起印度行，我總是以那是個「不可思意的國度」開頭，然後娓娓道來各種奇特的經歷。但是當我整理遊記時，突然很懷念那段日子，或說那段日子的自己，總是不屈不撓，即使環境再糟大部分依然釋懷地享受當下。而那些用小聰明從我口袋騙走一些RB的印度人、為了幾十RB而賣命的人力車夫突然在我腦海裡鮮明，為了生存，他們可以這麼努力，反觀在安逸台灣的我，實在太容易抱怨或放棄。
I’ve once decided not to visit India any more in the journey. However, I bought a book “Trekking Holiday in India” for my own souvenir in Delhi airport. Many friends concerned about my India trip after my back; I always shared many incredible experiences in this incredible country. As I started to write my travel articles, I started to miss the days in India or say I miss my perseverance when I encountered all the chaos in India. On the other hand, I recalled those who tried their best to earn more RB from my pocket and the hard work rickshaw driver, I admired their striving attitude. Sometimes I lack this attitude since my life is too comfortable in Taiwan. As a result, I will inspire myself to follow the Indian attitude when I am depressed. Besides, India related information started to attract me. I even bought a book which is written about the writer’s 44-day India journey. I found many similar encounters and feelings in it. Our conclusion is even the same: Keep travelling and let it be the most important life goal! He wrote, “Travelling becomes my belief after the India trip. I apply the concept of travelling to my daily life or say it is my way of living now. I think I will find all the answers of life during my journeys.” These sentences touched me, so I found out my last postcard written in Varanasi airport. It is written, “Hope I can find a way of living to support me keeping my journey worldwide.”
**MORE PHOTOS IN MY FLICKR**