So here's some Hindi words commonly used that might make your travel to Varanasi simpler:
Water (Paani), Food (Khana), Lane (Gali), Road (Rasta), House (Ghar), The Ganges (Ganga), Money (Rupiya), How much? (Kitna?), Where? (Kidhar?), How? (Kaise?), Why? (Kiu?), Who? (Kaun?), When? (Kab?), Price (Kimat), Cloth (Kapra), Tea (Chai), Yes (Ha), No (Nehi), Very good (Bohot Achcha), Bad (Kharab), My name is ... (Mera naam ... hai), What is your name? (Tumhara naam kya hai?)
Thank you (Dhanyabad)
The places very near to Varanasi that one can also visit are:
Sarnath (10 kms), the holy land where the Budhha preached Buddhism,
Ramnagar (14 Kms), where one finds the Ramnagar fort, the palace of the King with an exquisite museum
Chunar (40 kms), where one finds the Chunar fort, house of Mughal rulers for many generations
Vidhyachal (80 kms), with one of the Shaktipeeths
Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary (70 kms)
Allahabad (135 kms), the confluence of the three rivers, Ganga, Jamuna & Saraswati (popularly called the Tribeni Sangam)
Favorite thing: Sadhu is some kind of religious peoples who want to practice their religious lifestyle in such a way to challenge their ownselves for some attainments for better next life, this is my explaination and what I knew so far. I haven't yet practice such way of lifestyle, nothing to tell you but only watch from a distance and read some from others.
Second only to cows, Goats are ubiquitous. They are in the streets, sleeping under cars, the are garving cricket pitches, standing in flocks on concrete, they are in Mumbai they are in the Thar desert. Every mutton dish in India, isn't mutton (tender Southdown or Merino leg offcuts), no its goat. Sinewy, grissly goat. They are simply everywhere. But why when they aren't as delicious and not as yeilding as Sheep (Mutton)?
Well it seems that our friend the goat is a pretty hardy and handy chap.
India's livestock is comfortable with 206 million cows, 123 million Goats, 88 million buffaloes, and 51 million sheep. Goats constitute a very important species of livestock in India, mainly on account of their short generation intervals, higher rates of prolificacy, and the ease with which the goats as also their products can be marketed.
Goats are the main meat animals in India; their meat is the most preferred and hence the costliest of all meats and represented almost 37 percent of total meat produced in the country. Goat milk constitutes a little of all milk produced in India; the majority of milk coming from buffaloes.
Fondest memory: The skins produced by Indian goats are considered of very high quality on account of their relatively larger sizes, minimal blemishes, and perhaps high quality processing. The production of pashmina and shatoosh shawls from goats is already a very lucrative and exports oriented industry.
This is why goats are ubiquitous. By the way, before I do sign off on India's Goats. A wee tidbit about pashmina and shatoosh shawls.
Pashmina is cheap, and lovely. And produced from domestic goats. people love it, and thus should buy it. SHATOOSH on the other hand should be boycotted. It is expensive (so only for foreign buyers) and is made from a Gaot endemic to the Himalaya called the chiru.
Actually I heard its against the law to sell shatoosh now. So if you see it on sale, Report it. Don't buy it.
The cows are considered the most sacred animal for the Hindus, and this is most obvious in Varanasi, where the holy river Ganges is located..
Cows are everywhere, be in on the road, in the water of Ganges, outside your guesthouses/hotels/dorms etc, even peeping into the restaurants while you're having your meal..
Where there is a cow, there's bound to be some 'leftoevers'.. hehe which is pretty obvious the moment you step foot into the holy land..... the distinctive scent followed by residues on the sole of your shoes...
Favorite thing: In narrow street here, heavy machines are not a good idea, that's why they use man powers for works like this. This is in front of our hotel, I saw them working two days in two peoples carrying tools as shown. Then I saw cows dogs etc walked on it before the cement dry. The third day, I saw some parts already broken and few drops of cow dungs on the new surface.
Favorite thing: Picture is a school and young hopeful students are busy going home after class. The reason I upload this picture was the boat boy that morning told me his father died when he was very young, so he could not read write and had to wash plate at small age until now. Now he can speak simple English and he worked for the hotel in the restaurant for some 3000Rs a month but 1000Rs only after new boss came. So he had to take boat as side income, 200Rs for 2 hours of ride and share 50-50 with boat owner.
Favorite thing: The junction here were controlled by policemen each take turns to do the job. The chairs are for them to sit or rest. Probably traffic lights won't work in this city. There are too many cows, dogs, pigs and small individual vehicles going at different speeds, so maybe policemen are better way for them.
Favorite thing: Took this picture on the rooftop of my hotel. This is a good point to shoot good Varanasi photos if you have good strong lenses, but I don't. Houses here almost all built flat top with cement. They don't build Greco-Roman rooftop, very Varanasi perhaps.
Favorite thing: This is one of the local peoples near the ghats, the way they live. Don't ask me what they do here, it just a photo. I like the way the photo look, so I want to share here. You can see inside the door is always very dark, probably they don't switch on lights at day time or some other reasons.
I love these animals. There is something about them. And they are an anomoly in India. Anyone who has been to India will see Cows everywhere. EVERYWHERE. They are never eaten, or utilised. In fact cows have a religious significance in India. India's dairy and meat needs thus fall on the Bufala (buff).
There are still wild Indian buffaloes roaming untamed mostly in the forests of Madhya Pradesh and Assam. These wild free living buffaloes are known as "Arni". However, there are also 18 domesticated Riverine Water Buffalo breeds in India and Pakistan.
However raising Bufala. Is not easy. Especially these days with Riverrine pollution rendering many wallowing Bufala sterile. many Bufala coes must then be sired by the Arni (Wild water buffalo) who are a low yeilding bunch of so and sos. Also high yields cost money, and so often poor and marginal Bufala farmers lack motivation for more milk production, because of the high feed costs.
For most Indians, Bufala triple purpose animals: work, milk and meat. Meat is considered a by-product after fully utilizing the buffalo for work (paddy cultivation or draft) and incidentally for milk (2-3 liters/day). The upshot of this is low milk yields, low butterfat (So not much cheese) and very very tough meat. However I did see somewhere Mozzarella di Bufala cheese advertised. Very Interesting.
Anyway, the picture below is of a Bufala wading in the VERY polluted Ganges. But he doesn't seem to care. Isn't he just the coolest.
Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not being able to go to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom. Poverty has many faces, changing from place to place and across time, and has been described in many ways. Most often, poverty is a situation people want to escape.
Poverty is probably one of the most urgent problems facing our world today. 320 million people are living below the poverty line in India today. Most of the poverty in India is man-made because India procduces enough food. One third of world's poor children are in India. With a population of a Billion and growing, Indian children, especially those growing up on the streets of India encounter a bleak future.
Whenever you can give to some organisations, there are many that work to better the life of some of India's Children. The picture here is of a hospice in Varanasi, that houses many sick children in appauling conditions. A little bit of money can go a long way in place slike this.
Favorite thing: Varanasian tooth brush is shown here, he is hotel's young owner. Varanasians did not brush their tooth using Colgate or Darlie tooth paste or Oral-B tooth brush. 3000 years of tradition need no such modern commercial products, Varanasians prefer brushing tooth using a stick shown in picture.
Favorite thing: On the ghats, you can see many such peoples in all kinds of poses. They are probably sadhus, don't ask me what was that, look and observe yourself. They have long hairs, they can be anywhere they want, they have color on their faces, they dress a little less than normal peoples, they like to paint themselves into grey tone, etc.
Favorite thing: This is cow dungs on wall for drying through sunlight and wind blow I guess. These cow dungs can be used as fuel for burning and cooking or maybe for other purposes. I took the photo, some kids watched from behind in curious expression on face.