3/29/2010 | India , Uttar Pradesh

A Day in Varanasi

12► With the exception of Delhi, which is “the Rome” of Northern India where all roads or in this case rail lines lead, Varanasi is the Indian city that I’ve been back to most often.  Ironic since it took me until my third trip to India to finally visit this most sacred Hindu […]

12/16/2009 to 12/20/2009 | India , Uttar Pradesh

Return to Varanasi: again for the first time

1234► Varanasi is a place that just keeps drawing me back every time I pass through this part of Uttar Pradesh.   No doubt a combination of things draw me here, cheap comfortable accommodation at the friendly Tiwari Lodge in Assi Ghat, a couple tourist cafes with free wifi where I can rest from […]

12/13/2009 to 12/15/2009 | India , Uttar Pradesh

Ayodhya

12► Ayodhya was another place in eastern Uttar Pradesh that I had been meaning to get to and hadn’t.  I had passed through it once on a bus to Lucknow and was impressed enough by the temple lined riverfront that I decided then I should stop at some point.  That point was now, […]

12/12/2009 to 12/13/2009 | India , Uttar Pradesh

Kushinagar (Completing the Buddhist Quadfecta)

12► Having just been to Lumbini I had now been to three of the four main pilgrimage sites associated with the life of the Buddha, Lumbini (birthplace), Bodhgaya (site of his enlightenment), and Sarnath (site of his first sermon).  Only a couple hours by bus from Gorakpur the main Indian transportation hub for […]

6/3/2009 to 6/10/2009 | India , Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow: Hell ain’t got nothin’ on the U.P. in June

12► Is this Hell? No it’s the UP (Uttar Pradesh) in June, a slight variation on the “Field of Dreams” line that has gone through my head these past few days. My journey started out promising, boarding a micro (mini-vans that ferry people around Kathmandu like city buses) nearly as soon as I […]

3/23/2009 to 3/29/2009 | India , Uttar Pradesh

Back to Varanasi: walking the ghats

VaranasiI returned to Varanasi to meet up with my friend Jon, who I knew from my grad school days at UCSB. He was in town on business, to install some equipment at the local university, B.H.U. It was nice to see someone I hadn’t met in the last 2 years. I certainly didn’t mind being back in Varanasi, walking the ghats each morning. […]

3/10/2009 to 3/13/2009 | India , Uttar Pradesh

Holi in Varanasi

Holi celebrations, VaranasiI found myself in Varanasi for Holi the North Indian festival celebrated by the throwing dye and colored water. It is also an excuse for young sexually repressed Indian males to drink and walk the streets in marauding mobs fueled by alcohol and armed with colored water creating a high instance of sexual attacks during the holiday. As a result, many of the guesthouses in Varanasi, including mine, locked their doors during Holi to “protect” their guests. Not being a female and certain I could take care of myself, I wanted to go out and witness the carnage so I put on my most worn cloths (yes, that means they were very worn), placed my camera in my waterproof backpack, and climbed over the wall to escape into the madness that is Holi. […]

1/7/2008 to 1/13/2008 | India , Rajasthan , Uttar Pradesh

Leaving Rajasthan, and Heading South

Man Singh Palace (constructed from 1486 to 1516), fort, Gwalior.

12► After dropping Karin and Jeff off at the airport, I headed back to Jaipur, not because I really like the place, but rather to hang out with my father before he took his group south.  Although the city is not as bad as the reputation it has, for being a large city […]

1/4/2008 to 1/5/2008 - | India , Uttar Pradesh

Agra: Sightseeing capital of India

Muslim men in front of the mosque at the Taj Mahal, Agra.

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Karin and I had both been to Agra before but for the first timer among us, my brother-in-law, Jeff, it was a mandatory stop to see India’s most famous sight, the Taj Mahal.  In addition to the Taj, Agra is home to a number of lesser known spectacular sights including […]

1/2/2008 to 1/3/2008 | India , Uttar Pradesh

Varanasi

Colorful yarn vendor, Varanasi.

123► The holy city of Varanasi on the sacred Ganges river is India at its most raw.  The strange dichotomy that makes up India is on display in this city of pilgrims in its most extreme form.  Its beauty in the midst of poverty, celebrations of life surrounded by death, spiritual cleansing amidst […]