štvrtok 27. januára 2011

Varanasi and Sarnath

I feel I need to do justice by saying something good about India, as last time it was perhaps too much (-: So this time it will be a positive one and in English!

Last weekend I went after a long time to a trip. That’s not a joke, you might think I am always going somewhere, but actually I was pretty much settled in Delhi and before that in Dharamsala. After some consideration I decided not to go to see Taj Mahal as I don’t want to see rich Indians taking pictures in front of the white building (and often with me having to participate). Instead, I rather chose Varanasi in spite of the fact that all those who visited it were saying it is horrible, dirty and noisy city, even for Indian standards.

In fact, Varanasi is very important place. It lies on Ganges River and with some 3500 years it is one of the oldest cities in the world. Anyway, for Hindus it is also very important religious place as whose ash will be after death scattered in Ganges at Varanasi, their souls will achieve nirvana immediately. Maybe you could understand that the place where 1.2 billion people want to be burnt can look a bit scary. That’s why I was awaiting something very bad. But in fact, I was pleasantly surprised, as the city was even relaxing at some point! That’s truth that we had some arguments with people who are trying to cheat foreigners really too much there and that I had to use my few Hindi swearing I learnt here, but apart from that it was very good. And in the morning sunrise over Ganges, then nice walk around the bank and watching some ceremonies which were taking place... Also boys playing cricket and casual laundry, in Ganges of course. I really liked the place and cannot understand why people say it is horrible. Either I got used to India already or I visited it off-season.

One more thing was great about the trip – 10 kms from Varanasi is a village called Sarnath and it is here where Buddha gave his first teaching 2500 years ago to 5 people. The place has a very special atmosphere and today there are a number of Buddhist temples built by different countries where Buddhism is present (even if I want to be neutral I have to say that the Tibetan one was the best). And around are beautiful gardens and parks – amazing place for relaxing. I bought the teaching Buddha gave there and read it on the way back. Isn’t it cool that in the original book it says that Buddha gave teaching in a deer park near city of Varanasi and both the city and the park still exist? India, nothing changes here, ever.

Well, so that was it. And I have to say that I am leaving Delhi tonight and I am travelling for two days to the south. The plan is to see some places there and then I set off for Malaysia for nearly two weeks intermezzo before moving to China. If you want to hear that explicitly– yes I am very excited about the travel and I am looking forward a lot (-:

Talk to you later

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