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Old 2nd February 2010, 18:36   #1
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Default Varanasi - Business + Spiritual trip

Varanasi - the city of temples, hermits, sooth sayers, salvation seekers and a place of learning since centuries. Finds a mention in the Puraans, Upanishads and other mythological epics.

A city of Kaal Bhairav, Maa Annapoorna, Baba Vishwanath & Sankat Mochan.

A city of the Holy Ganges where a dip in its water is supposed to wash all your sins and grant salvation.

A city of Harischandra Ghat, where the great Raja Harischandra himself burnt the dead & lit pyres.

A city of Manikarnika Ghat where a pyre is always burning. The fire has never been extinguished for thousands of years. It is said that the moment the fire is extinguished, Pralay will happen.

A city where my ancestors migrated from Karnataka to attain higher knowledge and settled on the banks of Ganga; a city where my childhood was spent running in and out, bare footed, of myriad gullies and lanes, dodging bovines and their droppings.

A city that gets its name from the two tributaries of Ganga - Varuna & Assi.
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Old 2nd February 2010, 19:06   #2
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Date: 29th Jan, '10

I love my clients. They are so good and nice to me - always. This gent stays in Mughalsarai, wanted me to visit him to discuss some new project. I jumped with excitement at the thought of visiting Benares. My economy class ticket by Jet for going and return, arrived on email. I almost cursed this fellow - no biz class ticket. But this proved to be a blessing in disguise. I met a friend who too was travelling to Varanasi on the same flight. My Jet FF card ensured that I got a window seat this time and since the next seat was empty, asked my friend to come over.

The Jet flight supposed to leave at 10:40 am took off at 11:36. Thankfully the dreaded Delhi fog had lifted on 28th itself and it was bright and sunny. The one hour flying time was over and we landed at the Babatpur Airport, now rechristened as the Lal Bahadur Shastri airport at 12.30. A not too big airport and being 20 kms away from the main city, the hustle bustle is less. Although it is an international airport, it closes at 5:30 pm. More about it later.

As the schedule was hectic, I did not carry my regular camera bag; instead took the Coolpix S220 of my wife's. Walked out of the terminal with my trolley bag and the next moment was headed to Taj Ganges in a Scorpio. My friend was staying at the Ramada across the road opposite Taj. On my previous visits too I've stayed at the Taj and love this property.

My room was on the 4th floor and I was in my room unpacking by 1:15. My meetings were to start from 3 pm. As soon as I entered my room this small elephant made out of towels greeted me. I marveled at the creativity of the housekeeping staff. Don't go on the dates of the photographs as they were taken the next day..

Varanasi - Business + Spiritual trip-dscn0287.jpg


Varanasi - Business + Spiritual trip-dscn0288.jpg


Varanasi - Business + Spiritual trip-dscn0289.jpg


Varanasi - Business + Spiritual trip-dscn0290.jpg


To be continued.....
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Old 2nd February 2010, 20:26   #3
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Vakratunda mahakaya,, Suray koti sama prabha ...
Nice start!
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Old 3rd February 2010, 17:15   #4
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Freshened up and ordered club sandwich with chicken & ham along with coffee. This was to be my lunch that would last those hectic parleys.

Being my native place, one of my relatives stays here. Like others, he didn't migrate back to Karnataka. Kashinath is actually my late father's first cousin; Dad's maternal uncle's son. Thus he qualifies to be my Uncle, but is only a year & half elder to me and we have played together as kids and have shared pleasant memories. I rather treat him as an elder brother.

I had carried some table calendars, diaries for Kashi and a Toshiba protege slim laptop for Kartik (Kashi's son and technically my cousin - younger than my own son ). I wanted to give them asap as I would not have found time later. Kashi works for PWD and his office practically shares a wall with the Taj's boundary. I called him and asked him to hopover. Within 5 minutes he was in my room and after the inital hugs and expletives we sat down to relive the nostalgia and generally to catch-up the latest happenings in my erstwhile "mohalla".

In the meanwhile, I got a communique that the meeting was delayed by 30 minutes and that gave us some more time. Due to paucity of time I told Kashi that I wouldn't be able to visit his place and didn't even know if we could meet the next day as well. Then Kashi touched a raw nerve in me. Any Benarasi worth his salt, would do three things even if time is short - A dip in Gangaji, Darshan of Baba & Sankatmochan.

I said I wanted to do these very much, even if it meant getting up at 4 am the next day. He said he would be on standby and also would attend office as it was a restricted holiday due to Ravidas Jayanti.

With these words we parted and I proceeded for my meetings. Went on late till 9 pm and a little business was left unfinished. It was to be completed the next day starting at 9 am. I returned to my room, opened a bottle of fermented Barley water and ordered chinese dinner.

Hit the bed by 11 pm.....

To be continued......!!

Last edited by gd1418 : 3rd February 2010 at 17:27.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 17:22   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Then Kashi touched a raw nerve in me. Any Benarasi worth his salt, would do three things even if time is short - A dip in Gangaji, Darshan of Baba & Sankatmochan.

To be continued......!!
Just when it started getting interesting, you say To be continued! Wake up. It's 4 in the morning I guess.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 17:26   #6
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It is 11 pm and I'm sleeping...

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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Just when it started getting interesting, you say To be continued! Wake up. It's 4 in the morning I guess.
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Old 3rd February 2010, 17:37   #7
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Good night, but keep us posted.
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Old 4th February 2010, 09:53   #8
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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
It is 11 pm and I'm sleeping...
We woke, brushed, yoged, bathed, prayed, ate and logged

Waiting to see VNS from a different and nearer perspective

Last edited by btirthankar : 4th February 2010 at 09:57.
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Old 4th February 2010, 11:33   #9
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Originally Posted by btirthankar View Post
We woke, brushed, yoged, bathed, prayed, ate and logged

Waiting to see VNS from a different and nearer perspective
Boy. By the time you wake, BT would finish 4 travelogues and HVK might drive another 10K I guess!
Benaras has been in my mind for long. I've started planning for a drive to Benaras already (planned early 2011). So don't keep us waiting!
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Old 4th February 2010, 12:06   #10
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That's what they say in our place - "Pidhichi vachha pillaiyar"

Meaning, anything you just keep it and assume it is ganesha, it will be him

but this one resembles him. Great work.
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Old 4th February 2010, 12:28   #11
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Originally Posted by gd1418 View Post
Date: 29th Jan, '10

The Jet flight supposed to leave at 10:40 am took off at 11:36. Thankfully the dreaded Delhi fog had lifted on 28th itself and it was bright and sunny. The one hour flying time was over and we landed at the Babatpur Airport,

....As the schedule was hectic, ......
Boss, I think just like Tirthanker's Drivoblogs, you can name yours as 'Flyvoblogs'! Isn't it! BTW, nice that you care to post those experiences here. Really, seeing those towels in elephant shape was so creative.
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Old 4th February 2010, 23:15   #12
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Date: 30th Jan, 2010

Woke up at 5:30 am as usual and then said to myself, what the heck and hit the bed again. Finally woke at 7 fully refreshed. had set the airconditioner the previous night to 19 C and had an undisturbed sleep.

I must mention, that Varanasi was pretty warm - 23 C. I had carried 2 pullovers but they didn't see the light of the day. Was ready by 8:30.

Meeting was to start at 9 and supposed to go on till 11 am. My return flight by Jet was at 2:40 pm and I was wondering if I could do my spiritual yatra or not. I would have felt terrible if I could not have done.

I firmly believe that you visit deities only if you are summoned by them and whenever such a thing as that happens, everything falls into place and all hurdles are removed. Just to give an example, way back in '81 we three friends were sipping tea somewhere in Paharganj, Delhi at 8 pm and one of them said - "Vaishno Devi chalein kya"? We said - "chalo". Within the next few hours we had informed our folks, pooled in 50 rupees, bought tickets in the Intercity Superfast to Jammu Tawi and at 11:30 pm were on way to Jammu in a practically empty coach, that normally otherwise used to go choc-a-bloc. And from jammu to katra and then climbing at night and a most fantastic "darshan" at 2 am. No crowd etc.

Today I have the means to go anytime to Vaishno Devi, but the "bulawa" or the call has not come and since then I've been unable to go.

My biggest hurdle was the paucity of time. The Babatpur airport was 20 kms from the Hotel but would take 40 minutes to reach. Almost double the time from Godowlia chowk or Sankatmochan.

Performing the three rituals was looking bleak and I casually mentioned this to my host during the meeting. God is great. Well, around 11 am, while we were sipping coffee as the meeting was about to end, my host received a call on his mobile. He moved away to speak and after 10 minutes returned and grandly announced to me that I can do my spiritual things without any fear and asked me to cance my return ticket.

I was shocked. I told him that I had no intention of staying, and had to return back. He said not to worry and mentioned that his another friend had come to Varanasi by a charter and would return back to Delhi at 6:30 pm in the evening and would be happy to take me along. These were the sweetest words that I had heard.

The meeting was over, business deals done and I was a relieved man. Called up Kashi to ask his whereabouts and he said he was in office. Everything falling in place.. Told him to be in the Hotel lobby in 10 minutes, informed the Lobby Manager that I would check-out late and that he should not charge me for the day and rushed to my room to pack the basics.

To be continued.....
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Old 5th February 2010, 11:37   #13
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Nice narration but not enough pics! And this is becoming a standard feature in all your Travelogues -
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To be continued.....
Trying to increase the post count huh ??
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Old 5th February 2010, 12:01   #14
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All my travelogues have relevant pictures. And increasing post count is not going to get me the Padma award...

It takes time to process pictures about which I'm not so adept plus running a hectic schedule... Hence the delay.

The continuation now has all the pictures.

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Nice narration but not enough pics! And this is becoming a standard feature in all your Travelogues -

Trying to increase the post count huh ??
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Old 5th February 2010, 12:06   #15
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Awesome.

Not only did you get a bulawa, god also sent a meghdoot for your safe return back to your home.

God tussi great ho

Cheers,
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