All posts tagged: Varanasi

There is a MASSIVE Swastika Painted on the Banks of the Ganges River in India

Walking the banks of Varanasi’s Ganga is an exercise in sensory overload. Between open-air cremations, bathing men, errant cows and women doing laundry, you can understand how I almost missed a giant swastika painted on the sloped riverbank. If it weren’t for Greg, I may have sailed right by it, blissfully unaware. “Wow, stop, check this out. There is a massive swastika painted on that ghat.” Taking a few steps back and craning my neck, yep there it was: a fifty-foot plus swastika sitting at the foot of Jain Ghat. It’s so big that you can actually see it on Google Earth: So, what’s with Varanasi’s giant swastika, you ask? In Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religions, the swastika is a symbol of good fortune. The word swastika has Sanskrit origins, meaning ‘luck’ and ‘well being’.  And while you’ll garner some cold side-eye for drawing them in the West, swastikas are fairly commonplace in India. They adorn homes and vehicles, feature in the names of stores, and appear in ritual and traditions. You can read more about …

Is 2 Weeks Enough Time to Travel Northern India’s Rajasthan?

Obviously not! Rajasthan is northern India’s largest state by area and the ‘Land of Kings’ has a hell of a lot to do, see, eat and shop. Annoyingly, every city deserves a visit which makes allocating a short 14 days an exercise in extreme FOMO. Before we left Canada we had elected some priorities: Agra (Taj Mahal), Jaipur and Varanasi. (The latter is actually located in Uttar Pradesh, not Rajasthan.) But where else should we spend the rest of our time? Top choices included Jaipur, Pushkar, Jodphur, and Jaisalmer. Highlights of Rajasthani cities: Delhi – Red Fort, Jama Fasjid*, Humayan’s Tomb`, Chandi Chowk Market, Baha’i Temple` Agra – Taj Mahal*, Agra Fort`, nearby Fatehpur Sikri Ranthambore National Park – jeep-tiger safaris Jaipur – the Pink City*, City Palace`, Amber Fort*, Nahargarh Fort*, Central Museum*, Royal Gaitor*, Galta Monkey Palace` Pushkar – Camel rides*, Pushkar Lake*, hippie vibes & drum circles Jodphur – Meherangarh Fort*, Blue City Udaipur – Lake Pichola*, lake cruises, culture of rooftop dining*, havelis, Monsoon Palace` Jaisalmer` – Jaisalmer Fort, overnight camel safaris …

India: Bought the ticket, taking the ride

Have you heard? I’m going to flippin India. I’m two parts excited and one part nervous. However, I feel like I’ve been travel-training for this my whole life. The tickets are booked. Greg and I fly to New Delhi on March 3 and back on the 18th. Things I’m really looking forward to: But I’m not going to lie, I’m totally anxious about… So, folks who have travelled to India, I could use any advice or wisdom you want to impart on me. Here’s my itinerary: New Delhi – Agra – Jaipur – Pushkar – Jaisalmer – Varanasi – New Delhi* *Correction: As of 1/23 we’ve decided to go to Jophur and Udaipur instead of Pushkar and Jaisalmer. It just works better for our itinerary. Don’t give me tips for Goa or Mumbai or that awesome little mountain town the Dalai Lama calls home. I ain’t got time for that. Drop a comment below and tell me what I should NOT miss or paste a link you think I’ll find helpful.