Apr 13, 2011

India - Amritsar/Varanasi

In our Indian outfit!

Our first visit out of New Delhi was for the Sikhs' holiest place, Amritsar, and the famous shrine called the Golden Temple. We discovered the temple by night. Its golden walls and dome reflect in the huge surrounding pool. To walk around the pool with barefoot on the marble floor, listening to the continuous chant of prayers and religious songs... What a relaxing athmosphere! Maybe the thirty degrees temperature at the night also helps to this peacefulness.

In this temple not only the women but also the men have to cover their heads. Axelle was already used to wear the veil in Iran but for Luis it was a premiere! And only men can take a holy bath in the pool around the Golden Temple.

Finally the first place in India we did not feel the burden of being a Western walking wallet! We actually had nice talks with a few Indians in the temple area. And they did not even try to sell us anything at the end!! It seems that everyone talking to us in New Delhi had something to sell. We got used to the "hello Sir, where are you from? ... Don't you want to visit my shop/restaurant/factory/taxi/hotel/agency/art gallery?"

In Amritsar, we were approched by an old man who explained to us the ritual and the ceremony to come. Every morning at 4am, the holy book is transfered to the Golden Temple. And every evening there is the second ceremony at 10pm, when the holy book is taken to the another temple for the night so that the Golden Temple can be washed with water and milk. Also we were touched by a shy young boy who came to us only because it was his dream to speak with a foreign man! And an amusing group of three guys asked to take pictures with us:


The Mata Temple was a funny place to visit, mostly because of its labyrinthine route. This Hindu cave temple is famous in India because reputed to help women getting pregnant. We walked through the marked route as well but got lost in the middle of the hankle-deep waterways... ;)

 A very low tunnel of the Mata Temple circuit

We saw a part of Indian History with a visit in Jallianwala Bagh. In this park the British autorities killed and wounded about 2.000 Indians who were peacefully demonstrating against a colonial Act. It is really impressive to see the bullets still in several walls around the park, 92 years after.


Varanasi is a city located 800 kilometers south-east of New Delhi. There we found again that very unpleasant attitude from locals toward us and tourists in general.

In this city we did live some of the strangest episodes of our trip till now and another one quite funny as well. For example we saw a naked man wandering in the street. Crazy or not, he did have a great full body tan! :) Or we saw a cow laying down inside a clothes boutique against the counter just chilling under the AC system and nobody seemed to care!

Another example: the first tuk tuk bike we took in this city was driven by an old and very emaciated man. We choose him at first because we wanted to help him earn his life. But during our ride we were feeling so bad for this man who could not pedal hard enough to carry us. Sometimes in the crossroads we thought about stepping off and pushing the tuk tuk. Anyway we stopped feeling bad for him when in the middle of the ride he was lost and asked somebody in the street to ask us again where we wanted to go. When he understood he told us to pay four times the price we had agreed on in the first place! After some more negociation (as we have learned this last six weeks) we did get to our destination and for the price we had decided at the beginning!

But the funniest story was our mistake: when we arrived at the train station in Varanasi a driver was waiting for us. We followed him to his car where he started talking with somebody in another car. We waited a couple of minutes and started to ask him if we could put our heavy bags in the trunk. He did not seem to understand so we raised our voices showing we wanted to go to the hotel so we could rest. We were insisting and kind of shouting. The old man was just waving us to go away and leave him alone. It took us five more minutes to realize.. we had followed the wrong guy! Ups! :/ Still now, writing this episode makes us laugh: the scary look in the man's eyes, the people he was talking to teasing him and us getting angry towards the man... Ups again!


Varanasi is another spiritual city but for Hindus where they come to wash their sins or cremate their loved ones on the western bank of the Ganges river. Every sunrise and sunset takes place a religious ceremony dedicated to Shiva at Dasaswamedh Ghat. The main attractions in Varanasi are the very narrow streets of the old town and the ghats, the long stairs leading to the water where people wash their clothes, play or take a bath.

On the bank of the Ganges

Ghats and Ganges River

Ganga aarti ceremony at the Dasaswamedh Ghat

Ganga aarti ceremony at the Dasaswamedh Ghat

Near Varanasi, a little village named Sarnat hosts a large variety of temples and churches from different religions. This place is especially one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage spot because Buddha made his first preach there.

Mulagandha Kuty Vihara

Thai Monastery


  1. vous êtes und couple super adorable.

    biz biz de kriz à regnéville

  2. Trop belle la photo de vous avec le Indian Outfit!


  3. women can take a dip in the golden temple pool. but that area is secluded.