India Journals

Eyes Wide Open

A March 2011 trip to India by tammyhayano

Sankatha Guest House Photo, Varanasi, India More Photos
Quote: What makes India India? Street kids, orphanages, yoga and spirituality.

India Visa

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Story/Tip

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Obtaining an India tourist visa was not the easiest procedure, possibly made more complicated by having it processed in the Middle East (Qatar). If you do decide to go this route, prepare the following to take with you to the India Embassy.1. Completed application. Among the questions you will be asked are: (a) Names of your maternal and paternal grandparents’ and their nationalities. (b) If you have previously visited India, the name of your guesthouse. (c) Countries visited in the past ten years.2. Copy of your passport (They also have Xerox services at the embassy.)3. Two passport photos, with one glued on the application and the other paper clipped.4. A copy of all your hot...Read More

So You Wanna be a Yogi

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There's all different types of travelers who descend upon Rishikesh. On one side of the continuum, you've got people who have no intention of doing yoga (I know; weird, right?) and on the other end, there are the dredlocked, all-in-white, prayer beads on wrists, barefoot souls who radiate peace. The great news is that you if you do want to do some yoga, the commitment level is entirely up to you. You can, of course, go hard-core and sign up for an ashram experience where you live, eat and breathe yoga in a community for 2 weeks, 2 months or until you levitate. I, on the other hand, opted for the drop-in classes. Just ask anyone, and you'll hear of at least 4 places around town that offer daily practic...Read More

I See Dead People

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Bathing in the Ganges Photo, Varanasi, India
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On my second day in Varanasi, trying to find the cremation sites…Me: Do the cremations only happen during certain times of the day?Local: No, ma’am. They are 24 hours burning.The Burning Ghat, located at the far end of Varanasi, is the prime location for (dead) people watching. There’s a nearby chai shop above the steps of the bank where you can sip in the procession of bodies being carried into the water, getting stacked on the firewood, and the three hour cremation. Whether it was just another day in Varanasi or not, bodies after bodies arrived at the Burning Ghat around mid-afternoon. As for me ending up at the cremation site, it was about an hour before that I h...Read More

Street Kid Straight Talk

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About 15 of us gather at 10 am by the New Delhi train reservation office for the Salaam Walk. We are a medley group consisting of ex-pats, backpackers, locals, and a family. Our guide is Satender, a 19 year old former street kid who now leads these two hour walks around the city to share what his life used to be like. Right away, he clears up several misconceptions. #1. [Street kids need money for food.] Food is usually available for free at temples and especially during festivals. Instead, money is used for drugs, playing in the video arcade, or to go to a movie theatre (often to sleep). Whatever money is gained that day needs to be spent, as there is the risk of being robbed. #2. [Street kids are ru...Read More

Sankatha Guest House

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Hotel | "Sweet Location and Hospitality "

Sankatha Guest House Photo, Varanasi, India
Quote:
If you want to be close to the burning ghat and a maze of streets with daily life happening around you, Sankatha Guest House is a great option. The manager is a very kind man who offered us four exhausted travelers a triple ensuite room (with hot water) for 700 Rs/night. Because of the Shiva Festival taking place the day of our arrival, we walked for two hours before we found a room. Since I didn’t know if I’d be sharing a room with my new traveling companions, I first asked if I could just sleep on the couch in the lobby, and he said ‘No problem.‘ (In the end, I was able to share the room with the three others.) There is a rooftop restaurant with an expansive menu but actually only limited options. T...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 12, 2011

Sankatha Guest House
CK. 10/60-A Manikarnika Ghat Chowk Road
Varanasi, India
0542 2400958