Our adventure start in Varanasi! But actually we take a very looong journey to go to Varanasi. We arrived in India with this route by AirAsia: Singapore – Kuala Lumpur – Calcutta. Our flight cost around IDR 1.800.000 one way. When we arrive in Calcutta, we actually already book train ticket from Calcutta to Varanasi at 7pm but the fact is that we just arrived in the airport around 4.30 pm and then we have to line up to get a taxi for 1 hour and then there was a very bad traffic in Calcutta that make us arrived in Howrah train station around 9pm. Ok. We definitely late for the train!
Then, we stuck in the train station to get people who can speak English and let us know how can we get the next train?! We just like a crazy people running here and there trying to catch the next train but we understand nothing! Its damn complicated! Even the people who have “ASK ME” sign cannot even show us the way / even solution.
We try to go out from station trying to find internet to ask our host from Couchsurfing or just try to find a help. We ended up in a travel agent and he told us that all the train was booked (its because train in India is not as much as the people) and he show us that there might be a quota for a tourist that we can buy it in the office, he draw us the map to go there but its open in the morning. So, what are we going to do? We even did not plan to stay in Calcutta.
After that, we trying to explain it to the travel agent that we want to go to Varanasi tonight and we missed out the train. Then its like an AHA moment when suddenly the travel agent guy understand what we saying and say that we can go with the GENERAL train, its a train coach where you will be in there with the locals and everything! Yeah I mean everything from animal until any stuff that you could not imagine. Thats the only way we can go out from Calcutta this night. Me & Felly decided to leave that night with the GENERAL train with all the risks that we will get!
Thats it? Then we go with the train? NOT THAT EASY!! Its not over yet, the adventure still going on when we try to buy a general train, there is no sign at all, no clue & direction where we should go and buy the ticket. Can you imagine our condition at that time? Sweat, Tired, Hungry, Stingy, Confuse, Angry, Worried, all in one! Welcome to India! Ha!
Finally, at 11.00 pm we figure out how to buy the general ticket and we get into the train. To get into the train is also a complicated one. We dont know where the coach, the number, where we should sit. The officer almost close the door and then I scream “Please let us come in. Ladies here! Please!” I scream between all man who trying to get in the train, trust me, its a lot! And the officer trying to push them away to make them cannot get it the train because its already full inside.
Thank God. The police let me come in, he help me and Felly to get in and Felly secure 2 seat for us. Fyuh! Finally I can sit. Dont imagine its a nice seat, its like the seat for very economic level. And yes, we sit together with everything! And all the man surround us trying to make conversation with us. We try to sleep in turn so there is one people who keep our belongings.
Wow. Its a very adventurous journey to start our traveling to India. But don’t worry, this is the worst among the rest of our trip to India. Maybe we just not lucky in the beginning. The journey itself took around 9 hours and we arrived in the morning in Mughal Sarai station. From Mughal Sarai, we take a train to Varanasi and it takes only 45 minutes. We arrived in Varanasi station around 1pm then we directly walk to Ashis’ home, our Couchsurfing host!
Thanks God Ashis give us a very clear direction that make us arrived in his home safely and when we arrived, we found him in his car almost leave the host. He is a very nice person, I am telling you. He serve us very nice and he also own his own hostel called ITH Hostel (International Traveler Hostel).
When we arrived, we met 2 Indonesians who stay in his hostel, they are couple from Slipi, Jakarta. What a coincidence! When I ask Ashis, he said that they are the 1st guest from Indonesia who come to the hostel and we are the 1st Couchsurfer from Indonesia who come to his home.
We met Rajesh, Ashis’ officer who work in the hostel and he cook us a very delicious meal. Ashis also cook pasta for us for our 1st lunch in Varanasi! I thought in the beginning that I will pay for all the food because we order it from the menu in his hostel but you know what? Ashis did not want to charge us for the food because he said we couchsurf here. Oh my god! I met my 1st angel in India named Ashis!
We met 3 travelers who stay via couhcsurfing in Ashis’ home: Xavier from Spain, Shira from Poland, and Nina from Holland. Shira and Nina travel together while Xavier travel by his own. They start the trip previous months ago and we hear awesome stories from them! One of it is about Xavier journey in Nepal that makes me wanna go there!!!
Me & Felly explore Varanasi in the evening by go on to Gangga river, take the boat and listen to the man who own the boat talking about Gangga & Varanasi. We met a traveler from US named Bryan from Texas. He work in Korea as a teacher and want to go back to US, making this trip before he come back to the US. Nepal is also his destination before India. Really makes me want to go to Nepal!
Bryan bring us to a restaurant called “Gangga Fuji Restaurant”. The restaurant is very unique, has a lot of drawing from people around the world who stop by in this restaurant and they has passionate owner in the restaurant who will explain everything we wanna know about the food and India.
After around 2 hour we stay in this restaurant, eating and listen to the mini concert, Bryan took us to his hostel because he wanna show us Gangga in the night from above the roof top of his hostel. It is actually very nice! We talk a lot also here about religion, life, trip, Indonesia, the US, politics, etc.
We come back after late night and Bryan walk us home. We actually get lost in Varanasi to find Ashis home. We walk round the city and it make us very tired but fun! We arrived in Ashis home midnight and Bryan say goodbye to us as he go back to his hostel by himself. Thats the last time I saw Bryan.
In the night, I talk with Ashis around 1 hour and I ask him about why people in India always honking their car, they pee in the street, cows are in the street, etc. He explain to me everything and I conclude that he is one of the nicest person in India I’ve ever met. He is also very polite, smart, and kind.
In the next morning, I eat the very delicious food called the Indian Breakfast! Its like a martabak in Indonesia but they eat it with yoghurt. Rajesh made it for us! Its very yummy! Me and Felly decided to go to Sarnath, a big temple in Varanasi before we leave in the afternoon by train to Agra! Xavier and the 2 girls want to join us to go to Sarnath and we decide to go together by Auto Rickshaw (just like Bajaj in Indonesia).
In Sarnath, we found many heritage and history and getting to know each other also with Xavier, Shira, and Nina.
After that we coming back with Auto Rickshaw again and we separated with them before we enter Ashis home. They continue to have coffee while me & Felly come back to Ashis home. We take shower, having our lunch, and saying goodbye to Ashis
I met Ashis mom and she is very nice! She is interested with my veil and when I want to give her, she reject it and say that she need to go to Indonesia by herself and get this veil. HA!
We walk to the train station and find a way to go to Agra. Felly already book the ticket to Agra but we never know if our name is on the list of confirmed people. What is that? In India, if you book a train, you will be waitlisted and then you have to always check your status in the internet and once your status is confirmed, you can get in the train but if not, you cannot get in the train. In this case, we dont know if we confirmed or not but Ashis said, just get in because the last time we check our status is Wait listed 5 – 6. Ashis said, even if our name is not on the list, we can just pay in the train. OK, then we trust him.
Then you know what happen? We just sit somewhere in the AC class and when the officer check our name, WE ARE NOT ON THE LIST!!!!! MAAAAN What will we doo? We cannot just drop off the train! Then the man said that if there is an empty seat, we can move there and pay it.
There is a nice guy who check it for us but in the end he ask for a tip (so often indians are asking for a tips). This guys get 2 seats for us in the lower class than this. We decided to go there because its cheaper. Its a sleeper class but with no AC. Fyuh! Finally we can sleep since its a looong journey to AGRA!
BUDGET IN VARANASI :
|ITEMS||PRICE in RUPEE, 1 Rupee = IDR 200||in RUPIAH|
|Taxi Kolkata – Train Station||120||24000|
|Food & Water in Station||300||60000|
|Train Mughal S – Varanasi||60||12000|
|Auto rickshaw to Gangga||30||6000|
|Rickshaw to Gangga||30||6000|
|Boat in Gangga||100||20000|
|Food @Gangga Fuji Restaurant||400||80000|
|Auto rickshaw to Sarnath||200||40000|
|Train Vn – Agra||900||180000|
Will see you on the next post on AGRA,