India: travelling to the East
The next leg of our India adventure takes us eastward heading to Varanasi for Diwali. This is a popular destination and as such the trains were pretty full meaning we had to stay for longer than anticipated.
But having time means we weren’t too bothered. After this we decided to stop in a more remote area of India, Khajuraho. It’s known for its sexy temples. But we also knew there was a national park nearby and hoped to go Tiger hunting!
But first our itinerary brought us back to Delhi!
Arriving back in Delhi
So we finally made it to the hotel we were probably due to stay before our scamming drama! So when we returned I was on a mission to press charges and get our money back!! Little did I know we were in for another day of drama 🙄.
Cut a long story short we spent 7 hours in 3 different police stations. When we finally did get to someone who was going to do something we were confronted with 2 choices.
- file a report. We had nothing in writing, it would be for the courts to decide. He wasn’t sure how long this would take, etc…
- get the company responsible in the station and discuss the situation with them and ‘try’ to get our money back.
We took option 2 (and eventually got all our money back). At the end of the day we weren’t going to be back in Delhi.
The system clearly didn’t want to deal with this matter – this was made pretty obvious from the moment we walked into the police station. We were even made to sign a statement that we won’t press charges at a later date and that the matter is closed… until the next mug!
Our aim is to raise awareness so that it doesn’t happen to others! Read about our scam here!
Unfortunately Delhi was not finished testing our patience as Delhi Belly struck! One by one we went down. I managed to keep it in check and just about function.
Problem is we had a looming overnight train to Varanasi and no sight of Keith improving I took a quick trip to the pharmacy and came back armed with antibiotics (yes, you can buy anything over the counter here!) and imodium.
Needless to say, we saw very little of New Delhi aside from Pahar Ganj and M&S for some new knickers (a girl has needs!!)
Overnight train to varanasi
This would be our first sleeper train in India! We were based in 2AC which means 2 up, 2 down bedding system in an air conditioned carriage. 3AC means 2 beds on top, 2 in the middle and 2 at the bottom (or 3 on each side).
Due to the trains being so busy for Diwali we were only able to book 2 beds for 4 of us… whilst still feeling a little dodgy too!! Luckily, we survived and arrived in Varanasi without any dramas.
We knew that varanasi would be hectic, I mean we picked one of the busiest times of year to visit. But I don’t think I was properly prepared for the noise levels! Just Wow!
The streets were very narrow and compact that any sounds just verberated all around you. Add to this firecrackers and fireworks, set off in the streets, and it felt like a war going on!! Just crazy!
But once you escaped the back streets the ghat’s (steps leading to the river Ganges) were much calmer. There was more space to roam.
As you wandered up and down the river Ganges you see everyday life, and death, happening before your eyes. The burning ghat’s (where open cremations take place) were just jaw dropping.
Unfortunately it was my turn to be stuck by the lurgy and may have been cause for my less than enthusiastic review of Varanasi. I’ll post another blog here about Varanasi.
After the madness of Varanasi we booked to stay in Khajuraho, which is a sleepy tourist village with some rather sexy temples. Nearby is a tiger reserve so we thought we’d combine some relaxation with some exploring and some animal spotting.
To be honest Kahjuraho was exactly what I needed to recharge the batteries. We stayed in a lovely homestay run by a lovely and very friendly family. It was situated in an area surrounded by farmland and was blissful.
The village itself was a little walk away, but small, compact with some great eateries – which we all needed after not eating properly for nearly 2 weeks!
I later learned that Khajuraho village had only been created after the discovery of the temples. In fact there was a sparkling new airport here purely because so many tourists visit. It was a highlight of our trip so far.
More information to follow here about Khajuraho, where we stayed, the best eateries and how our tiger search went!
Now that we are all feeling much better it’s time to head to the Indian desert. Our next stop is Rajasthan. We’ll be continuing our slower pace and enjoying 4 or 5 days in the colourful cities of Jaipur, jaisalmer, jodphur and finally Udaipur!