Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Pilgrimage Special: To Sarnath or Varanasi?

Shortly after leaving Bodhgaya, we were told by our guide that we would be going to Sarnath for an excursion. When we were nearing our destination however, we were told that we would be going to Varanasi. Now, was it Sarnath or Varanasi that we were going to? Four or five years back when I was in Varanasi with some Muslim friends, a local tour guide had asked us if we would like to go for a day trip to Sarnath. A Malaysian Thai couple and I were keen on it but the others were not and the trip did not materialize. I came home thinking that Sarnath is another town. Sarnath is Sarnath and Varanasi is Varanasi and that probably is true since according to a literature I came across, Sarnath is located 13 kilometers north-east of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. When our guide told us that we were going to Varanasi then, I had asked then if it was Sarnath he meant. He replied that Varanasi is Sarnath and Sarnath is Varanasi. Now, that was pretty confusing especially since we didn't get to see a line that delineates the two. We were in a bus and we were moving along a busy dusty street and suddenly we we told we were in Sarnath and when we boarded the bus again, we seemed to be traveling around Sarnath and then, we were told we were already in Varanasi. The two densely populated places undoubtedly appeared merged!

Varanasi...





Sarnath...



4 comments:

Liudmila said...

Do this cities have not sideways? Or maybe they don't need them. It seems there are not too much cars in the streets there.

GuideIT said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
footiam said...

Being the first time here, things are rather confusing at times. That's why sometimes a guide helps when you are travelling. The traffic is heavy in certain parts of the town. This is a densely populated country!

Herbert Wong said...

Nice story- hope you had a good time. I enjoyed both of these places when I visited 3 years ago.

Have another serving of Travel Pangs!