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July 13, 2020 / catherinebwrites

INDIA 22. HOMESTAY

Harish sits among his silks.

Homestay is in a quiet area of Varanasi but close enough to the main streets to ramble over there. It has a garden to sit in. Cold beer available to order and three meals a day on request. The rooms are immaculate, large, airy and with en suite shower and toilet. It is an oasis. The Varanasi experience is intense, so you do need an oasis.

Our room

It is run by Harish and his wife Malika. Their son does the admin and their daughter helps prepare and serve the food. They can arrange several different tours ( see previous blogs India 17-21) so they also employ a couple of guides and drivers. Take these tours if you only have a short stay in Varanasi and want to make the best use of your time.

Harish also has a shop on the premises which sells silks. O.M.G., the silks! They are luscious. You just want to dive into them and wrap them all round you. And the colours, dazling, rose and sunset, peacock, mandarin, peach, cherry, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, azure, midnight, dawn, lightening, thunder, starlight, there’s no end to them. I passionately wished that I was a millionaire and could buy up the lot. Failing that, if only I were a skilled thief with magical powers who could whisk them away in my baggage and escape. Being neither, I had to content myself with looking and longing and buying a simple scarf. However, now that I have the scarf home, it is causing considerable jealousy and many inquiries about where I got it.

But for me the best of all was mealtimes. It goes without saying that Indians know how to cook and Malika is up there with the best. But what mad meal times great is that, you share the table with the other guests. This meant that we met two lovely Austrian ladies. An English couple. A serious Indian called Siddhartha who was to come to Ireland with his wife in August. He and quizzed us up down and sideways about what they should see in Dublin. But I guess Covid 19 has put paid to that.

Best of all were the two Brazilian doctors, Wilton and Eduardo and the lovely south Indian couple who had come to buy silk and walked the Ghats every morning. The Brazilians joined us on trips and, after dinner, Harish would join us and we’d all sit around discussing, politics, religion, Life, the Universe and all that. Us non Indians were able to ask about aspects of Indian Culture and religion and the Indians asked about ours. It was a fabulous enriching exchange, the kind you wished you could have regularly. And, seeing what is going on in the word to-day, the kind of mind-opening discussion you wish everyone could have.

Dogs snoozing peacefully near Homestay.
Cows resting near Homestay
Homestay
D-61/16, Sidhgiri Bagh, Varanasi, 221010, India
Phone: +91 94154 49348

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