DARK BAZAAR OF OLD BENARES – temple and mosque side by side, 1976

[A fascinating meander through the streets of old Varanasi (Benares) followed our dawn boat trip on the Ganges.  The bazaar was so dark and narrow that my one photo makes it impossible to distinguish the buildings where Hindus and Moslems prayed side by side – a temple and a mosque rubbing neighbourly shoulders together.  The guide’s attempt to get us to buy silks and saris was hampered by our grumbling stomachs – it was five and a half hours since getting out of our sleeping bags and all we could think of was breakfast and porridge!]

MONDAY 13TH DECEMBER, 1976 – Part Two

“After boat trip, taken on bus into heart of old Benares.  Guide led us up small ally and into maze of very narrow dark alleys with dark shops on either side, full of cross-legged shopkeepers, and streets full of filthy kids and holy cows.  Man followed us with a range of pipes.

Taken to a balcony that looked over copper-plated Hindu temple – cow came out amid a stream of people – we were not allowed in.  Down small ally by the side – through a grate we saw flower-strewn floor been ground by feet.

Pursued by kids selling joss sticks.  Right next to temple was brilliant white mosque with silver topped minarets – only place in world to find a temple and mosque side by side.

Then taken to silk factory and sat round while they threw yards of silk scarves, saris etc at us.  Tied a sari on Heidi and Fran.  Prices high.  All impatient for breakfast.  Guide finally led us out of bazaar again.

Had porridge finally at 10.30!”


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