- 1As we came out to the airport entrance after arriving at Delhi Airport from Heathrow Airport in London, we looked about for the man who was to meet us there. We were going to stay at a budget hotel [recommended in Lonely Planet] located in the Tibetian colony outside of the city and touted as an oasis of calm away from the frantic downtown pace of the capital.
We spotted our name held up on a piece of card, exchanged greetings with our driver, and followed him in a jet-lag haze to his taxi.
This was the beginning of my first trip to India. However, I have imagined what it might be like many times in my head
Agra - IndiaSome auto-rickshaws run on a two-stroke mixture of oil and gasoline (petrol) and so add their own piquancy to the fumes. If you are not familiar with two-stroke fuel, just know that it belches out more burnt hydrocarbons than a regular car engine does.
Two-stroke autos are banned in some cities in India, but apparently the ban is patchily enforced. The latest models from Bajaj Autos of India run on CNG (compressed natural gas) with a back-up petrol system for what its brochure quaintly describes as "limp home".
Udaipur - IndiaAt the bottom of the steps, women wash their clothes every day. Each woman comes balancing her tub of washing on her head, and brings with her a wooden paddle of sorts with which she will pound the dirt from the clothes during the washing.
Varanasi - IndiaThere we were in the city of Varanasi in India, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.
Set on the Ganges, Varanasi is one of India’s holiest places and one of the locations in India where there are ‘ghats’ – landings and steps that jut out into the water where women wash clothes, people bathe, and bodies are sanctified and cremated.
Sarnath - IndiaBuddha’s Religious Teachings
Having adopted the life of a religious master from the age of 35 until his death in 486 B.C. at the age of 80, Buddha taught the ‘noble truths’ that the craving for pleasure and the avoidance of pain leads to existence and suffering.
To get out of this cycle, Buddha stressed, one must strive to take a middle path between indulgence and denial. He preached that to attain that desired path, one should strive to behave with correct views, intentions, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.
Buddha As The ‘Lord Of The Deer’
There are a number of different claims about where the name of Sarnath for this deer park was derived, with one of them explaining that one of Buddha’s titles is ‘Saranganath’, which means ‘Lord of the Deer’.
As the story goes, Buddha as an enlightened being took the form of a deer and offered his life to a king to take the place of the doe that the king was planning to kill. The king in turn was so moved that he created the park now known as Sarnath as a sanctuary for deer.
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