Most of my travels are either unplanned or planned in the nick of moment. Though that sounds bad, I feel that’s the best way to travel. Varanasi trip is no exception to this. We (my father, mother, brother and I) gave serious thought to the mode of travel just a month before the trip. I could even imagine the IRCTC (Indian Railways) website criticize, “Are you kidding me? There’s just a month to the travel and now you want train tickets? “. With no other viable option but to take a flight, we had booked tickets on IndiGo (Hyderabad to Varanasi).
8th June, 2017
First day of monsoon in Hyderabad. There could not have been a better start for the day. Ilaiyaraja’s ‘Chirugaali Veechene‘ made it even more pleasant. We reached the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (Hyderabad) two hours before the scheduled departure. As it’s the third time for me to travel by flight, I was very excited. After all the formalities i.e. check-in, baggage check and security check, we waited for a few minutes at the specified gate to board the flight. But at the last moment, the gate number was changed. It being a “silent” airport, we had to scan the screens again for the modified details. Later a local audio announcement was made. Twenty minutes before the scheduled departure, we were allowed to board the flight. Last time, we went to Varanasi by bus and it took us nearly two days to go. But this time, by flight, it took us less than 2 hours to reach the destination. What’s more, IndiGo airlines are best known for their punctuality, so we reached 30 mins before the scheduled arrival. Initially, I got all excited about the journey. Take-off was like an amazing moment for me. The flight making way through those clouds beds and flying ‘up above the world so high’ was ecstatic. It felt as if there’s an entirely different world on those clouds and it takes more than these five senses to perceive it. But other than that, the journey had no element of thrill. It did not give me the feel of journey, in the first place. Whoever wishes to save time by travelling by flight, unless it is an emergency or there’s no other option, I suggest not to take flight. Because, come on! Journey is all about making memories. As Amitabh Bhattacharya ji penned, in Ae dil hain mushkil song, ‘Safar khoobsurat hain manzil se bhi‘ (travel is more beautiful than destination).
Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport, Babatpur (Varanasi) is a small one. It’s around 25 km from Varanasi. The hotel we got the accommodation at, Hotel Hindustan International, has a travel desk. We got a pick-up arranged from airport. Mr Santosh came for the pick up. Santosh ji is a native of Varanasi and apparently, he knows the history, geography and politics of the place. Plus, he spoke a beautiful Hindi. We asked him to guide us in devising a plan to cover maximum places in and around Varanasi. After reaching the hotel, we booked a car for the next three days of our stay. This Hotel is around 3 km from the main temple and Dashashwamedh Ghat. The Rooms in the hotel were great. Although none of us was tired, we called it a day as we had to go for morning darsan the next day.
This is it for today. Will be back with more. Do follow for updates.