January 16, 2012
On our first morning in Varanasi, a few of us had the opportunity to walk down to the Ganges and watch the sunrise. Suffice it to say, watching the sunrise over the Ganges is truly an amazing experience. Around 7:30, the rest of the group joined for breakfast in the hotel before the day got started. Our first stop was at the house of Dr. Tulsi and his wife, Dipika, who invited us to visit their home, which includes a school on the bottom floor of their house. There we learned about their program, their mission, and their inspiration for starting a school.
Our day continued as we visited Benares Hindu University, one of the largest universities in Asia. We had the opportunity to briefly visit the temple where we learned about some of the major deities in Hindu tradition. Next we listened to a lecture by a professor in the psychology department as he discussed the book, Bhagavad Gita.
Charles and Dr. Tulsi enjoyed a nice lunch with the professor while the rest of us returned to the hotel to enjoy some free time, shopping, and the chance to explore the city surrounding the hotel. At 4:00, we reconvened and headed down to the Ganges for an incredible boat ride. We took the boat to a concert that was arranged just for us and listened to a few of Dr. Tulsi’s friends perform classical Indian music (see video). After the concert, we returned to the boat and participated in an Indian custom of releasing lit candles into the Ganges to remember loved ones who have died and who are still living. We ended the night with a walk back to our hotel as we visited a sterling silver shop and enjoyed some ginger chai tea made by a street vendor just outside our hotel. We’re tired and are off to bed … more to come tomorrow … good night!!!