Dozing to the sounds of the sacred river lapping against your boat and seeing the city of Varanasi coming into view are just some of the incredible real life experiences that you can expect on India’s River Ganges. Kate Gates found her journey so extraordinary that she had to ask herself, was it real or an amazing dream…
“I sank back onto the cushions covering the floor of our little boat as we slipped off down the Ganges. We heard only faint watery sounds and the occasional distant cow or village bell breaking the silence.
There were three boats for twelve Intrepid travellers, plus one extra for food and camping gear. At lunchtime all the boats were lashed together as we continued to float downstream. Exotic platters of delicious food were passed from boat to boat, all magically produced by an elderly man squatting over a one-burner contraption in the fourth boat. Most of us fell asleep after that, waking only when we felt a gentle bump as we pulled into the bank.
That night the boat skippers set up a large tent for meals and several small sleeping tents. The boat cushions were now in use as mattresses. We sat around the campfire getting to know one another and looking up at the unfamiliar stars. At midnight we toasted the New Year. It was the best New Year’s celebration ever.
After more blissful floating, heavenly eating and lazy chat, our destination came into view. It looked like a medieval town looming through the mist, with fires burning along the ghats and the fading sun bathing the tumbledown buildings in a ghostly light. Was this a dream or were we really gliding into the fabled Varanasi?”
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* photo by Anne Frigon – Intrepid Photography Competition