Welcome to Ganges Nirvana Community and Homestay!
You probably have a lot of questions to organise your stay here and your journey!
As Shashwat is very busy, you can find here the most informations you probably need…
1 – HOW TO GET TO THE GANGA GHATS AND COME BACK?
The lowest budget option (not available between 22:00 and 7:00):
- For the Dashashwamedh Ghat (the main Ghat): go to the main road (Manduadih Road), cross the road and take a shared auto-rickshaw for Rs.20. Make sure before hopping in about the price, by asking “20 rupees savari” (20 rupees per person). Tell the driver you want to go to Godowalia. From there (close to Saint Thomas Church), just walk along the Godowalia road towards the Ganga River (around 10 min). Ask the locals for the Dashashwamedh Ghat if you feel lost.
- For the Assi Ghat (to the south): go to the main road (Manduadih Road), don’t cross the road and take a shared auto-rickshaw to BHU (Benares Hindu University). From there, you can find an other auto-rickshaw to Assi Ghat for Rs.10 per person. To come back to Ganges Nirvana, go back to “Godowalia” crossing or to BHU, and ask for “Manduadih, Shri RamNagar colony”, for “20 rupees savari” (20 rupees per person). The more convenient option (24×7 available):
Go to the main road (Manduadih Road), and book a private auto-rickshaw or OLA cabs for Rs.100 for Godowalia, or Rs.150 for Assi Ghat.
To come back to Ganges Nirvana, go back to “Godowalia” crossing and ask for “Manduadih, Shri RamNagar colony”
2 – DO YOU ORGANISE A CITY TOUR?
Yes, we organise free tour, but the costs has to be paid by the guests (transportation, food, boat ticket…). We generously accept donations.
We also do “one day trip all included” for Rs.1000 per person (transportation, food, boat ticket…).
IMPORTANT FOR BOTH OPTIONS: If relevant, tell your driver (insist!) to take you to Shri Ram Nagar Colony NOT Ram Nagar (which is on the other side of the Ganga), and near Manduadih Railway Station NOT Varanasi junction (which is an other train station). It is a common mistake. Insist!
3 – HOW CAN I DO FOR THE MEAL?
In our homestay, we have a kitchen for guests: Which can be use to cook your own food and enjoy. You will need to ask us before fo permission (extra charge might be applicable).
Around our homestay, there are few options:
- For proper indian meal, you can go to Park Inn Hotel, or to Rajastani Rasoi (second floor of Royal Guest House).
- For snacks, you will plenty of little shop on the left and right side of the main road (samosas, bread fitters, potato chips, cold drinks, lassi, ice cream…). One shop Yadav Milk Bahar on the left side on the main road, in front of lakhraon railway crossing, ask any local.
- For grocery product in the nearby Patanjali Shop on the left hand side before the main road.
- For some special products: you can go to Spencer’s Supermarket at Mehmoorganj (1.5km) and Big Bazaar Hyper Market (you can find everything here) at Sigra (5km). In the city, we can recommend:
- Kashi Chaat Bhandar and Deena Chaat Bhandar (Indian Food) in Godowalia road.
- Kerala Cafe (south indian food restaurant) at Bhelupur Crossing.
- Pahalwan Lassi Shop at Lanka for lassi.
4 – WHERE IS THE NEAREST ATM / MONEY EXCHANGE?
- State Bank of India (SBI Bank ATM): on the right in front of the Manduadih Railway Station
- SBI Bank ATM and HDFC Bank ATM: at DLW road, near to the Kalawati Marble and Steel shop
We can change only dollars (ask Shashwat). You also can go to Godowalia, and on your way towards the Ghats on the sides you will find some shops.
5 – HOW TO WASH MY CLOTHES?
You can buy soap/detergent from nearby Patanjali Shop and use a bucket in the bathroom to wash yourself. You can put them on the line on the rooftop to dry. Your clothes are your own responsibility.
Or you can give it to Laundry just by calling Pramod “the laundry man”. His mobile no. is +918738002972, and you have to tell him to please come and pick up your clothes from Lane no.2 from Shashwat’s House. He usually takes 2-3 days to deliver the clean clothes for Rs.15-20 per cloth. Sometimes it can be delayed.
Please, be flexible while giving your clothes to any laundry nearby or else wash yourself!
6 – WHERE TO BUY OR RECHARGE THE INDIAN SIM CARD?
Go to the near Sankat Mochan Temple where is the official stores of Airtel & Vodafone.
The most convenient way is to take a direct and private auto-rickshaw to Sankat Mochan for Rs.120-150.
Or you can take a shared auto-rickshaw to BHU and then can walk from there.
The SIM card will cost you between Rs.500-700 (unlimited data and calling for all India for 1 to 3 months). You will need a passport and an indian visa photocopy and one passport size photograph. We do not give any address proof or letter for buying the SIM card, you have to request the shop to manage without it.
You can find many shops in the city center, near Godowalia crossing. Or for Rs.50 extra cost, ask Shashwat to recharge it for you.
7 – FROM YOUR COMMUNITY & HOMESTAY, HOW TO PURCHASE A BUS/TRAIN TICKET?
Always go and book the tickets at least 2 days in advance, take your passport with you.
For the train ticket: Go to Varanasi Junction Railway Station. In the main building, there is a foreign tourist reservation center. In case of emergency, go there one day in advance at 8:00 for a “tatkal ticket” (emergency ticket). Never try to book a train ticket online (only to check the timetable). “National train enquiry system” is a good App.
For the bus ticket: Go to the main Varanasi Bus Stand (Chaudhari Charan Singh Bus Station), near Varanasi Junction Railway Station.
From travel agent: You can also book train, bus or flight ticket through a travel agent near Godowalia/Girja Ghar Crossing, at “Siddhi Vinayak Tour and Travels”, Hotel Athithi Satkar, Opp.Nidan Kendra.
8 – HOW TO CONTINUE MY JOURNEY?
- Direct Bus from Varanasi to Kathmandu: Go to Chaudhari Charan Singh Bus Station (near Varanasi Junction Railway Station, also known as Varanasi Government Bus Stand), and buy the ticket at the bus stand (look for the yellow sign VARANASI TO KATHMANDU). They sell tickets only for two days ahead (price in May 2018: Rs.1290).
- Other options is to take a train to Gorakhpur: from there take a bus for Sunauli border, or take a good bus to Pokhara or Kathmandu, with front seat because the road conditions are bad. You can also go by bus (not far away) to Lumbini where Lord Buddha was born or to Chitwan National Park. Highly recommended to buy a nepali SIM card at the border.
There are 2 daily good trains from Manduadih Railway Train Station, taking around 12 to 14 hours. The names of those trains are :
- “Shiv Ganga” at 19:20
- “Manduadih New Dehli Express” at 22:20
You first have to book a train to Haridwar. From there, you can take a bus or an auto-Rickshaw to Rishikesh (28km, Rs.50-100 per person). You can also pass by New Delhi and take a bus to Rishikesh.
To other destinations:
- to Agra and Jaipur: There is a train called “Marudhar Express” starting from Varanasi Junction Railway Station.
- to Khajuraho (the kamasutra temple place): Take a train from Varanasi Junction Railway Station.
- to Bodgaya (where Lord Buddha got enlightenment): Take a train to Gaya.
- to Kushinagar (where Lord Buddha Died): Take a train to Gorakhpur and then a bus to Kushinagar.
- to Rajgir (monastery built for Buddha, also known for the famous Nalanda University): Take a train to Rajgir directly or via Bodgaya.
9 – FOR ANY OTHER SPECIAL REQUEST?
Usually, Shashwat try to help travelers to save their time, money, energy, and save them from getting scammed. But still, it require a lot of effort for him.
If he can, he will help you with personal or special request, but you might have to pay some extra cost to cover his time, fuel cost and, most importantly his positive energy…!
For example, he can:
- Come with you or take you on his vehicle to look for what you need (special shopping like clothes, essential oil…). He is good at bargaining or negotiating.
- Show you the city and amazing places: he is a very good guide as he is native from Varanasi and know some unknown but authentic places (food…).
- Help you to organise your journey (go to train station or airport, buy SIM card, book an OLA cab, etc.). (If you want Shashwat to accompany you: less than 500m for free; 500m-2km for Rs.50; 2km to 5km for Rs.200; more than 5km for Rs.500.)