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All the mod cons, as the English say, which, together with the Taj Group’s signature attentiveness—not to mention 40 quiet garden acres for leisurely strolling—make the Taj Ganges Varanasi (formerly known as the Gateway Ganges) a lovely respite from Varanasi’s endlessly engaging colour and eventfulness.
As for those mod cons: everything you’d expect from a five-star hotel, of course including full connectivity, large-screen televisions, room service, two restaurants and a bar specializing in finger-foods, a multi-faceted spa, a lovely swimming pool, and those 40 soothing garden acres.
Varanasi is India’s Holy City, and morning or evening walks with our Micato Travel Director down to the goddess river Ganges in the company of a constant, cheerful stream of pilgrims from all over the subcontinent (and far beyond), perhaps renting a little skiff (our Travel Director is on a first-name basis with the obliging boatmen of the holy river), and watching the exuberant ongoing ceremonies ashore, seeing mothers and businessmen and teenagers and bearded mystics bathe their misdeeds and doubts away in the water, seeing the pyres of those blessed enough to have their ashes joined with the Ganges, is a mind- and soul-expanding—and, it should be said, unforgettably enjoyable—experience.
At some point in our Varanasi sojourn, we’ll likely drive a short way to Sarnath, a major pilgrimage site for Buddhists (once again, from around the world) as the place where Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, delivered his first sermon, returning to the worldly—and if we choose to think of them that way—spiritual pleasures of the Taj Ganges Varanasi.