It was your typical Monday morning in Varanasi’s old town. The thick smell of smoke wafted in the air as we pushed and shoved our way down tiny curving streets. Today we had decided to go to a small fruit vendor who in the past had given us the best deal on cherimoya fruits.
It sounded like a relaxing morning until we stepped foot in the old town again. It’s easy to lose your direction there. Small alleyways shoot off everywhere and none in a straight line. Many times we were positive we were headed directly to the Ganga river but found ourselves back on the main road, the complete opposite side of town.
We wandered lost for quite a while until we heard some yelling coming from infront of us. We are always cautious when it comes to yelling and fighting, but this sounded different. A man was yelling out in Hindi and when he saw us standing in the small alley he waved his arms frantically and we could only guess what to do next. We could hear the loud foot steps of a large bull running towards us, as we jumped to a raised ledge off the path.
A vegetable seller nearby saw how frightened I looked as I refused to step back into the alley for a while. He assured us “It will not happen again, very rare, very rare” and we were on our way.
Many of the streets do not have a nearby ledge to jump to and we could have easily been trampled or badly hurt.
For some reasons the cows in India and I did not get along. If I ever locked eyes with a seemingly friendly wandering cow the large animal would start to charge. At first we thought it was a coincidence, but I can full-heartedly say that after 6 weeks of backpacking in India the cows have it out for me.
Even when we ate in restaurants, cows seemed to be drawn towards us. The cow in the picture above was curious how we were enjoying our dosas.
When you visit Varanasi make sure to take caution while walking through the old town and hope that I am nowhere near you!