Hidden Temples and Guru G
Had another omelette for breakky then cleared out my room to check-out. Because it was my last afternoon in Varanasi and I had seen most of the sights I did a little research and found out about a nice Hindu temple, the Kaal Bhairav temple, which was apparently worth visiting. I left my bag in the guest house and headed up to the main street to bargain a auto rickshaw driver to find this temple, in no time I was on my way. The driver told me that hardly any tourists visit this temple and asked how I knew about, and I said it was in my book but this still made me excited that I may have found a little known hidden gem! We stopped after 10 minutes and walked for a couple of hundred metres through some narrow alleyways to the temple where I had to take my shoes off of course and then wash my hands in water from an old mans ladle thing and bought a kind of puja (offering to the deities) consisting of different flowers. When entering the temple I had to ring a bell above the doorway (this is to ward of evil spirits and also awaken yourself to be ready to enter the temple). I then went into the inner shrine in the temple where there was a kind of alter with a statue inside of one of the Hindu deities and two men on either side who where blessing people as they gave their puja to the alter. I lay down my flowers and got a spot of paint on my forehead and blessed by the man on one side then moved over to the other man who looked a little like Ghandi actually, and put his hand on my head then shouted something and hit me on the back several times. I then went outside to the main part of the temple where many old holy men were waiving they're various sticks with feathers on them at me and beckoning me over. I went over to one who waived his stick with peacock feathers around my face for an awkwardly long amount of time in silence and then he tied a black thread bracelet around my wrist for good luck and to ward off evil yay! I really had no idea what was going on at all to be honest and still font quite understand most of it but it was a very interesting experience and it was good to get the chance to go through all those rituals when visiting a Hindu temple. I have however done a little googleing since and found out that Hindu mythology associates peacocks with the god Lakshmi and the feathers thus represent his qualities: kindness, patience and good fortune.
After the temple the driver took me to see a really neat detailed model of the Ganges and the Gahts in Varanasi which made for some good snaps and he also had pretty good banter and when asking my name I told him but everyone says "seen" so I explained it was Sean (pronounced shaun) like Sean Connery aka James Bond. He then went on to tell me that James Bond is really popular in India and apparently many people go out of their way and spend heaps of money having the digits 007 in their number plate and mobile number for good luck! Then in conversation he told me about his Guru and I asked if it would be possible to meet the Guru. We went back to the town centre and down some more alleys to a small house where I had to take my shoes off and wait for Guru G who was apparently on his way from a temple nearby. A bearded man wearing white arrived shortly after and invited me upstairs to his office, a small room with a cushioned floor where we sat cross legged as he explained the services he could offer me which included various types of fortune reading, palm reading, looking at past lives and future lives and he showed me his client guest book, which included Goldie Hawn with photos which he was very proud of, to assure me of his authenticity. Once we settled on a price for his services i gave him my date of birth and then he got out a book and did some calculations for 5 minutes in silence (enough time for me to get a candid photo :-) He then told me a few things about my future such as that I would settle into a job in 2013, meet someone and settle down in 2016, apparently I am an extremely romantic person and the person I meet will be too, he also told me I would have 2 children and eventually 2 grandchildren and I would die when I am 83 but my partner would live longer than me. He then offered to answer any questions I had but I felt like the information he told me was all a hit overwhelming and I couldn't think of anything to ask even though I could have asked anything about my future! but I did ask where I would live and he said I would not return to my home country but would find work and live abroad.
So a very thought provoking and spiritual afternoon you could say! After heading back to my hotel to pick up my bag and laundry I had washed (almost forgot) I headed to the train station for my second 12 hour train journey. It went quite smoothly however and I slept pretty much all of it (these temples and Gurus really take a lot out of you :-) I really enjoyed Varanasi and was a welcome break after Delhi but was especially looking forward to seeing the Taj Mahal on the other side of my train journey!!