Place to stay for cheaper ?

#1 Dec 8th, 2014, 12:52
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#1
Last time I was in Varanasi, in 2012, I stayed between the main ghat and Harishchandra Ghat, right on the river for about $35 USD a night. I forget the name of the place , it was OK ( room smelled strongly of bug spray and still had a few ants ). I plan on staying for two weeks or more in March 2015 or so, but would like to stay somewhere a little cheaper this time.
Is it at all reasonable to book a normal 'western friendly/ internet Agoda' type place for maybe two nights and then just look around for a cheaper place ? I'm thinking that only 10% of the places in Varanasi are internet/Agoda hooked up and it would be possible to get something cheaper if it's not western tourist happy . Some Kids of the 'burning class' I made friends with around the Harishchandra Ghat pointed me to cheap looking hotel right up the road from where the electric pyre is but I didn't check it out. I'm a film maker so wherever I stay has to have some level of security as I do pack camera and lens's.
I'm a Male in his 50's who is not afraid of dirt, but I do like a hot shower sometimes !
Thanks!
#2 Dec 8th, 2014, 22:26
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#2
My last stay (6 months, Varanasi and Varanasi only) was at The Tiwari Lodge, two minutes from the Ganges and Asi Ghat. The owners - Raj and Rama - are tremendous people. I too travel with LOADS of video/camera/laptop gear and at the Tiwari I never felt anything but that it was all safe. The Tiwari is just across the street from the Haifa/on the main road from city center. The Tiwari a walled guesthouse, with their own Shiva temple on the grounds. From almost day one I felt like family. Interesting fellow travelers there too. Many, long-termers like me . . . studying voice, music, Sanskrit. I believe they are on Trip Advisor. Highly recommended.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure - Marianne Williamson
#3 Dec 8th, 2014, 22:31
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#3
Here's one of the films (my first!) that I shot and recorded in Varanasi. Bansuri and shehnai by my bansuri guru - Sohan Lal.

www.farawayeyes.org/film.php?i=7&d=Mandala

There are a few other shorter films from that trip on my site.

Safe travels
#4 Dec 8th, 2014, 22:36
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#4
i stayed at mishra guesthouse near the burning ghat for 350 rps\night double room. got food poisoning and had a really strange bug crawl on me in the night but hey it was cheap. were lots of foreigners here but i personally wouldn't stay here again.
#5 Dec 9th, 2014, 04:20
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#5
I've stayed at the Ganpati Guesthouse on Meer gaht in 2012. I'm staying there again in 2015. I guess I'm a creature of habit.

The room with ensuite bath is 1200 rupees. The roof top restaurant was good. The wifi goes up and down at will.

Www.ganpatiguesthouse.com
#6 Dec 9th, 2014, 08:31
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#6
Sandhya guest house on Hanuman Ghat is quite good and cheap. Auto rickshaw can drop you quite close to it.
#7 Dec 10th, 2014, 01:01
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#7
Thanks for the recommendations. I also frequently use airbnb for my world stays, but it seems that in India it is really just hotel or guest house listings. It would be amazing to have my own apartment in Varanasi, but I guess that's out of the question.

How warm has it been during February these days ? I'm not trusting the weather sites much anymore because of the recent climate changes. I avoid chilly weather. Should I wait until March ? I've liked the November weather in Varanasi in the past.
#8 Dec 10th, 2014, 01:17
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Late October through late November are my own favorite times in Varanasi. I find it generally clearer than the other end of the winter spectrum, the February/March window. I've found it cooler at night during that Oct/Nov window, as compared to the Feb/March window. Mornings will also be cool but temps in fall aren't typically "too warm/hot". If you're interested in photography/video I'd lean toward Oct/Nov. It might be "chilly"(er) than spring, but are you there to get the images or not be chilly

But no, an apartment is not "out of the question." While searching for a place for one of my six month stays I contacted the Hotel Temple on Ganges (located just south of Asi Ghat). They offered to look for one for me, but I chose a guest house in the Asi area as I like to hang with other travelers . . . sometimes You might contact them for that possibility.
#9 Dec 14th, 2014, 22:35
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Thanks for the reply guys..will note every bit of that. BTW I am planning to go to lakhaniya dari/siddhnath dari. May I know are there any bike rentals available for a day trip or buses which I can take to lakhaniya/siddhnath dari? which falls is preferred? Last time I was in varanasi was back in 2010 which was a short period, this time I am all alone just to tramp and explore.
#10 Dec 14th, 2014, 23:46
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I set my target dates for Varanasi for between Feb 5 and March 10 approximately . I wonder if the two festivals ( Shiva and Holi ) will make getting a room harder ?
#11 Dec 15th, 2014, 22:30
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#11
During my last Holi in Varanasi, my guesthouse was full, people with tents on the roof.
#12 Dec 17th, 2014, 00:11
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darmabum View Post During my last Holi in Varanasi, my guesthouse was full, people with tents on the roof.
Oh my ! I have maybe better get some reservations going then. Is the Shiva festival in Feb. just as crowded as Holi ? I'm worried the cheaper places will be booked not allowing me to wander around and book when I get there around Feb 10 or so.

Would you recommend a water resistant / 'bagged' camera to take in these festivals ? I have never been to either of these festivals, but video I have seen makes me worried of my gear getting soaked or colored !
#13 Dec 17th, 2014, 00:19
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#13
I would recommend whatever Full-Strength camera protection you can muster. As I've said before, having a camera does grant you any special privilege/immunity during these festivals.

The guesthouse mentioned above is a low-budget place. My own room - though subsidized some because I was staying for six months - was Rs300/day. Very basic, but very clean and a very safe place, with a wonderful family who owned/ran it (and its own Shiva temple on the grounds )

As for the Varanasi being crowded at Shivaratri . . . Varanasi is Shiva's town . . . think crowded
#14 Dec 24th, 2014, 05:58
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#14
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Originally Posted by lesdit View Post Would you recommend a water resistant / 'bagged' camera to take in these festivals ? I have never been to either of these festivals, but video I have seen makes me worried of my gear getting soaked or colored !
The first two times I visited India, my gear got 'dusted' twice in Jaipur, at the elephant festival - the day before Holi. But what sort of camera do you have? Can you afford to buy a backup? Say a cheap waterproof one?
#15 Dec 27th, 2014, 22:53
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#15
spud alludes to something here . . . Holi might last one day, but the dyes are around for some time on either end of that day

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