Where to stay: Asi or Dasaswamedh ghats?

#1 Sep 9th, 2014, 09:23
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  • michelleip is offline
#1
Hi,

I realize there are already many hotel posts for Varanasi, but I'm finding myself stuck deciding between hotels in two very different locations. We're deciding between Asi Ghat (Hotel Ganges View) and Dasaswamedh Ghat (Ganpati Guest House - technically Meer Ghat). I've read great things about both hotels.

I've read all your excellent posts and I think I'm aware of the pros and cons of staying in each location: Asi (farther removed from the action, but calmer and more peaceful) vs. Dasaswamedh (right in the "heart of it all", but potentially overwhelming - though Ganpati has what sounds like a fantastic quiet little rooftop patio).

We only have 4 days, we're both more on the introverted side... but I (think!) I would love to just dive right into the action. I'm sure I'm not the only one here experiencing this dilemma - so, if you had to choose one location or the other, which would it be, and why?

Thanks!

Michelle
#2 Sep 9th, 2014, 09:36
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#2
I would prefer meer ghat over assi any day,but then again being an Indian am quite familiar with the chaos and don't find it that intimidating.
My sole reason would be that if I have to 'experience' Varanasi in just 4 days,i'd rather stay amidst all what the city is known for.If i was staying long term,maybe the idea of a quiter neighbourhood would be inviting,but anything lesser than a week,and dasaswamedh area it would be,for me.
#3 Sep 9th, 2014, 09:38
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#3
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Originally Posted by michelleip View Post ... we're both more on the introverted side... but I (think!) I would love to just dive right into the action...
There's diving right into the action and there's hurling yourself into the crashing surf whipped up by a hurricane: you might survive, but you risk getting battered by the tempest and swept away in the rip currents.

You're introverted. Stay at Asi Ghat.
Walt Whitman - Song of Myself

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
#4 Sep 9th, 2014, 09:41
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#4
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Originally Posted by abhinandab View Post I would prefer meer ghat over assi any day,but then again being an Indian am quite familiar with the chaos and don't find it that intimidating.
My sole reason would be that if I have to 'experience' Varanasi in just 4 days,i'd rather stay amidst all what the city is known for.If i was staying long term,maybe the idea of a quiter neighbourhood would be inviting,but anything lesser than a week,and dasaswamedh area it would be,for me.
That's my line of thinking too, abhinandab. We're just honestly a bit concerned about finding it too overwhelming and hectic (especially since Varanasi is our first destination in India - we're just "jumping straight in").

Asi is maybe a "safer" choice, as hfot2 clearly thinks... :P

Thanks!
#5 Sep 9th, 2014, 09:53
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O dear,1st time in India ,straight to Varanasi?it might come as a bit of a shock,in that case.well,the Ganpati rooftop can prove to be your refuge,i believe.take one of the better view rooms if you do plan to stay there.they have some windowless cells as well
#6 Sep 9th, 2014, 10:48
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We're also considering Kedareswar B&B at Chowki Ghat, right in the middle of Dasaswamedh and Asi ghats. This might be a "middle ground" and a good compromise? Or still too busy and hectic for first-timers?
#7 Sep 9th, 2014, 19:22
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#7
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Originally Posted by michelleip View Post We're also considering Kedareswar B&B at Chowki Ghat, right in the middle of Dasaswamedh and Asi ghats. This might be a "middle ground" and a good compromise? Or still too busy and hectic for first-timers?

I don't know this middle ground. But I would recommend choosing only between Dasaswamedha and Asi. As this is apparently your first stop in India, you'll be smacked with culture shock anyway, so perhaps not notice how extreme Dasaswamadha can be. Asi is indeed the safer choice.

Note, however, that Asi has in recent years become a more popular and social site (with attendant litter), so that there's plenty to see. It even has its own evening aarti, and a number of wedding parties show up daily here just as they do at Dasaswamedha.

There is no comparison, though, to the constant uproar at Dasaswamedha. On an auspicious date the place can be so crowded with wedding parties that a poor tourist can scarcely force his way through. And the evening aarti there is a huge affair, with attendant crowds (and once a bomb).

That said, we find it works really well for us to stay at Asi for the peace and quiet, walk and walk the ghats by day, or the interior alleys for the shade, and choose whether to make an evening of it by taking an autorickshaw to the whizz-bang production at Dasaswamedha of an evening, or just staying at Asi for the sweet and peaceful aarti there.
#8 Sep 9th, 2014, 19:33
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When sperehealfe read to me that this was your first stop in India, I gasped whilst cooking the porridge for breakfast.

First time India, "first destination" Varanasi - I'd choose Asi Ghat myself -but then again, I wouldn't choose Varanasi, one of my all time favourite Indian cities, as my first city.

Now, on to the specifics - do you already have a possibility for Hotel Ganges View? We have tried to get in there on several occasions and it was always full up on our dates. We've opted for Palace on Ganges (posh - choose one of the 2.5 rooms facing the river) and Haifa (their only "executive suite") instead.

distaff
#9 Sep 9th, 2014, 19:43
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by michelleip View Post Hi,

I realize there are already many hotel posts for Varanasi, but I'm finding myself stuck deciding between hotels in two very different locations. We're deciding between Asi Ghat (Hotel Ganges View) and Dasaswamedh Ghat (Ganpati Guest House - technically Meer Ghat). I've read great things about both hotels.

I've read all your excellent posts and I think I'm aware of the pros and cons of staying in each location: Asi (farther removed from the action, but calmer and more peaceful) vs. Dasaswamedh (right in the "heart of it all", but potentially overwhelming - though Ganpati has what sounds like a fantastic quiet little rooftop patio).

We only have 4 days, we're both more on the introverted side... but I (think!) I would love to just dive right into the action. I'm sure I'm not the only one here experiencing this dilemma - so, if you had to choose one location or the other, which would it be, and why?

Thanks!

Michelle
you will feel yourself aside at Asi since it is the last one. Feel yourself in between at dasa.
#10 Sep 9th, 2014, 20:12
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#10
I'm in broad agreement with the above posts. Is there a particular reason you've chosen Varanasi as you first destination in India? It's a place that many middle-class urban Indians themselves find overwhelming! (I personally love it though.) This being your first trip I'd urge you to reconsider going there right at the beginning, although visit it you must.

I've stayed at the Haifa hotel mentioned by hfot in the past and found it to be quite alright. I was in Varansi only last month and on this visit I stayed at Hotel Buddha in Lahurabir. It's in a quieter, less manic part of town, about a 15 minute cycle rickshaw ride (Rs. 40/50) away from Godolia Chowk-the main square from where you can easily walk to Dashashwamedh Ghat. This hotel was also quite alright. They charged about Rs. 2000 for the night for a twin AC bed room with an attached toilet. Clean. A nice breakfast buffet was included. You may consider this option also should you wish.

Hope you like Varanasi!
#11 Sep 9th, 2014, 20:36
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Originally Posted by trekky View Post you will feel yourself aside at Asi since it is the last one. Feel yourself in between at dasa.
Actually, they've built another quite lengthy ghat upstream. I believe we learned the name of it and think I have it written down somewhere, but can't find it just now.
#12 Sep 9th, 2014, 20:43
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First of all, it IS India, and "diving into the action" is relative (the action in India always seems to dive into me ) More a matter of what type of action you want. I found Dasashawamedh more heavily weighted to commerce, while the Asi action is more neighborhood-ish. In the Asi area you might look into Hotel Temple on Ganges, they have a website. I stayed at the Tiwari Lodge, just across the street from the Haifa. I spent 172 or my 175 days in Varanasi on my last trip at the Tiwari. It's basic, but the management/owners are stellar people, a great family. I spent three days at the Haifa during the height of monsoon on that trip. Electricity goes out . . . reducing the single fan in my room to an ironic hanging sculpture . . . stayed at the Haifa - if the truth be known - for the bath tub Invited friends from the Tiwari over during my stay for loooooooooong baths

On my first trip to Varanasi I stayed at the original Yogi Lodge located deep in the canyons off of Vishwanath Lane. Nice once, but the next two six-month stays were at Asi.

I chose Asi, ultimately, because there is another-action going on in Varanasi that transcends the commerce and hassle . . . that, for me, can take time to access, and the (relative) quiet of Asi helps.

If you're really into knowing more about what makes/what has made Varanasi 'tick', try to find "Benaras: City of Light" by Diana Eck. Over 300 pages of just Varanasi. Wonderful book.

Wherever you decide, enjoy
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure - Marianne Williamson
#13 Sep 9th, 2014, 20:56
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#13
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Originally Posted by Darmabum View Post First of all, it IS India, and "diving into the action" is relative (the action in India always seems to dive into me ) More a matter of what type of action you want. I found Dasashawamedh more heavily weighted to commerce, while the Asi action is more neighborhood-ish. ...
Wherever you decide, enjoy
Glad you finally showed up DB. I was going to send you here if you didn't appear on your own soon.

distaff
#14 Sep 9th, 2014, 20:59
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#14
You Vermonters are up three hours earlier than I . . . nothin' gets my blood flowing like a good Varanasi chat first thing . . . now, to coffee
#15 Sep 9th, 2014, 21:23
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#15
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Originally Posted by hfot2 View Post Now, on to the specifics - do you already have a possibility for Hotel Ganges View? We have tried to get in there on several occasions and it was always full up on our dates.
We have a choice of ground floor (no view, R3000/night) and upper floor (with view, R4500/night). We're thinking of going for the ground floor room due to price. Are these still okay? Or better to splurge on the good ones?

Seems like the general consensus is Asi ghat. Varanasi was chosen as our first location because we only have two weeks and we're working our way west so it's inconvenient in that amount of time to "backtrack" out of our way back to Varanasi. I didn't want to miss it

I'll be in Hyderabad for a week for a conference beforehand (though not too much sight seeing will occur in that time) - my boyfriend will only arrive in Hyderabad the day the conference ends.

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