Travel to Varanasi, India (Day 11)

Today was a pretty long day to get to Varanasi. We left at 10 am for the airport, which took a bit longer to get to than we’d expected. When we arrived, there was a man who looked to be in the military, guarding the door and he wanted to see our passports and tickets. We didn’t have the tickets, so we had to stand in the cold and cross our fingers that the internet would work on our phones to pull them up.. it did thankfully.
After we got in, we walked to another door, to ANOTHER military person and were asked yet again for our tickets and passports. We showed them, and went inside to see an empty check-in counter, and not yet open security line. At 11 am. After sitting for a while, I found someone to ask about the check-in counter and was told to go scan the luggage I wanted to check. So we took our luggage just beside the second guard who had looked at our stuff (and not told to tell us to scan the bags) and put our bags through the scanner. Once the bags went through, they put a sticker seal around the zippers and locks. If you didn’t have a lock, they zip tied your luggage closed! We then went and got in line to get our boarding passes and hand over the luggage.. weird thing is, they didn’t check our passports to give us the boarding passes. They did give us a little luggage tags that we had to put on each carryon item.
At 12 am, an hour later (and hour from our flight), the security line opened. The security line didn’t check our passports either. So the only two times our passports were checked was when they were just looking at a PDF saying our name+flight+date. When we put our things onto the x-ray machine belt, we were told we had to go to another line because we were women. So we had to go maybe 30 feet away from our things as they were scanned, wait, and one by one walk through a scanner that was totally ignored (a ton of monuments and hotels have had them and those too were 100% required and beeps 100% ignored), and then go into a little box of a room with curtains, and be scanned with a hand metal detector and then thoroughly patted down by a woman. She even had me open my locket. Once I retrieved my bags from the scanner, each little bag tag had been stamped to show it went through security.

Stamped carryon tags from two flights

Then when it was time to board, we thought surely they would check our IDs then…. Nope. Definitely different. It was very nice though, we were given lunch! Certainly haven’t experienced that in a one-hour flight in the US before.

The first leg of our flight was from Udaipur to Delhi, and second was with a different airline to go from Delhi to Varanasi. For some reason, we had to get our bag from baggage claim, meet a driver, leave the airport, and be driven… back to the same airport (all this took one hour) but a different terminal… so we could begin everything all over again. The line to get our tickets was so long, I was really afraid we were going to miss our flight in spite of the two hours of layover we had remaining. Thankfully the line only took an hour, and security and the joyous second thorough pat down were quick. Once we made it through, we had to go downstairs to catch a bus to go to our plane. After an hour and fifteen minutes or so of flying… we made it to Varanasi, were picked up (the guy from the agency meeting us had a sign for “Hazar and Laurens”..the last one was for “Mr. Hajar,” hah!), and arrived at our hotel around 7:10 pm.
We had dinner at the hotel buffet. I had another tomato based gravy with paneer that was really good.. just forgot to take down the name!
13th Feb: Day 11: Udaipur airport drop &  Varanasi Arrival
Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel & Drive towards the Udaipur Airport to board a flight 9W 938 departing at 1300 hrs to Delhi.
Arrival Delhi airport Terminal 3 at 1410 hrs. Exit Delhi airport & my car will pick you up & will transfer to Terminal D1 to catch flight SG 269 departing at 1700 hrs to Varanasi.
Arrive Varanasi airport at 1825 hrs & transfer to Hotel Radisson.
Overnight at Varanasi