I traveled to Varanasi by night train from Agra on the 4th April, arriving on the 5th. I met a few people at the train station before the train came, trains are always late in India, we set off about 50 minutes later than due. There are three classes of travel on these night trains, 2ac, 3ac and sleeper. The ac denotes air conditioning, this isn't necessary on an overnight train. The number relates to the number of stacked bunks, i.e. 2 or 3. In sleeper class (non ac) it is always 3. Sleeper is cheapest, 3ac costs about twice sleeper and 2ac is about twice what 3ac costs. For the 12 hour journey it was two hundred and something rupees, this equates to roughly £3. After arriving in Varanasi I bid farewell to the other travelers and went to book a ticket to Bodh Gaya for the next day.
The river Ganges passes through Varanasi, on the banks of the river are what they call Ghats. The Ganges is sacred to Hindus and they use the river for bathing, washing clothes and cremating bodies. Unfortunately the river is heavily polluted and fish can not live in it, it doesn't stop people from swimming in it.
I stayed the night at Vishnu Rest House, located on Pandhey Ghat, it was a nice place although a bit overrun with monkeys. The hotel has it's own restaurant with pretty nice food (but terribly poor service) so I ate with some of the others from the train.
I checked out on the 6th (happy birthday Jade) and went for the train to Bodh Gaya. This train was about 3 hours late but I again met some people at the train station so it wasn't too bad.