My first impressions of Varanasi are mostly good, except that there are clearly more tourists here than I am used to. And these are not all western tourists, either. This is a town of mostly Indian tourists (also known as pilgrims). While they are here for mostly religious reasons, you can see in meandering through the streets that most of the tourist shops are set up for them, and there is intense bargaining and selling going on.
The other thing is that the streets in the old part of town remind me a lot of Old Delhi, although they feel more lively and colorful, and in some places even more squeezed. The ghats are quite unique to Varanasi in their importance, and thousands of people were bathing at them and generally hanging out.
Tomorrow we will take an early morning and late night boat ride on the Ganga to watch some of the ceremony and chaos.