Monday, April 16, 2012


The Ganges River in Varanasi
Memorable.  Spritual.  Shocking.  Colorful.  Saddening.  Surprising.  Tiring.  Unbelievable.   Just a few of the words that Varanasi brought to mind.

Varanasi is unlike anywhere that we have ever been, and probably unlike anywhere else on Earth.  Life in Varanasi centers around ghats (i.e., stairs and boat landings) along the Ganges River, which is for Hindus the most sacred river in India.  The scene along the river is an assault on the senses.  On a boat trip down the river around sunrise, this is a bit of what we saw:

- People bathing, some ritually and some lathering up like was their first bath in months
- Pipes of brown sewage gushing into the river
- People brushing their teeth 
- Trash littering the banks of the river
- Cremations on funeral pyres beside the river, the ashes being thrown into the water
- People practicing yoga
- Quite a few cows and dogs meandering through the scene

An early morning boat ride and the evening Aarti Ceremony were the best ways for us to experience the river life.  A fun dinner with new friends from Hong Kong and an eventful autorickshaw ride home capped off our evening in Varanasi.  What a place!

The Aarti Ceremony at Dasaswamedh Ghat

Sara at Dasaswamedh Ghat

Bathing in the Ganges River

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