Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Pilgrimage Special: Holy City of India

After Sarnath, we were off the Varanasi. Varanasi is often referred to as the holy city of India or the religious capital of India This is understandable since this is one of the holy places where devout Hindus converge to take a holy bath at the Ganges and where some come to spend the last days of their lives. Hindus believe they will end up in heaven if they die here. At the Ganges river then , you do not just get to view Hindus taking a holy dip but you'll also get to see the cremation of dead people. Photography of the cremation is not allowed but one is free to take a shot at every other thing that catches the fancy, from the little flower lamp which you can buy and release into the Ganges as an act of devotion to the souvenirs peddlers on the boats etc...etc.... Since Varanasi is the place where Hindu converges, officially our pilgrimage should have ended in Sarnath...

Flower lamp for the holy Ganges...

Peddlars of souvenirs on boats...



Taking a holy dip in the Ganges...


Boats anchored at the bank of Ganges...

Buddhist monks visiting Varanasi...

3 comments:

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Liudmila said...

Sincerely after I've seen many documentaries about the Ganges -dead bodies inside it, persons with all kinds of illnesses that enter in it, others that drink from it, others that wash something in it... I understand that it's a Holy river, but...

footiam said...

The first time when I was in Varanasi, the local guide voiced his disappointment that we would be going home after one day. He said we don't have time. Otherwise, we could go for a bath in the river. Obviously, to the local, it is just a clean holy river . We could see dead bodies cremated there but we don't see bodies floating in the water but we heard that if they were not fully burnt, they would be thrown into the river, with a stone tied to it to sink it. I believe the locals can stand the water. In Agra, for example, the tap water has a strange taste and foreigners would end up in the toilet because their stomach couldn't take the water; or so, I heard. I take bottled mineral water there and if you buy from shop, you'd have to be careful that the cap are properly sealed; that's they should not be opened before lest it is filled with normal tap water. Eating out is also a problem; it's really very dirty there!

Have another serving of Travel Pangs!