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Album: By Country | By Date India | May 2001 < Prev: On the Train to Varanasi | Next: On The Banks Of The Ganges >
Travelogue: By Country | By Date India | May 2001  

May 2001 - Varanasi, Holy City on a Sacred River

Rest, math, journals, and a walk to the sacred Ganges River

Working on math in the hotel garden Maggie writing in her journal Munchie shop Ripe mangoes
Cool water cart Cool water salesmen Rickshaw in the bustle of a traffic circle closed to autorickshaws and cars.  Curiously the photo does not show the dirt Melon cart
Heading down a "ghat" to the Ganges, officially as well as popularly called the Ganga. From time immemorial the holy river of the Hindus. The Ganges, personified as a goddess, originally flowed only in heaven until she was brought down by Bhagiratha to purify the ashes of his ancestors. She came down reluctantly, cascading first on the head of Shiva, in order to break her fall, which would have shattered the Earth. Umbrella frames near Dasanwamedh Ghat The banks of the Ganges, at least along this reach, are amazingly clean.  We expected to see something closer to the Nile, where the banks were frequently hidden by cascades of garbage. Flowers on a string.  One of the amazing things about India are the floral decorations.  Cars carrying newlyweds are hung with nets of individually strung flowers.  Marigold garlands are everywhere, and particularly in the South, women wear jasmine garlands in their hair.  Even tiny little hole in the wall shops often have a fresh garland over a picture of one god or another.
Barber on the ghat.  Pilgrims sometimes have their heads shaved. For most of its course the Ganga is a wide and sluggish stream.  It flows through one of the most fertile and densely populated tracts of territory in the world -- from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal.  The Ganga drains a quarter of India.  For most of its course the Ganges flows through Indian territory, although its large delta in the Bengal area lies mostly in Bangladesh. Shiva.  Crescent moon in his hair and snake around his neck. Pots
Hanuman shrine boat Boatmen resting in the heat of the day.  The temperatures have been over 100 nearly every day. Boats in the river
Hindu trident on tree.  The trident represents the three main gods in the Hindu pantheon - Shiva, Vishnu, and  Brahma.  Many people have a favorite, usually Shiva or Vishnu.  The trident is everywhere. Benares is still famous as a center for beautiful handwoven cloth.  This is a loom we passed Material straight from the loom
Colors Wood store.  We think it's wood for cremations.  Varanasi is a popular place for cremations.  Pots are everywhere.  Tea is served in little disposable (!) clay cups. Building with rickshaws