Saturday, March 5

Burning means Learning

Taken from Jen's blog

Varanasi is described as the holiest and oldest Indian city. This description barely does the city justice. We wandered through the small 2m wide winding lanes of the old city. The lanes were filled with small silk, flower and music shops, colorful Hindu shrines and temples. Goats, cows, dogs and monkeys also wandered freely through the lanes. Many of the lanes lead to the different ghats, large steps leading to the Ganges. The ghats were full of color, music and spirituality. People from many different faiths and regions have come here to practice their faith in the holy river. Many people bathe, pray, meditate, chant and give offerings. Some families gaily celebrate marriages and others solemnly attend cremations. It is fascinating to see the diversity of traditions. We went for a walk across town to the university. Along the way we met someone who explained the rituals of cremation at the burning ghat. We didn't completely trust the intentions of our new friend's persistent further invitations so we continued on. We had chai with a snake charmer in front of the burning ghats. We ran into a great parade and met a bright young girl with a huge smile and perfect British English. We bought a lotus flower candle from her and that evening I released it in the river in memory of grandpa. It was beautiful to see all the candles floating in the dark. At nightfall we also saw an amazing performance of Hindu dancers. There was the sound of music, bells and special horns, the smell of burning incense and the beautiful sight of the choreographed dancers. Our last moments of Varanasi began at 5:30 am when we woke up at dawn to watch the sunrise from a boat ride along the Ganges. 

1 comment:

  1. Varanasi was one of my favourite cities - pulsing with life and also creepy. So different!!!

    Chris W