Just before we dive into the Ganges (Ganga as its known here) I realized that we’ve been sending a very pretty picture of India, you know, the Taj, fancy forts, Maharana’s palaces etc etc. So here’s a couple of ‘real’ pics just to let you know that its not all sweetness.
If you look carefully there are a couple of wading birds picking their way among the trash.
Cow dung pattied into rounds, by hand, and dried in the sun. Used as a heat source for cooking. Good reusing!!!
Yet another common sight, cows or water buffalo any where and everywhere converting grass into cooking fuel.
Another common sight. Hard to see but there’s a little snack bar behind this family of porkers
We are in a motorized rickshaw, 3 wheels, a noisy polluting engine ( unless you are in Delhi where they are all natural gas!!) and an even noisier horn. All wing mirrors are folded in or lost on cars and trucks. You just use your horn. I’m usually pretty game to drive in any country (especially after Bangkok) but I wasn’t even tempted.
The road belongs to anybody who is on it. Noisy but it seems to work, no rules apply just don’t hit each other.
A Puri stand.
Huge amounts of diary are consumed here (most are vegetarians). This is fresh paneer and in the background are sweets (very popular).
Alleys abound. They make great short cuts or really long ones if you don’t know where your going (we usually didn’t!!).
We are in the dry season and so it will shrink a little more before the rains hit.
The water level gets up to about the top of that white paint in the middle of the pic.That’s about twenty feet above what it is today.
Doing the laundry, beating my clothes on the rocks sure shortens the life of them.
Now we get to use the dryer.
It so happened that it was Kumbh mela. This is one of the holiest and biggest Hindu celebrations. It happens at four different locations every twelve years. The main one was at Allahabad but Varanasi is a pretty popular place to be for it. Its a gathering of over 60 MILLION people. A lot were at Varanasi, hotels were full and charging double and triple what they usually get, everywhere was crowded. In to this walk Mary and Peter, the two country mice. We, of course, had no what was going on till later.
Bathing at the ghats ( steps). You might spot somebody you know in there, washing his sins away.
Sadu’s in boats, Holy women, Holy men, Babu’s this is all part of Kumhb Mela.
Just a few of the 60 million.
Next stop a spot of Tea.