Something we didn't fully expect..
Trip Start Jan 08, 2011
261Trip End Dec 20, 2011
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So the day didn't start too well, had a bad night sleep and woke up with the worst tooth ache ever so first things first find a dentist, found one he hit my teeth and said I have a little hole and got some drugs for pain he told me to go back but it was a little grimy for my liking so Phil did me a temporary one with the tooth stuff we brought with us, just incase this happened, we are so prepared! So now hopefully it will get me to Delhi where the dentists are more western.
Phil got his first hair cut in India we are both impressed its was not as bad as we thought it would be so he is happy with shorter hair, don't worry mums he hasn't shaved it of like he use too!
Took a walk along the river and we were surprised how clean it was (something we don't associate with India anymore!) Almost felt like walking down the sea front at home, very quiet around midday
We walked with him, it is quite a strange feeling when you can see people, be it wrapped up, burning on a fire - very surreal as you can perfectly make out the feet arms and heads.
The Shiva fire has been alight for 3500 years and has never gone out, this is were the family members light their wood from and take it to the body and they light the wood bed where the person lays.
The lower and middle class/caste are put on the wood beds on the side of the river to burn, it takes 3 hours per fire and 250kg of holy wood and then the ashes are put into the river, there is a enclosure higher up which the higherclass, maharaja, brahmin, are burnt in. They burn 50 - 100 bodies per day. I half expected there to be smell associated with this but they go to every effort to make it nice with sandal wood powder which is put over the corpse, the bodies are wrapped up in beautiful material, full of colours and sparkles.
Pregnant women, young children, people bitten by snake, people who died from small pox and leprosy, and holy men are wrapped up in pretty cloth and heavy weights then taken out by boat and dropped into the water they are seen as being pure.Seeing this done is very strange.
Did not see any women by the fires and did not see one person upset, everyone just going about it in a job like manner.
So after being so close to death, literally, we were a little shellshocked, in our world and culture, we are not so close to it, everything is hidden from us, we have a ceremony where people mourn and express their emotions and we are somewhat sheltered in a way from the reality of it, so definitely another experience we won't be forgetting quickly.