Messing about on the river!
Trip Start Sep 09, 2007
33Trip End Ongoing
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Once on board, we were surrounded by 'India's Big Babies' - grown men and women eating with their mouths open slapping their food, slurping drinks, belching, shouting to talk, coughing, farting, sneezing and scratching their particulars freely with no attempt to be discreet. Lovely! The worst of these was an important-looking fat Muslim man, complete with armed military escorts who was in our 4-bed cabin. When he left at 5am he felt the need to turn on the main light and fan to wake us up to the sound of all the above!
Our first impressions of Varanasi were great: a quaint little city with many rooftop restaurants with an extremely spiritual feeling to the whole place. Tom was delighted to discover that wild monkeys
We learnt through Sanju, a local man, more about the ceremonial ritual: the bodies are taken for cremation immediately (within 3 hours of death) to the Burning Ghat where a pile of wood is built by the male friends/family (no women are allowed). A torch is then lit from a flame in the temple behind the ghat, which has been burning continuously for 45 centuries. The head male is then shaved of his bodily hair with the exception of a small tuft on the back of his head, and is dressed in a white robe which he keeps on for the 13-day mourning period. He then takes the torch and lights the pile of wood containing the body.
Belive it or not yesterday we got up, by choice, at 4.30 (yes AM!) to watch the sun rise over the Ganges.
Back on the banks we took part in a Ganga Puja in which both of our families were blessed with good fortune and long life. I was also blessed with many children, which I asked for him to delay a little while!! We held offerings as the guru placed Tilaks onto our foreheads and poured holy water from the river over our hands.
We met a young lad called Pappu who taught us some useful Hindi phrases over breakfast. Tom now has a new favourite saying: whenever we are being bothered by people trying to sell us cack he says to them "Jao Bunda Kasat Kaylo" (Go away and play with monkeys)!! Some people have found this hilarious, others weren't so pleased...
We also saw the biggest chicken we've ever seen - unfortunately she was sitting by a cremation and so we couldn't take a picture but we're going on a hunt for her today!
Also last night Tom was run over by a cycle-rickshaw!
VARANASI TOP 5 PLAYLIST:
1). Take me to the river - Al Green.
2). Dead in the Water - David Gray
3). Fire - Crazy World of Arthur Brown.
4). Smoke on the water - Deep Purple.
5). Anything by Ash!