Welcome to the Ganges! The holy river of Northern India where one trip thru the city of Varanasi on a boat will reveal a whole spectrum of human realities and ritual both religious and benign…
The holy city of Varanasi is all at once picturesque and haunting, powerful and intimate… All the sights, sounds and smells to someone like me create a real clash or dare I say, cacophony, but to the faithful believer the rhythmic harmony of life is played out at the Ghats of the Ganges. There is a never ending stream of bather’s lathering up, what seems like the entire cities laundry being washed, cows coming to cool themselves, bodies being burned for Hindu cremation, garlands of flowers placed in the river for hopes and dreams, children playing, people working, and a ton of wide-eyed tourists not sure of what to make of it all.
It’s a microcosm of the India I am learning to love, where everything that we neatly characterize and separate in the west collides expectantly as a natural rhythm of life here. Now I don’t want to sound overly romantic, because believe me some of the aromatic qualities of this rhythm are definitely not romantic, in fact they can be just plane foul. But there is something real and raw about life here; in so many ways it’s right in front of you. And you get to decide what you’ll do with it…
Will you concentrate on the stacks of timber used at funerals?
Will you get caught up in the architecture or the landscape?
Will you notice the religious bathers and the women who want their photo taken?
Will you see the faces of these happy kids who found some things that most of us would throw away and made it into the best toy a young boy could hope for?
What will you see?