India started with a 10 hour bus drive from the border. The way was interesting as the fest;val was still going on. Everywhere they were carrying images of Hindi gods in tractors and behind them jeeps or trucks with huge speakers playing the Indian dance greatest hits and people dancing as crazy. It looked like a rave but without booze or drugs.
Finally we arrived to the sacred city of Varanasi, full power India and touts world capital. Travellers love or hate it in equal proportion. I liked it a lot but wouldn’t stay there for a long time.
Our guest house there was overlooking the main burning ghat, where lots of corpses are cremated day and night. Yeah, I like the smell of burning flesh in the morning.
They bring the corpses there corpses there in kind of processions through the narrow streets and they burn them with wood throwing the ashes into the Ganges. Pics not allowed.
Cremation is the usual thing in Hinduism but why so much fuzz with doing it in Varanasi? Well, they believe in reincarnation and a lot of people go to die to Varanasi because if you do so apparently you get to be a porn actor in your next life.
The ghats of Varanasi are full of people, lots of shadus and touts among them. As well plenty of cows, dogs, goats… Ashes from corpses cremated in other locations are brought to the Varanasi as well. The corpses of shadus, babies and people killed by holly animals such as cobras or cows are thrown straight to the holly river without being cremated.
Rubbish, mud, flowers, lighted candles, animal depositions and anything else you can imagine go straight to the quiet river waters. And then you see the lots of people (and some cows) swimming there WTF???
The views, smells, people and performances happening in Varanasi made for an experience my senses will never forget.
Fact: the concentration of fecal bacteria in the Ganges along Varanasi is 3000 times over the safety limit. Only?