We reunite with the mother Ganga once again in Veranasi, but it seems a little different from where we left it on rishikesh. The river was no longer the beautiful crystal blue river we onced rafters down and drank in an religious ceremony.
The mother Ganga in Veranasi was quite the opposite: brown, dirty river where there were a constant number of people washing themselves, their clothes and anything else in it. Hundreds of hand made boats running up and down, along side the ghats enforcing their gassy fumes into the river, peoples urine running down the ghats into the river and last but not least the thousands of burning corps getting thrown into the holy mother Ganga.
This was a completely different view of the mother Ganga compared to peaceful Rishikesh.
Veranasi was a different experience to the rest if India. This was the holy capital of India where people would home from miles to ensure their past loved ones get the best send off by being burnt and put in the mother Ganga river. They believed that the mother Ganga was the gateway to heaven, a ceremony to ensure their souls go to heaven.
The first time we saw a burning body we were walking along the ghats, there are 80 ghats in Veranasi. When we saw the body being burnt we went to have a look at what was going on when we began to get bombarded by and Indian who owned the land who was feeding us information (expecting a tip at the end )
So we briskly walked away and carried on walking down the river. Then we came across the main ghat!!! And there, there were many bodies being burnt!
At this moment we were looking for our Chinese friend Lilly. So we left the bodies and carries on walking to find her. We knew the name of the hotel and searched through the little ally's of Veranasi. The streets of Veranasi were tiny! Full of small back gully's.
While we were lost in Veranasi land we saw so many family's carrying body's down to the river. The dead body was wranped in silk and had scattered flowers all over. There would be a few men varying the body in a stretcher over their shoulder through the ally's, while one man chanted in front. All of the family singing in Hindi, celebrating the death. Something very different to the grieving we're familiar with back home.
After being lost in Varanasi land we finally found Lilly's guest house. We walked up the stairs and spoke to the owner to find the had already left to find a new guest house, luckily he rang her and we arranged to meet her for dinner tonight :-)
I was starving at this point so we went to a rooftop bar to get some grub! Rich was fascinated by the monkeys on the top of the building who would occasionally start "making love" From time to time, he would start laughing ridiculously while shouting "look Han, look at the monkeys doing doggy" what a weird child hahhaha!
After lunch we made our way through the little streets to find the famous 'blue lassi shop' which sell the best lassi in India. Incase your wondering what a lassi is, it's a yoghurt style drink which you can have in all flavours!
We made it after getting lost once again. Rich ordered a coffee flavoured lassi and I ordered the pomegranate, coconut and chocolate lassi. To say the least it was delicious and full of flavour! They were served in little clay pot and were delicious.
After enjoying our lassi, we headed to the burning ghats, this is where we witnessed it! The burning bodies! We saw 8 being burnt at the same time down by the river! Some had just began to burn and some has been burning for three hours.. You could identify certain bones that hadn't been burnt yet, like the skull and the hip joints. Amongst the burning bodies there were people just watching! There were also people haggling for 'donations' off us!
Behind the bodies there was an old shabby building. The building was built under the mother teresa foundation and was inside the building you could see a load of people sitting. This was where Indians went to if u had no family to burn them. This is the building where they went to wait to die!!