as a gift to myself, i’ve decided to spend some extra time in varanasi and take a five-day yoga course.  this city is rich with tradition – the spiritual heart of the hindu religion.  the sacred river ganga runs along its eastern flank and pilgrims come from across the country to cleanse themselves in its holy water.  yesterday morning i went on a boat ride at sunrise to witness the washing ceremonies.  this evening i’ll go again at sunset to watch the puja offerings.

the days are so hot that i haven’t been doing much, but i’ve taken some sweaty strolls along the ghats (steps leading into the river).  in addition to the ceremonial cleansing in the river, folks have a bath (with soap), have their morning shave, do laundry, meditate, go swimming, and collect some of the holy water for pilgrimages home.  the dead are also burned here, their ashes scattered in the river.


~ by aliciawolcott on August 9, 2010.

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