Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Bathing in the Ganges

In the morning, we came to the ghats in Varanasi again before sunrise.  We wanted to see the sunrise.  But more importantly, we want to see people perform their rituals.  This is something that I most wanted to see and understand in India. I understand people have been bathing, washing clothes, burning dead bodies and dumping the ash in the river, and much more.

A huge amount of wood were carried to the ghats by boat.

They were then piled high ahead of the burning.

With so much human activity in and around the Ganges, the river cannot be very clean.  But to the Hindus, the river is sacred and therefore clean.

10 of us got into a boat near the ghat where we watched the fire ceremony last evening.  A young man rowed us up and down the Ganges.  He did not look exceptionally big.  But it must have been hard work rowing the 10 of us up and down the slowing river for most of an hour.  

Surely, many people bathed themselves in the river, at the ghats.  All those who immersed themselves in the river are men, although there were some women who dipped their hands in the water.  Many stayed in the water for quite some time, really trying to clean themselves.  The number of people in the water were fewer than I expected.  I was told this was not the high season. 

The river did not smell too badly.  Perhaps because it is a big, flowing river.  But I shuddered to think what must be in the river.   For some people, physical cleanliness and spiritual cleanliness appeared to be different things. 


Anonymous said...

We saw women washing clothes by beating them against stone slabs by the ghats. They were working for a "laundry business" washing jeans and colorful bed linens(?) using the water there, and then hanging the garments etc out to dry. I counted more than 20 jeans and maybe 10 bed sheets.

YTSL said...

I'd never bathe in the Ganges. But, then, I'm not Hindu and also already don't dare to go into the water off Hong Kong!

StephenC said...

I added a photo of people washing clothes in the Ganges. And I wouldn't bath there either.