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HILLMAN INDIA ADVENTURE
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North India: Gallery 30
VARANASI GANGES ADVENTURE III

1. Back to the Cremation Site at Sunrise
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CONTENTS
PHOTO GALLERIES and TRAVEL NOTES
01 | 02 | 03 | 04 | 05 | 06 | 07 | 08 | 09 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20
21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 |
    Three hours of sleep and we were off to the Ganges for the sunrise rituals. Tuk-tuks again dropped us off at the same entrance as last night. The city was awake although traffic was not full tilt as yet. There was a group of chanting devotees clapping hand cymbals and walking toward the river. They apparently do this every morning as part of a religious ritual. 

    We piled onto our row boat again and headed south downstream to the main cremation site we had visited last evening. The fires were nearly out and the workers from the lowest caste were dousing the sites with water from the river. Others were moving fuel from the wood piles to set up fresh pyres for the waiting bodies lined up along the steps. 



    In Hindu traditions, cremation is one of the rites of passage and the Ghats of Varanasi are considered one of the auspicious locations for this ritual. At the time of the cremation or "last rites", a "Puja" (prayer) is performed. Hymns and mantras are recited during cremation to mark the ritual. The Manikarnika and Harishchandra Ghats are dedicated to the cremation ritual. Annually, less than 2 in 1000 people who die in India, or 25,000 to 30,000 bodies are cremated on various Varanasi Ghats; about an average of 80 per day. This practice has become controversial for the pollution it causes to the river. In 1980s, the Government of India funded a Clean Ganges initiative, to address cremation and other sources of pollution such as raw sewage along the Ghats of Varanasi. In many cases, the cremation is done elsewhere and only the ashes are dispersed into the river near these Ghats. ~ Wikipedia
Click for larger images

Back to the Ganges Ghats Before Sunrise

GALLERY 30: VARANASI III
MORNING RITUALS ON GANGES GHATS

Photos 1 | Photos 2 | Photos 3 | Photos 4 | Photos 5
Outtakes 1 | Outtakes 2


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