Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Portrait of India- The Ganges River

here are the girls selling flowers for the river rituals

we took an evening boat ride along the ganges

these fires are the cremation of bodies along the river.  they carrry the bodies down on stretchers wrapped in fabric and the "untouchables"  who have been born into the caste of cremating for a living, burn bodies 24/7 averaging 6 per hour.
there were 4 bodies being burned here and this was as close as i was allowed to photograph.

lighting the 5 candles for the girls who touched my spirit

and releasing them into the Ganges with wishes for goodness for all us girls

nightly ritual of putting the river to sleep

the whole village celebrates every night while the bhramin priests (upper caste) lead the rituals

these were some of the children who waited for me to return from the boat in hopes of more money and hounded me to the bus

and the community elder shooing them away

 we came back the next day and made our way to the main yoga ghat

we wanted to see how people start their day at sunrise along the Ganges river

the bathing ghat for men

they seem to have a large area for their bathing

the laundry area

this is the bathing ghat for women- much smaller and they keep their clothes on because of modesty.  notice that some husbands are joining them but a wife would never go to the men's ghat

the women have no place to go to the bathroom either while the men go anywhere openly.  one of the women guides told me they get up at 2:30 a.m. to go in privacy but who knows where?

boat selling souveniers

the water is filthy and they are laundering, bathing, swimming, drinking, praying and releasing cremated bodies into the  same body of water.  it is sacred and pure to them

morning bathing, prayer ritual puts them in the right head space to face the day

young monks- soon to be brahmin priests.

i've never seen such a collection of colorful buildings, and so ancient

this is their god Shiva, the destroyer in the trinity of gods.  the bump in the middle is his lingam penetrating the yoni of the goddess.  this act of intercourse represents the union of male/female and is the root of yoga and their who;e belief system and way of life.  it's no wonder they have such a population problem.  to them sex is religion.

coconuts symbolize the ego- a hard nut to crack but if you can do so there is sweet meat to be savored on the inside. they often gift these to lord shiva

here are the girls i bought the flowers from

of course i got caught up in any chance to pray with the people

monkeys on the houses

 this was our baptism into thr real India.  join me next time for a visit to my very favorite place- khajuraho,  the elaborate erotic temples of the original tantric yogis and yoginis built 1300 years ago when women were still honored and revered in India

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