Saturday, November 12, 2005

A Question for you

Here's a question:

Q: What do you get if you cross 3 open sewers, 100 human bodies, a few thousand cows and half a million dogs with a billion tonnes of carbon monoxide, a trillion tonnes of SHIT and the habit of throwing dead babies into a river?

A: One of India's most popular tourist destinations.

No, really.

Welcome to Varanasi/Benares, home to all the above and much more. One of the world's oldest living cities, on the banks of the river Ganga/Ganges, India's dirtiest river. Did I say dirtiest? I meant holiest. Holiest.Where the faithful bathe to cleanse themselves of sin and achieve enlightenment, but where in actual fact they are exchanging sin for 10 tonnes of raw sewage and human body parts.

Furthermore, up river there are many chemical plants who dump toxic waste directly in the river, ignoring government directives to clean up; so further down the river malaria and dysentery and a whole host of other diseases are rampant. With this information in hand, it is almost impossible to convey the idea that this is something worth seeing, let alone liking, and indeed many tourists hate it and leave as soon as possible. But it has a pulse, a vibrancy and a feeling unlike anything I have ever felt before and I was captivated enough to stay on further.

Sitting in the internet cafe, I am watching a body go past every 5 minutes. Delightful, no? Regarding bodies, only adult men and women are buried. Babies, pregnant women and wandering sadhus (pilgrims) are just thrown in with weights to sink them. Even more lovely, I thought.

Actually I found Varanasi amazing, and too profound to make snide comments about. Except to say that watching two pregnant cows trying to pass in the street is a spectacle to rival any in India.

Till next time...


Blogger indiadventure said...

Ohhh My God...such a "hOLy" experience...

take care Nick

2:17 AM  

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