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Mar 2017

Place: River Ganges

The Holy river running along Varanasi. You’ll see all sorts of things happening here. Ride along the river and one moment you’ll see a family taking a bath in the water, the next you’ll see someone peeing into it. And at the far end is where they do the burial rituals. Many people from around India bring their deceased loved ones here for the ceremony. The bodies get cremated at the Burning Ghat (it’s a pier, no relation to Burning Man), then the bones are removed and the ashes are floated down the river.

Cremations are happening 24/7, there’s too many to go through to stop. If someone provides you some information on the rituals then asks you for donations for the center that helps the poor afford cremations, it’s a scam. Tell them you already donated. Or do what we did and ask to see the actual center, in which case they’ll take you to some random old dude sitting on a bench.

Food: Jalebi

My favorite snack in all of India! Delicious deep fried dough covered in sugar syrup squeezed into this pretzel shape. Our boatsman pictured saw my enthusiasm when I spotted it at the market and bought it for me. Instead of a plate, they served it on a page torn out of a dictionary. Maybe it’s a scheme to get people to accidentally read and learn English. Sure worked for me.

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