River Ganga

The Kedareswar B&B is turning out to be a great find!  Right on the banks of the Ganges – we can even see the river from our room – with a rooftop terrace for breakfast and relaxing.  We headed out to see some unique temples, which I can’t show as they prohibited photography.  <need to insert names here>  All were very interesting, but then we once again made the fatal flaw of attempting to get a rickshaw driver to take us to a market.  To us, a market is a place where we can browse around unimpeded and where local residents shop for daily goods. For a guide, “market” or “bazaar” translates to “shop where the guide has some kickback arrangement for bringing in suckers for high pressured sales pitch”.  In Agra it was rugs and marble, this time it was silk.     Will we never learn??  We were polite and effusive with the compliments, but held firm, cut the visit as short as possible, and didn’t buy anything.  Much to our guide’s annoyance.   Nonetheless, even with the 150 extra rupees (@ $2) he tacked on to the agreed upon price for driving us to a place we didn’t want to go, it was a bargain next to being guilted into buying any of the silk items!!

Had a late lunch at our favorite – and so far only – Varanasi restaurant (Shiva Cafe and German Bakery), then rested until time for the sunset boat ride to see the ghats and ceremonies from the river.  Following the boat ride, we went back to the Shiva Cafe for dinner!   So far everything has been delicious.  🙂

Funeral pyres at dusk.  We’re told they cremate @ 200 bodies a day (not all by wood fire on the river bank), funeral pyres burn 24/7 to fulfill demand.   Curious thing to see.  In the picture below, we saw a pyre ready to be lit with the body wrapped in white inserted among the logs.  There was some sort of prayers or ritual and then the fire was lit.

After dark down river from the Kedar Ghat, a very large ceremony takes place.  Crowds on both land and water gather to observe and participate.

The river is not what we expected.  Maybe because it’s low during the winter and crowds of pilgrims are less?   There’s no offensive smell or waste visible in the water.  Whatever the reason, we’re grateful to be here when it’s a positive experience.

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