“The Ganga to me is the symbol of India’s memorable past which has been flowing into the present and continues to flow towards the ocean of the future.” – Jawaharlal Nehru, First Prime Minister of India
“Mama Ganga!” almost all Indians call the River Ganges this. Mama Ganga is like a mother to each Indian- they come to the riverbanks with cupped hands pouring the water over their heads before finally going all the way to bathe this holy river in hopes of cleansing their sin.
Varanasi or Benares is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The oldest city and the most religious in India. Visiting this city is putting yourself in the 1950’s movies- especially when you walk in the market.
“Boats! Boats!” shouted the tout to the tourist walking along the main ghat a (a series of steps leading down to a body of water, particularly a holy river). Varanasi has almost 100 ghats and along them sat sadhus in orange clothes, kids flying kites, dogs, cows, water buffalos, chai vendors and many more.
A boat ride is a must when you visit this city. It offers you a unique view of the temples and high-rise houses colourfully-painted to satisfy your eyesight. Be prepared when you pass by the burning ghat where Hindus cremate their death in hopes that their love ones would escape the cycle of life and death. India is a best place to ask the question, “What is life?” “What’s the purpose of life?“
I and my girlfriend Callie did the boat tour to satisfy the senses, cuddle, hug, hold hands and enjoy each other’s presence. An hour of being silent as we people watch from the boat about 200 meters away from where riverbank where locals do their own thing- drinking chai or doing a religious rite.
Birds flew as our boat docked to the ghat, Mama Ganga continued to flow freely down the stream. River and nature reminded us to be free and alive.
“I am convinced that everything has come down to us from the banks of the Ganga – astronomy, astrology, spiritualism, etc. It is very important to note that some 2500 years ago at the least Pythagoras went from Samos to the Ganga to learn geometry.” – Francis M. Voltaire