Well I am back in India and the intensity of the country is prevalent again. As usual Fred and I seem to gather a crowd no matter where we stop. Point in case is the crowd in these pictures which formed while I was waiting at a train crossing.
Any stop longer than a minute will gather a crowd. But as usual everyone is very friendly and just curious about who Fred and I are (Fred more so than me) damn attention hog.
Driving through the country side I noticed that there are no longer a lot of trees left around the agricultural belt. Wood in the past was there main cooking fuel but they are now using cow dung as a fuel source. All along the road you can see neatly stacked and moulded piles of manure.
For some reason it decided to rain for two days and the very poor roads turned into mud. Basically you have two choices when driving in India. You can drive through constant dust or mud if it rains.
I would not want to see the driving conditions during the moonson season!
Welcome to the holiest city in India....... Varanasi.
The city runs along the river they call the Mother Ganges.
Tourist loading up for a riverboat tour.
All along the river you will find Ghats (steps leading down to the river). There are over a hundred different Ghats and many are used for daily life like bathing and washing clothes.
A few of the Ghats are used exclusively for cremation. You are not allowed to take photographs of these sites. But you can walk along these Ghats and watch a cremation take place. And fear not as there are cremations going on continuously, so if you are so inclined you will not have an issue viewing one.
The Manikarnika and Harishchandra Ghats are dedicated to the cremation ritual and handle about 80 cremations per day.
Daily life along the river.
The old school way of washing clothes
Now time for the dry cycle.
A family of street pups enjoying an afternoon nap along the river.
The streets of the old city are a hive of activity.
March 6th is the start of Holi festival. It celebrates the coming of spring and is also called the festival of colours. If you are out on the streets in the morning of March 6th make sure you are wearing old clothes. They celebrate by throwing paint at each other in bags mixed with water or water guns. Or just taking the dry powder and throwing it at each other.
Powdered paint ready for sale for Holi.