Indian Travel – Day 17: The Day of the Cremations, a Friendly Bull and Monkeys
By the time the train arrived, we had less than a day to explore Varanasi. Straight away we went to the river Ganges. There was a market near the river and suddenly a bull appeared and galloped through it!
Then it carried on up the steps to the main road. I don’t think anything was damaged, but they are so sacred here, they can do what they want!
At lunchtime we decided to go into a grotty café and order a burger. The kitchen door was open behind us – there was no light in there and it was as dirty as hell. We were lucky not to get food poisoning!
Afterwards we went on a quick ride around. We saw an island with a barrier of rubbish around it. Then the driver took us to where cremations take place on the river. It’s like a 24 hour ongoing ceremony. It is one of the holiest Hindu events as it is believed that if your ashes are thrown into the Ganges then you will enter the afterlife. There were 3 levels next to the river: one for the low cast, one for the middle and the highest level was for the upper cast. You could see bodies carried out on a wooden stretcher covered by a rich-coloured, royal-looking sheets.
We had a bit more time to kill so we went to the monkey temple, which was a waste of time as it was basically a tiny field with a few monkeys and a small holy square where you had to take your shoes off. Mind you, it seemed there was a monkey who quite fancied me and kept climbing up my leg. But, she was so forward – she scared me!
We had to catch the train to Godhpur at 23.45. I sat opposite a guy working for the military. We talked and I turned into his new best friend! He uses an AK47 so he may be a good friend if I run into trouble.
Click here to read about our previous 2 days where we have a 30 hour train journey across India. Or read about our next and final day were we explore India.