From Dawn till Dusk
This morning I woke up at to Hindu prayers broadcast over loudspeakers from down by Pandhey Ghat. Dhobis (clothes washers) were flubbing garments against the rocks in the
Right, the bodies.
But I didn't head to the ghats right away. Upon arrival in
Actually, though, for a 23 hour and 30 minute train ride, it was downright relaxing. I napped on my top bunk (of three), under three whirling fans, and later sat on the steps leaning outside to watch the sunset over the desert--for the last time, dammit!--chatting with some Israeli hippies from the next car over. All six of them, like many of their fellow dreadlocked, drum-toting countrymen have been shanti-shantiying abroad for over a year.
I waved goodbye to them at the train station, expecting to run into them on the ghats in town. But as always I met others a few minutes later. It's funny how the backpacker scene works like this. It's like hey, where're you from, wanna come with us to the market? How about dinner?
Actually, the market was too much, much too much. So I broke away with one Israeli guy, a laid back but tragically dust-allergic teacher, to explore the ghats. Sadhus give neck rubs at the nearby Dasawamedh Ghat (named for the 10 horse sacrifice done by Brahma, the creator), wiley children hawk postcards, boat men vie for business, offering us rides first for Rs 200 then going down to Rs 25 per person. But it was too hot.
It wasn't until late evening that we passed by Harishchandra, one of two ghats where bodies are cremated after an elaborate, if rapidly carried-out (there're always more bodies in the queue) ceremony, their ashes then scattered in the
Later, at night, we walked by the ghat again. The drumming hadn't ceased, the bells still rang out, the fires still burned. Death stops for no man.