The narrow streets of Varinasi are crammed full of people, cows, dogs, motor vehicles, bicycle rickshaws, poop from a variety of living creatures and piles of trash and yet the city glows with wonder and magic.
It is filled with temples, altars and a populas of worshipers who adorn the streets with litter as they adorn the statues of the gods with flower petals. It may seem confusing or even disrespectful, but the real spirit is found in this cities ability to worship everything.
If you choose to only see the chaos, then that is what you see. But if you can stop for a moment and blur your lines, that is, see all things as matter waiting to decay. Then the beauty rises like a phenoix from the ashes of burning trash piles and funeral pyres.
Varinasi is like no place else. It exist in a different dimension.
For the past week we have been waking up at 5am to the sounds of our Varinasi alarm clock, holy men blowing their conk shells by the Ganga river and the monkeys fighting on our balcony.
Once awake we wait for sunrise and then walk along the ghats of the forever holy Ganges river. The Ganges, or Ganga, is used for everything: bathing, washing, drinking, collecting trash and sewage. The cement steps of its urban shore are used for ceremony, from pujas (prayer and ceremony) to the burning, washing and sinking of the dead. It is said that to die in Varinasi ends ones cycle of rebirth. You may transcend to Nirvana. So many people come here to die. When they do they are buried by the river waters or burned by the shore.
These waters are truly holy and keep those who use it healthy. They do not become sick from bathing or drinking it. All in one, and all together. Bring your sin, your filth and toothbrush to the rivers edge.