Sunrise on the Ganges

Morning baths on the Ganges.

In India I was lucky enough to get a chance to take a boat tour of the Ganges during sunrise. It was breathtakingly beautiful. The river wasn’t clean or pristine but I was surprised at the fact that that it didn’t seem as bad as I had assumed with all the talk of pollution.

The tour went past a few of the major bath areas as well as one of the cremation sites.  For the Hindu religion the Ganges is the very holy river.  Some believe bathing in the water will clear your karma, allowing you start anew.  Others believe that if you are cremated and put into the water you will have a direct path to Moksha, a stage where they become one with the creator Brahma allowing them to be released from the rebirth cycle.  I had never seen a dead body before so going past the boats of bodies waiting for cremation was very chilling for me.  The bodies were covered with cloth, but the outline of a human was clear.  It was a very sharp contrast to the young children playing as they bathe a mere 100 yards away.  The power of the Ganges in the Hindu culture became clear to me in that moment.

Buildings along the Ganges river.

And yes that is a monkey sitting on the ledge.