The bus ride to Varanasi turned again as little adventure is. Just before the one-hour delay in departure in Katmandu, I experienced my first small earthquake. A short vertical tremor, which meant that all the locals screaming out of their houses near the bus station and were all cars and motorcycles which were parked on the street, driven and parking directly centrally street. Thus I was somewhat glad to leave Nepal now.
The bus, a large Volvo coach without toilet but with Air-condition then took us over bumpy tracks to the border. Middle of the night about two o'clock we had there to wait four hours until the ind./nepal. Border opened. Then i went together with other travelers on foot only to Nepalese border officials to confirm the departure in the passport, then about 200meter further to Indian officials, who in turn abstempelten future entry by visa control. Here the Indians were harsh to some and I had to completely unpack first time my full backpack to control.
Now back in India also changed immediately, the views from the dirty windows of the bus. More visible poverty on the roadsides, more garbage and dirt than before in Nepal. After about 7 h, additional drive and a total 15h trip I arrived in the morning to the bus station in hot Varanasi. Instant rickshaw driver began to argue about the new guest. I picked me out a relatively young driver and let me drive towards Marnikanika Ghat, since I had a Guest House booked 50 crow thereof. Eventually, it was due to the narrowness of the streets then unable to continue and I beat myself walking through a maze of alleys, where cows, dogs, motorcycles and people made themselves the place in dispute. Initially traders it would all eventually empty and dirty and I doubt whether this is the right way. Google Maps, however, said YES. Eventually I came in. Sankharta at Guest House. Nice staff received me, was a little irritated because I had only hours earlier the accommodation booked via app on the bus and they apparently knew nothing about it, but could offer me two rooms to choice. After I filed and showered me the travel grime, I enjoyed the view from the rooftop on the roofs Varanasi. At two corners I already could see the waters of the Ganges.
Really to live a stone's throw away from the holy Ganges .. A great privilege.
The Marnikanika Ghat is one of the famous Ghats (stairs down to the Ganges), where every day up to 250 deceased are burned. The processions with the wrapped in golden glitter corpses passed before my hotel in 10minutes clock. The members (the way only men, because the women would cry too much) bring the dead only as water and dip it once completely under, then ranks them in a queue to perform the combustion process to be able to. During the waiting period is the sons, initiate combustion, shaved all the hair on the head, they should wash in the Ganges and then wrapped in white Saaries. Slightly above the Ghats burns on a pedestal the sacred fire of Shiva. From there, the children receive a little later embers to light the fire can. Around the Ghat store vast amounts of wood in different quality categories. The better-heeled Indians can use the upper pyres the stairs afford and there is usually cedar, that smells good, used. The poorer families get the cheap wood and use the lower courts on the waterfront. It takes about 70kg of wood and 3h to burn a corpse can. Once the members have pushed the process take active there workers from the lowest castes the rest of the process. The members go to the nearest Ghat and are supplied with food and water there.
It is difficult to describe the atmosphere that surrounds a there. A permanent "Barbecue" smell in the air, mixed with incense and other offerings, the smell of the cows that live there between the fireplaces along with dozens of dogs. Children ply in the dirt and the ashes of the dead, next door kiosk owner, the food and drinks for sale, Babas and Sadus, so-called holy men, who spend their lives at this place praying, this gaiety amidst actually grieving people ..
Never in my life have I experienced this juxtaposition of life and death as intense. And yet I have to say that after an initial dismay, but then uncollected me the ease of handling of the Indians with this pervasive issue. The naturalness of death and low fear of that different Asian culture but then much of our Christian influenced occidental. The own mortality constantly in mind leads to the time that remains to use one as intense as possible. While we are increasingly replacing this in our westernized culture, try before us to push as if there is no end. And forget through work and constant stress of living. One need not be a believer, worship any gods, worship or anything else to get held in this city in mind that only the death on our site allows us to wrest only the good side of life and to wave all evil laugh. I visited in the last few weeks many temples and holy places, but the real "knowledge" I came only after hours of observation this ceremonies in Varanasi. Whether I cleansed come back and I can escape all the stress in Berlin permanently, I doubt it, but for now it feels good and right.
Out of respect for the family and the deceased are few pictures from Ghat and burns. I learned at the hotel two Englishmen acquainted with panjabischen roots, with whom I shared a morning boat and we enjoyed the incredible sunrise over the Ganges, while the locals and many devout pilgrims washed on shore in brackish water of the Ganges. In the three days I experienced festivals with colorful processions, dancing and singing at the ghats. When hundreds of people pray and sing at the same time .. Without words. Where the Indian folk music, especially singing, but then eventually caused me "bleeding ears".
Three to four days enough actually to absorb the strangeness of the place in itself. If you hold, is a sometime aware of the business model, which is also operated in this holy place by the Indians to exploit the tourist attraction as well as possible. As Europeans you are now times the rich man, the money is loose. Whether it's the masseur who unasked in the scrum takes your hand, gives you a 5 minute arm and neck massage, which you can not escape and that demands 200 rupees, or the "Young Guide", who tells you that the required respect can then be bypassed but at photos on Ghat with a payment of 50 € ..
Therefore, I recommend once doubts about this sacred place to pay to leave him immediately, so as not to destroy the memory of what I then did after three days and in the next Sleepertrain lay down the northeast. Next destination Rishikesh.
More then soon.