Taj Mahal

bathing in the Ganges River

traditional dress


On the women, the hip bone remains, on men, the sternum.  Eldest son picks up the bone with two sticks and tosses the bone into the Ganges, takes a clay pot of water from the Ganges and tosses it over his shoulder to break near the fire, he walks away without looking back or the spirit is caught and he becomes ill. 

When I heard about the burnings, I didn't think I would be able to watch them and feared I would throw up.  In the learning and burning process I was able to relate to these people.  It was fascinating.  The burnings take place 24-hours a day.

The people also swim right next to the bodies in the Ganges River.  With the rising sun, people do puja "prayer" in the ghats "steps to river" and bathe, swim, brush their teeth and drink this holy water.  The faecal coliform count is 250,000 times the World Health Organization maximum limit.  All I can think is it must be their strong faith that keeps the people from becoming ill from the water.

I love the food and the beautiful bright colored dresses (sari or salwar kameez) the women all wear.  I feel underdressed in my safari type outfit.  In respecting the culture, I'm sweating in long pants and a blouse with sleeves.  The temperature is around 100, with no rain. 

I like the way the men bob their head from side-to-side when they answer a question. 

The older people appear to be really fit.  I watched a woman my grandmotherís age climb to the top bunk on a train without any trouble.

My stomach is still good.  Knock on wood.  I do have a head cold.  I think it's from the hot weather, sleeping under a ceiling fan and the pollution.

Strangely enough, I think I will miss India.  I'm intrigued by their culture and religious beliefs.  I would say India is more of an experience than a vacation.  It has a unique charm.

I'm looking forward to the peace I imagine in Nepal trekking through the  Himalaya.  My flight leaves at 10:00 p.m. this evening.

Until next time...