Lewis the Lion was up before the sunrise the next day. In his sleepy state, he was up at 5:30 am and ready to take a tuk-tuk into town for 6 o’clock. Again, he headed down to the River Ganga to the same spot, only this time he was here to see the sunrise. Once again, he got into the same rowing boat as he had done the night previously and once again, he took part in a candle flower ceremony. This time however, he had a little more luck as the candles were released into the water without a problem. Let’s hope Lewis the Lion’s secret wish comes true!
To his shock, he saw a dead body floating past him. Apparently the bodies of holy men don’t get burned in Varanasi but return naturally to nature. Nobody seemed to bat an eyelid here: this is just common practice. As the boat, travelled along, he saw more funeral pyres along the way. The thing that struck Lewis the Lion more than anything was the calmness of the river, in contrast from the hustle and bustle and noise of the city just hidden behind the steep steps.
Lewis the Lion was awestruck as he saw the red sun rise, casting a beautiful light across the scene as people took their sacred dip in the Ganga. Many Hindus had now started to gather and were taking their holy dips in the waters of the Ganga. They often entered the river fully clothed, women in particular who wore their saris. Lewis saw a husband and wife taking the dip together. Dushyant explained that if Hindu couples do the dip in the Ganga together, it is thought that they will be together in the next life.
Gradually as the dawn broke, more and more people gathered on the ghats and the city once again seemed to be a hive of activity. Disembarking from the rowing boat and climbing the steep stone staircases, Lewis the Lion was surprised to see that locals had gathered in a square overlooking the river and were rollerblading! Who would have thought that in such a spiritual city?
Needless to say, the pilgrims were well catered for as they were filling huge plastic containers with water from the river as souvenirs for them to take with them. Many flower sellers also gathered by the river banks so people could make their offerings to the river.
Lewis gratefully received a traditional cup of chai masala (a spicy tea) served by the roadside in a ceramic cup. What a wonderful way to end a wonderful morning! However, the day had only just begun as Lewis will tell you about in his next blog…
If there is such a thing as reincarnation, who or what would you like to become in the next life and why?