Cows, murals, prayers

Even if I stay in India a million years, I don’t think I will ever understand much, and sometimes, honestly, my brain doesn’t even want to understand. But I will see how that progresses. There is always something small, something fascinating, to read up on, like certain stories involving the intricate love life of the gods and goddesses, or the meaning of symbols. It’s an amazing, exciting surface to scratch. And it is possible to meaningfully interact with that surface as well. I will not try to pretend I understand what’s going on here. I can just say how some little things affect me.

I have to admit that the relentless heat meant that I don’t have any photos of all those crazy markets, shops, busy streets where I saw thousands of photos that should have been taken – had I not been in a tuktuk or rickshaw. There is a limit to how far I can walk in this heat.

Cows, murals, prayers, I said, as it is a holy city, and these are three colourful aspects. First I was really scared of these huge animals so up close sometimes, like sneaking up on me from behind, or coming straight at me, I never had such close contact with such enormous beasts roaming freely. But now I’m used to their pace and determined gaze, poor things, trying to survive as best as they can. They don’t particularly enjoy the heat, but I don’t remember seeing them in the river.

Some of the murals are really pretty, or just thought-provoking.
And prayers are everywhere, all the time.

I’m glad I’m out. And I’m glad I went there. Several people told me I’m  crazy. And I know. But now I really hope everything else will appear calm(er), clean(er), just slightly less overwhelming. My tactics might have worked.

First, these are some photos from the steps by the river, called ghats.

IMG_0777

IMG_0781

IMG_0792

IMG_0793

IMG_0794

IMG_0799

IMG_0804

IMG_0833

IMG_0840

IMG_0843

IMG_0864

IMG_0889

IMG_0919

IMG_0941

IMG_0961

IMG_0989

IMG_0994

IMG_1009

IMG_1016

IMG_1019

IMG_1020

Old city, early morning, before cleanup….

IMG_0892

IMG_0898

Temple view from my guesthouse.

IMG_0899

That intense jasmine scent reminded me so much of Yangon. The marigolds are used for ceremonies, just like in Bali.

IMG_0894

This mural went up overnight for the “Bollywood” movie I mentioned before. Unfortunately, I didn’t see them shoot, just a few dozen people trying to set up equipment.

IMG_0920

As the wind caught the man’s robe, I caught my breath – somehow the scene reminded me of Jesus and his disciples in a boat.  – They are pilgrims taking a ride to the other side, where it is cleaner to take a holy bath. They were more than 200 metres away when I took this photo and this is the best zoom I can do with my camera.

IMG_0935

IMG_0944

A priest showed me these statues – he stays all day at the riverbank to give blessings to people.

IMG_0960

I tried to “stare down” this animal to get a head-on picture. I was too slow and it got out of my way.

IMG_0963

Downtown “high street” fashion, food and temple. This is very busy in the evenings and closed for traffic.

IMG_0977

IMG_0978

IMG_0979

IMG_0984

I’m really struggling to understand what makes this game fun….

IMG_1001

Monkey sighting!

IMG_1007

Art students on the ghat

IMG_1012

This is as close as outsiders are allowed to the cremation ghats.

IMG_1015

And one more chance to see the evening prayers, at full moon, with thousands of Hindu pilgrims from other parts of India around. These rituals are performed every night by five or seven young priests at this location, and each move has a significance, to purify the surroundings with the power or air, fire and water. Small candle-boats are released by devotees. Like my beloved loy krathong at home, just every day.

IMG_1033

IMG_1067

IMG_1096

Youtube has some professionally made videos of this ceremony, just search for “Ganga aarti”. Really worth checking out for anyone interested in rituals.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s