|Sunrise on the Ganges River. According to Hindu
tradition, Varanasi is the oldest city in the world.
|She is selling neem sticks, which are used as
toothbrushes. The method is to nibble off the
bark, then chew on the fibers until they separate
and become something like a brush. Neem has
a natural antimicrobial property.
|Pilgrims who comes to bathe and pray at sunrise enter
from the west side of the river, so they can face
the sun, which they revere as a source of light
|The local barber sits on the bank of the river,
shaving his customer, who is calmly watching
the sunrise amidst the chaos.
|This is a few miles upstream from the cremations,
but the water is still very polluted. Hindus believe
that the River Ganges will cleanse sins,
and make the pure even more pure.
|Grooming and praying by the river’s edge.|
|Future yoga teachers in training.|
|Mike is walking tall.|
|The “dohbi wallah” washes clothes in the river.
A rinse, a few pounds on the rock, and a twist.
Incredibly fast! I don’t think he has a delicate cycle.
|Men wear a “upanayana” or sacred Hindu
threads twisted over their shoulder. One
thread is for reincarnation, one for marriage
and one if the man has become a father.
This man has three twisted together in a
thick rope of religion and family.
|Rolling down the river…|
|The Ganges river starts as pure glacier runoff from
the Himalayas. All Hindus have a small bottle of
sacred Ganges river water in their home. If possible,
a sip is given to the dying to cure ills and to cleanse sins.