Varanasi the city of the Ganges, where the prayers, the offerings, the dead seem to be the daily bread. Where life and death go hand in hand, where the sounds of bells and mantras are confused with the smoke of the cremations, where the sadhus sit to contemplate the river on the stairs of the ghats adorned by the freshly washed colors of the Saris , where the laughter of the children mix with the cries of the mourners who accompany their dead.
On the banks of the Ganges, women with shaved heads can be seen smiling at me amicably and I smile back knowingly and take the opportunity to ask permission to take a photo. Passing near a ghat where the Brahmins go with the Muslims who use it to bathe as fun because for them the River Ganges is not sacred. A little further I discover that they are washing clothes, while in the next ghats are the oxen who enjoy the water of the most sacred river in India.
Varanasi, a perfect city to die in peace as the Hindus expire in this city is the liberation of the cycle of reincarnation. And while that moment arrives they divine into the River Ganges, pray to the goddess Ganga, drink their water to wash away their sins and return to their houses purified and free from guilt. Being here is like being in the center of the Hindu world, in your city Most sacred where they do not hesitate to show their body and soul.
Thus begins one morning in Varanasi, the sun begins to show on the horizon and the city begins to become more colorful under its insistent rays. It seems to be the busiest time of the day and I, like so many other travelers, was surprised by everything that the dawn reveals little by little while we walk up and down the river. The parishioners indifferent to our presence offer the river flowers and candles, the boats pass silently next to them. It is the moment of the offerings, it is the moment of the photos. The buildings are dyed golden, bells ring. Everything seems magical, different, curious, incredible, fascinating.
I feel so lucky to be living this moment. I have read a lot about this city and now I was living it. Varanasi is a magical place as if it had a life of its own that changes at times, I have the feeling that everyone has a place here, the scenario remains, but the protagonists come and go. Children, the elderly, women. Without shame or taboos, participate in their rituals; they get naked, they submerge, they drink the waters of a river so polluted without understanding the danger. But because they should worry if, after all, it is their sacred river that must purify them.
I have risen and dawned with this beautiful city of Varanasi, I did not want to miss anything, I see many tourists and visitors with a dream face but covered by a veil of wonder and curiosity. I think they ask the same question that I have asked many times since I came to this place, why do they drink in that dirty and contaminated water in which we are not even able to reach?
The sky changes from black to golden and later to blue and the sun rises more intense. You can hear the birds singing over the city and the river. The walk is coming to an end. I have been here but I hardly realize that I will never be part of it and I only have the feeling of having seen a movie. And it is now when I understand that Varanasi is a city that you can visit it, but hardly understand it.
A few meters I can see something creepy in an area where the dead are thrown into the water tied to a stone, and I hardly try to understand from the mouth of a villager "they are the lepers" they have already suffered in life and do not need the purifying fire. But in the distance you can see the dead float and even reach the shore, apparently the ropes do not recite and break, but no one seems to care, they are not surprised or contemptuous. The only ones interested are the dogs as it serves as food. Life and death seem the same all over the world .