I arrived at the ghats at dawn when the sun was just beginning to climb. It first glowed a dark red before turning pink, then orange and then yellow. The sun bathes the ghats with these different colours as they all face the sun at sunrise. So don't forget to have one eye on the sun whilst taking pictures of all the goings-on on the ghats.
Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not being able to go to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom. Poverty has many faces, changing from place to place and across time, and has been described in many ways. Most often, poverty is a situation people want to escape.
Poverty is probably one of the most urgent problems facing our world today. 320 million people are living below the poverty line in India today. Most of the poverty in India is man-made because India procduces enough food. One third of world's poor children are in India. With a population of a Billion and growing, Indian children, especially those growing up on the streets of India encounter a bleak future.
Whenever you can give to some organisations, there are many that work to better the life of some of India's Children. The picture here is of a hospice in Varanasi, that houses many sick children in appauling conditions. A little bit of money can go a long way in place slike this.
If I take a tuk-tuk, the driver most probably will stop at this petrol station for few ruppees of refill. While waiting, I usually take photo, so here is a Varanasi refill picture. One noticeable thing in refill was the pump attendant would pour a small cup of additional 2T oil into the machine somewhere up front, probably some kind of services.
As Varanasi being a holy place,mostly it is visited and resident of people from eastern Uttar Pradesh(a northern-state in India),they are highly superstitious and religious people, these people are not very well versed even in Hindi so English is out of question, but being a tourist place they know few words in English. They will not like anyone who tries to disrespect the idols or the sacred river.
People are very warm and ready to help, I must say more than offering help, very kind. 1.)So try to respect their sentiments of worshipping River Ganga , do not take any non- vegetarian(e.g eggs, cakes,meat,chicken e.t.c) stuff near the river or any temple premises.
2.)No leather stuff are also allowed inside like leather belts and purses.
3.)Good idea to put an handkerchief on your head inside the temple, both men and women.
4.)When you will visit any temple, you will be offered some sweets or fruits(known as prasad) and little water with some green petals(tulsi leaves another highly sacred hindu herb) inside the main temple hall, you are suppose to drink the water and eat the ýPrasadý.
5.)The head priest inside the idol room may put some red or yellow color powdered thing(vermilion) on the forehead of the worshippers,as a mark of blessing from the God, so just donot say no, when they offer this.
6.)It is suggested that if you go inside the temples better buy some flowers to offer the GOD, so then you will enjoy the real power of Hindu Worship :).
Please follow these tips only inside the temple, because there maybe some fake priests outside the premises asking you to do so, in order to gain some monetary benefit from you.
The Birth of the River Ganges.
The Ganges River is Central to Indian Culture, and no cultural section of India can omit, its creation story, because its this story that tells us why so many people descend on the river too be purified.
There is creation story of the Ganges. -- Once upon a time, a demon named Bali acquired enough power to chase the gods from the heavens. So the Gods cosulted Vishnu (the Supreme) and he promised aid. Vishnu, incarnated as the dwarf Vamana tricked Bali in to granting him as much of his kingdom as he could measure in 3 steps. Bali liked this since Vishnu was a dwarf in his eyes.
With Vishnu's first step he covered all of Earth. With his second step he covered all the heavens and while doing that Brahma washed his feet in his kamandula or water pot,and spilled water everywhere. Finally with his third step, Vamana (Vishnu) pushed Bali back to the underworld.
Drops Brahma's kamandula combined and they formed the beautiful goddess Ganga. She was very pretty and danced in the heavens to the delight of all.
One time however, when a gust of wind blew off the only cloth in which the Rishi Durvasa was wearing, Ganga laughed too much. The rishi cursed Ganga to become reincarnated as a river in which all humans would seek purification (Plus it was also common knowledge that the people need teh Ganga on Earth). The 8 vasus obtained the vow from Ganga that she would become their mother when incarnated as a river. They themselves were suffering from a curse to incarnate given by Saint Vashista and hoped that Ganga would drown them as soon as they were born.
The moment when Ganga was needed on Earth came when King Sagar decided to perform an Ashwamedh Yagya (horse sacrifice) that would make him Emperor of Earth. When Indra saw that happen, he became worried by Sagar's increasing power. So Indra stole Sagar's horse before the ritual could be completed and tied it to the tree under which Sage Kapila was meditating.