Mallika: People by the River

The ghats in Varanasi were all linked so it was possible to walk along the river from one end of the city to the other. Each ghat had its own history and story. There were always people on the ghats. If they were pilgrims they were generally absorbed in some religious ritual. A profusion of local boatmen occasionally tried to lure tourists for a ride on the river but spent most of their time chatting and playing gili danda. The Ganga was not magnificent. Instead it was brown and sluggish and narrow. The bank opposite to Varanasi was completely barren. A guidebook we read claimed that this was because it was not holy, like the bank Varanasi was built on. Dying in Varanasi would earn you salvation, but if you died on the opposite bank you would be reborn as a donkey. The famous Indian poet Kabir, the book went on to say, had disproved this belief by dying on the opposite bank. On one ghat we saw an extremely sad looking donkey and we played with the thought that perhaps it was Kabir!

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~ by sketchindia on January 19, 2011.

One Response to “Mallika: People by the River”

  1. interesting………..

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