India is an intriguing country, and within India, Varanasi is an intriguing city. Here people travel from all over the country to wash themselves in the river Ganga. Here people come to die, be burnt and their ashes disposed in the holy river. This is therefore definitely a place to visit for a foreigner, although always with caution. On my visit, I had a rather frightening experience.
While absorbing the images of the river Ganga and the bodies being burnt continuously, while people were washing themselves near the 'ghat' in the same water where ashes were being dedicated to the holy water, I saw an old man in a white dress overlooking the river. I thought the shot was perfect and decided to quickly take the picture, knowing that it is stricly forbidden to take pictures of the ceremonies. Unfortunately my action did not go unnoticed.
Someone knocked on my shoulder, and I looked into the angry face of an Indian. He claimed to seize my camera, beat me up and make sure that I would spend some time in prison. Within no time at all, my (female) travel companion and I were surrounded by a crowd of at least 40 people, all angry. No way out, I thought, while I tried to remain calm. In the end, while someone was already beating me with a stick, my friend, who had been completely ignored until then, rescued me by shouting that they should not touch me. After some hesitation, they seemed to be stunned by her action. We gladly took the opportunity to escape....
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Varanasi (India). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Varanasi. Read more about this site.