If Terry Prachett is planning to bring more of his discworld-novels to cinema, we have found the ideal place to do so: Varanasi in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. The similarities to the fictitious city of Ankh-Morpork are striking: In both of them, the chaotic actions in the narrow alleyways does not stop for a second, there are the most diverse guilds (like the "holy men" or the "thieves guild") and both places are located at a river in which the actual water content is so small that if one is fast enough, it can be crossed running. In the case of Ganga, this is a risky undertaking for Non-Indians since the pollution with plastics, heavy metals and human remains is so drastic that the river contains no fish anymore. Toxic or not, the Ganga is one of the holiest rivers on this planet for hindus and loads of pilgrims come from far away to wash off their sins. Whoever is cremated here can spare three re-incarnations. At the many ghats (stairs) are uncountable shrines and temples and besides prayer, the people gather here to clean themselves, wash clothes, do some yoga or just for a chat. As a common tourist however, daily live consists more of non-holy hassle of touts, silk shop owners, taxi/rikshaw/tuktuk drivers, beggars and other lunetics. Cows make their way through the narrowest streets, block entraces into houses, feces and rubish piles up on the street (in fact the stuff sometimes "builds" the street) and everyone is looking as we were from another star and that's exactly how we feel sometimes. Despite or exactly because of that, this holy city has a special charme and we passed our first test of nerves and germs in India.
Baden im heiligen Fluss - Bathing in the holy river
Hinduzeremonie am Ganges - Hindu Ceremony at River Ganga
Holz fuer die Freiluftkremation - Wood for the open air cremation