As we traveled deeper into India, it felt as if we were traveling back in time.
Our guide Rohit told us to expect this felling and it was true. Nowhere did this seem truer than in Varanasi, one of the oldest and most sacred human settlements in the world. The streets are ancient and lined with shopkeepers and holy men, the spaces in between filled by unfortunates begging for alms.
Cows and pigs wandered the streets eating garbage and fertilizing the ground. Keep following the streets and they will take you to the shore of Mother Ganges. Mother Ganges, the river that provides the water of life, washes, blesses, purifies, and accepts the ashes of the dead.
All day every day Hindu families bring the bodies of their loved ones to the Temple of Shiva on the shore of the Mother Ganges for cremation. The fires burn constantly and the bank of the river is blackened with their ashes. This has been taking places since the beginning of time.
We sat in a small boat just off shore, transfixed by this ritual, watching eleven cremation fires burning in front of us. Under these conditions your mind goes to places tucked away deep in primordial consciousness. Varanasi is the bottom of the rabbit hole that is at the bottom of the rabbit hole.