One highlight of this trip for me has been the River Ganges itself. The Ganges is a wide, brown river, much like the Mississippi and about the same size. The first night in Varanasi, we stayed at the Alka Hotel, which sits right on the river, literally. The hotel has multiple terraces and balconies that give one an unobstructed view of the Ganges, both immediately below and up and down river.
Standing on the terrace above the river, he pointed out three large plants growing there in pots: one was a young banyon tree, the second was holy basil (tulsi), and the third, whose name I’ve forgotten, he said was always planted near courts, and if the tree shed on a man while he was being tried, he was presumed quilty.
When we left the hotel, Munna insisted that Linda and I go back to the terrace above the river and offer this prayer: “Mother Ganga, we pray that you will allow us to return once again and worship at your side.”
Since my wish to stick my feet in the Ganges has been unfulfilled, perhaps Munna’s prayer will offer me another chance.
Images: All photos except first courtesy of Richard Furlough.