All posts tagged: religion

The River Ganges, Varanasi

Varanasi is probably the most spiritual place in the world, I guess you have Lourdes and Vatican City, but trust me this places smacks you in the face with religion. You can’t turn a corner without seeing religious icons, ceremonies or indeed dead bodies being burned. I’m not making it sound very appealing but it is one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been.  I was lucky enough to take a boat on the river Ganges that flows through Varsnasi both at sunrise and sunset. It’s the best way to see the ghats where locals bathe in the supposedly holy water, dispose of cadavers and ashes and even do their laundry.  In the morning it’s a very serene and tranquil affair, seeing the sun rise over the haze (it’s always hazy in India) is such a calming experience. Probably because you miss the worst of the heat too. I even did some souvenir shopping on the river, I bought some Ganesh dolls forms man in a boat. Obviously I haggled but it’s definitely the …

Cooking and Eating at The Sikh Temple

There are many religions practiced in India, it’s a very spiritual place, Hinduism is probably the most common faith, but there are Muslim, Christian and Sikh people too. In Delhi I was lucky enough to attend a Sikh temple, and what an experience! I absolutely loved it. On entering the temple you must cover your head, I donned a lovely orange bandana (ever stylish even in India), remove your shoes and wash your hands and feet – then you enter into the temple to the sound of rhythmic drumming, chanting and singing – it’s quite a meditative experience just silently sitting cross-legged in thought, listening to the prayers beings called. After a quick prayer (I’m an atheist but it doesn’t hurt to put out some positive vibes into the universe) we went to the temple’s kitchen. Sikh temples (depending on the size) can feed hundreds or even thousands of people for free each day. Sikhs volunteer their time to cook chapattis, dahl and vegetable curries for anyone who wished to eat. Sikhs also see all …

Pushkar – India’s Hippie Oasis

In the mountains of Rajasthan there lies a small but very holy town by the name of Pushkar. In Hindi ‘push’ means ‘flower’ and ‘kar’ means ‘hand’. The town is home to India’s most holy lake where each year thousands of hindus make a pilgrimage to the sacred waters. Legend has it that the lake was formed by the tears of Lord Shiva who was distraught after the death of his wife Sati. When Sati died Shiva cried so long and so hard that his tears created two holy lakes (in Pushkar and Ketasha – which means ‘raining eyes in Sanskrit). While visiting Pushkar it is possible to take part in a ceremony at one of the 52 ghats surrounding the lake. I obviously took part in such a ceremony at sunset (when in India…) where a holy man leads you in a series of chants and offerings, sugar, rice, pigments and flowers symbolising health, love, prosperity, for good karma. The experience was awesome, especially in such a picturesque setting – I honestly found myself …