Note: This is an ante-dated post (actual date of events).
February 12 – 13, 2018. Some experts claim that the Ganges is one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Despite this reputation, thousands of devotees bathe each day in its waters at the city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh–believing that immersing in its waters helps purify their souls and facilitate moksha, or the liberation from the recurring cycle of rebirth and tragedy. Or at least they get good karma, although I am not so sure good karma is all they’re getting from the water.
Great efforts are being exerted to reverse the pollution. And this is not impossible because the Ganges is a moving river constantly drained by monsoon and upland waters from the Himalayas.
I arrived in Varanasi after a gruelling 36-hours and four-flights voyage from Manila. It was originally supposed to be just a three-flight trip in under a day, but since I had booked my flights almost a year ahead of my travel, one of the segments apparently got discontinued along the way. Thus, instead of flying directly to Varanasi from Kolkata, I had to fly all the way west to Delhi and then turn back east to reach Varanasi.
My arrival in Varanasi provided me little respite from the exhaustion of the trip as I am immediately assaulted on all senses by the pandemonium of one of the oldest existing and most crowded cities in the world. It was a befitting shock to welcome me to memorable four-week adventure that lay ahead.