The Namarupa blog has a link up to a CNN story that I can’t help figure is Robert Moses’ way of telling those of us going on this summer’s Yatra: “Read this.” It’s about Varanasi, one of our many stops:
Varanasi has always been known as the city of light. But a more appropriate moniker might be the city of death.
The end of life here is stark and out in the open, for all to see. Bodies blanketed by white shrouds and orange marigolds are brought to the ghats, the broad steps leading down to the Ganga. Funeral pyres, especially at Manikarnika Ghat, the most sacred of cremation places, burn nonstop, melting human flesh on piles of mango wood. Sometimes, parts of bodies remain after the flames go out; stray dogs surround the smoldering embers. Those smells and sights reminded me of my time covering the war in Iraq.
Many of the city’s residents make a living from death. They include the Doms, the untouchable caste of Hindus who work at the cremation sites as well as the astrologers and priests who gather at the river. Part of the fascination for visitors, especially foreigners, is to bear witness to the process of dying.
The piece comes with a ton of arresting photos, too.
Also, we just highlighted Sangita Yoga’s Naren Schreiner’s effort to crowd-source funding for an album of devotional music. If you are somehow on the fence, maybe give a listen to a radio show he did over the weekend to get a sense of why we think his Yoga of Music is worth support.
Posted by Steve