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It was far too early in the morning, but we persisted. We dodged the bodies being carried over our heads on bamboo carriers and we arrived at the Ganges River.

It’s Varanasi. One of the holiest and craziest places I have ever visited in my life. Sitting on the banks of the Ganges in India – a mere couple of hours from New Delhi by train – it is auspicious to die here and if you die somewhere else? You want to come here to be burned on one of the various piers here.

But that’s not what we were doing that morning. Nope. Instead we were trying to find a boat. Why? Well one of the other traditions here is to light little candles and send them floating down the river as an offering to Ganga, who is revered as the living goddess of Varanasi.

We found a row boat and three others – one photographer from National Geographic – to share our morning outing. He took us along the river where we saw people laying-out their laundry and bathing in water that was barely lighter than the colour of soil.

“What’s that?”

“Nothing Robyn, you’re still asleep.”

“No, I swear it’s a fin.”

“You’re right! It’s a dolphin.”

Of all things we would find on the Ganges with it’s pathway to the afterlife and apparent healing powers we also found a…..dolphin!

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the Ganges Dolphin on the Red list of endangered animals and we were watching it glide through the water! It was an amazing sight with the sun rising behind its dorsal fin.

Read more…..  http://robynswanderings.com/2010/12/13/ashes-of-corpses-bathing-and-dolphins-in-one-river/

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