India

Holy Cows
After a few exciting days on the bike with the repaired dynamo, crossing three pass roads over 5000 meter, we finally reach Delhi. We search for the DHL office to
pick up the dynamo. But before we get the dynamo we have to pay 80 % import tax! WHAT, 80%? That's more than USD 200. When we explain that we will leave
the country, so we take out the part and therefore not importing it, we get a loud NO. Since we still have 1 year to go we need the dynamo and pay...

In Agra we visit the Taj Mahal. Emporar Shah Jahan let this palace build to show his love for Mumtaz Mahal when she died. Thousands of people worked for 22
years to build the Taj. The perfectly symmetrical white marble palace with the black marble inlayed decorations is situated in a green garden. It is normal to pay
entrance fees for these monuments and recently the raised the fee for foreigners. But asking 20 USD for foreigners and only 40 cents for locals is too much difference. And what do they do with the money? Not for education / maintainance / environment in Agra because outsight the palace it is dirty and beggars are bugging tourists.
Of course we pay, because we really want to see the Taj Mahal. We are early and there or not so many people around. We see the rising sun lightning the Taj, making
it look gold, making her awake. The palace is surrounded with a green garden and it is a very relaxed place. How different with outside on the streets.

Taj Mahal with its beautiful inlayed decorations

 

 

 

 

 

 

We make our way to Varanasi. It is cloudy in Varanasi when we enter the city. And immediately we are stucked in the traffic. The constant sound of the horns of the
cars and tuktuks is hurting our ears. All traffic goes criss-cross over the street, ignoring the traffic light in the middle. A police officer tries to make order with his
whistle but everybody goes his one way. We try to find a hotel through the chaotic traffic, trying avoid the cows that are blocking the roads. The cows are holy in
India and everybody moves around. Some parts of the street are so crowded that we have to push with our aluminum panniers against the rickshaws to pass. And
i see for the first time a goat on a bicycle...It's great but it is nerve wrecking to make a way...Finally we find a relative quiet hotel where we can park the bikes inside.

Streets of Varanasi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A goat on a bicycle reading (or eating) the news....FANTASTIC!

 

 



Varanasi
is famous for its silk, rickshaws, holy cows and is situated at the Ganges river. Every morning at sunrise many Hindu's take a bath in the holy Ganges. From
the Ghats, stairs to the river, they walk into the river for a ritual bath. They say their holy prayers, dip 3 times completely under water and take a sip of Ganges water.
Not to mention that the Ganges is one of the most polluted rivers in the world...
There are some burning Ghats where the dead people are burned and their ashes are spread over the holy Ganges. It are very interesting rituals to observe.

Ritual bathing in the Holy Ganges

A tropical rainshower pours down. In no time the streets are flooded. The whole traffic is blocked again. Some cows are learning to swim. We flee to a restaurant.
We watch this chaotic scenes while we are ordering a Thali. This typical Indian food exists of bowls of rise, mixed vegetables in spicey curry sauce and chapati's
(bread). You take a piece of chapati, dip it in the vegetables with sauce and eat it with your hands. Taste really good!

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