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Sunday, July 22, 2018
Travel Sunday: On the Ganges in Varanasi, India
These floating candles are part of the Ganga Aarti ceremony, a nightly Hindu ritual here in Varanasi, which is a holy city for followers of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism, all of which are ancient religions of India. Tourists join congregants who gather at the river’s edge as practitioners make offerings of light to the goddess Ganga, the river’s namesake. In addition to Varanasi’s religious significance, this diverse city in North India also draws tourists for its ornate temples, silks, and archaeological sites.
MY family and I (my older children and my now ex-wife) all traveled in one of these boats and there were still fresh water dolphins that swam up to us that lived in the Ganges then in January 1986. It was like traveling to another planet where piles of sticks with feet sticking out with someone who had died would be set on fire and then the ashes thrown into the Ganges. But only the wealthier people could afford this both then and now.
This was my first big city in India that I spent time in. Since Sarnath is close to Varanasi the Tibetan Buddhist Lama from Kham province in Tibet took us to Sarnath to see where Buddha had first taught Brahman monks the dharma around 2500 years BC. In other words 500 years before Jesus Buddha was teaching about compassion in Sarnath and india that far back. My thought was that forgiveness was what Jesus added to Buddha's compassion which was tailor made for a middle eastern mind set to overcome "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" which is one of the things that prevents progress in the middle east of centuries of revenge going back and forth in a never ending way for thousands of years without stopping. Forgiveness made Christianity work along with Christian Brotherhood and Sisterhood especially in Europe and then South and North and Central America and other places on earth. Gaya by the way is next to Bodhgaya where the Buddha attained Enlightenment. There are Temples For each of the Buddhist countries there by the way. I went to the Tibetan Temple and the Thailand Temple for example, while I was there.
We traveled from Gaya to Varanasi on a Train. From Varanasi we traveled by train in a private compartment to Agra where the Taj maha is and then over to New Delhi and then finally to Dharamsala where the Dalai Lama lives in Himchal Pradesh State in india at about 6000 feet in the Himalayas.
Just remember when traveling in India with your family you need a private compartment to do this on any train. If you buy a ticket only that only allows you to ride on the outside of a train hanging on for dear life which usually (in the 1980s at least) only men under about 30 to 35 did. So, you would see boys as young as 12 years old and as old as 30 to 35 holding onto the outside of trains on the roofs and side of trains and engines then. There were still stream trains there in the 1980s which was kind of fun too.
Sarnath is a place located 10 kilometres north-east of Varanasinear the confluence of the Ganges and the Varuna rivers in Uttar Pradesh, India. The deer park in Sarnath is where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dhamma, and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence through the enlightenment of Kondanna.
It also hosts a Centralized Database of Indian Railways Trains & Stations, ... 48 Long-Distance Trainsbetween GAYA/Gaya Junction and BSB/Varanasi Junction. end quote from:https://www.google.com/search?q=the+train+from+gaya+to+varanasi+india&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS750US750&oq=the+train+from+gaya+to+varanasi+india&aqs=chrome..69i57.7654j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8