Prepare to be a tourist

The picture below was taken on the steps of the Ganges river in Varanasi, India.  This is one of the most sacred Hindu rivers and the people in the picture are partaking in spiritual cleansing.

Spiritual bathing on the steps of the Ganges River, Varanasi, India

Spiritual bathing on the steps of the Ganges River, Varanasi, India

Sunrise is the most holy part of the day and you would expect to see something like this if you have never been to the steps of the Ganges, at least that was my understanding.

Sunrise on the Ganges River, Varanasi, India

Sunrise on the Ganges River, Varanasi, India

In reality it was like this.

Tourist boats floating down the Ganges River, Varanasi, India

Tourist boats floating down the Ganges River, Varanasi, India

I was able to get all of the classic photos of the Ganges but the third photo is closest to what it was really like. The others were taken as one tourist boat left the frame and just before another came into it.

When anyone dreams of traveling or visiting exotic locations rarely do people visualize thousands of tourists, lines and photo-op areas, but this is the reality in many of the places that are popular to visit in any country.  I have traveled with people that are taken aback by this fact and they tend to stop enjoying the experience because they are forced to share it with so many people.  But if you want to go to famous site, then you have to be ready to be one of many.  Being one of many tourists can also make you feel a little odd being there.  Along the Ganges for example we were watching people go about their daily lives, and very personal spiritual moments, almost as if they were on display, but that is the topic of a future post.

Moral of the story, if you are ready to accept that fact that you will not be the only one enjoying the sights and sounds around you then you will have a much more enjoyable and eye opening experience.  Just because other people are there with you, don’t let that take away from a life changing moment.

-JDB

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