And suddenly, we are at the end of our pictoral journey through India, and indeed through all of Asia. There are still plenty of words to be shared, stories to be told, songs to be sung, but for now let us slip our eyeballs over the colours, over the waves, over the alleys and seasons and trees. In our second month in India we made it to the east and to two of the most important religious sites in the world (I rose one day and sat by the Ganges for sunrise, and was sitting under the boughs of the goddamn bodhi tree by nightfall, a religion major’s wet-dream). And then, run ragged by our ravaging desire to basically see all of India in the span of two months, we flew to the south and became so tired that we just bummed around the beautiful beach towns and ate our faces off on sun-dappled shores.
India was so hard, you guys.
First, while we’re on the subject of the Ganges, let’s take a look at it. It’s a river with a lot of stuff going on, and a lot of stuff going in it, and it can be an overwhelming place as you walk along the ghats and try not to invade either someone’s bath or someone’s funeral. But at sunrise and sunset, it looks like this:
Bodh Gaya was, in reality, kind of just a pitstop for us, a weird interstitial location roughly half-way between Varanasi and Kolkata so that we didn’t have to make the entire journey in one go. As it turned out, it’s the most beautiful, wonderful place on the entire planet. When I talked before of having some words for you, a lot of them are about this place, and most of them will be thesaurus synonyms for “peaceful.”
Kolkata was scenic and orderly and easy to navigate, and the most charming thing is that these old Ambassadors were absolutely everywhere. Including parked directly under really photogenic trees.
While strolling the waters of Varanasi, Ty noticed a number of the pilgrims getting their heads shaved by the steps. He tried to work up the nerve to do it, but felt weird taking part in what, for some, was religious cleansing. So he waited until Kolkata, then found a barber who bewilderingly shaved him bald. Cost: ₹198 (around 4 dollars).
Suddenly drained, we decided to head for the more tropical, and also sometimes mosquito-ey parts of India in the south. We traded Hindi for Malayalam, cities for towns, roads for oceans. Goat curries for fish curries.
While we spent the bulk of our time in Kerala, I had expressed a vague, furtive desire to do something special for my birthday. I had read about a tiny town at the southernmost point of India, at the very far reach of Tamil Nadu. My friends, troopers as they were, happily carted me to Kanyakumari, which was scenic and beautiful, and even more awesomely turned out to be a kind of post-apocalyptic Coney Island.