INDIA CROSSING THE RIVER GANGES The children; sadhus (holy men); and pregnant women are considered pure so they don't need to be burned in order to purify them. The lepers are not burned because superstition has it that the leprosy will go into the air. So all of these folks have large rocks tied to them and they are dumped in the middle of the river. The great holy Gange river; full of sewage; waste; and carcasses; also houses an untold number of dead bodies tied to stones; and the ashes of all of those who are burned on her shores. Varanasi apparently also has a bad element. In the hostels they strongly suggest; they close and lock their doors; that you are in by 10 or 11. This makes a lot of sense because the city has constant black outs and it is really a huge city with an incredible tangle of back alleyways. It is so easy to get lost in this city it's frightening. There are no straight streets. And when people try to help you find your way it usually ends up worse than if you had just tried to figure it out yourself. Oh; and then there''s all the drug dealers and crooks. But that's just a side note. Varanasi is one hell of a city. I really quite enjoyed it. A very holy and spiritual place. A good place to stay a while and learn. If I had more time I might have stayed longer.