Posts Tagged With: cobra handlers


Varanasi again. This may be overload, but I will only be here once and the culture fascinates me. At the river, we continued watching the bathers. Some soap up, others swim.

There are no rules. If this were the U.S., guards  would be making you stand your turn in-line and directing you to go this way or that and keeping order.


Thousands of people on this river every day, bathing, and burning and depositing ashes. The government has to dredge ashes and move them out to sea.

Before we leave the boats, we pass the laundry. All that bathing, towels, and a change of clothes.

Untouchables do  laundry. Our guide tells us the great fault of their religion is the caste system that designates children born of untouchable parents cannot change their lot. (An excellent book about the fate of an untouchable woman is, “The Space Between Us”, by Thrity Umrigar.

On shore, people are setting up for business. In back, on the steps, people eating breakfast.

Long and steep stairs are covered with water during monsoon up to where the railing ends. Cremations move up with the river.

On shore, I see cell phones in use everywhere.  In my hometown, in the grand USA, I do not get a dependable signal for a cell phone. I use it from my car when I travel.

A girl hides in the corner, her crippled feet wrapped in rags. A women gives her food. My entire time in India, I never heard a word spoken in anger.


Among the priests, there is no uniform clothing.

And if someone casually sits on your ghat to rest, no one seems to mind.

The priests have various markings on their foreheads, what they stand for I don’t know.

Two makeshift barbershops. They shave their heads to honor a loved or maybe to be part of a cremation ceremony.

Those anointed have horizontal or vertical marks. Our guide tells us they indicate something about the person, maybe cast, or what sect they belong to?

A simple gesture, its meaning clear;  but there was no hostility or anger because I aimed my camera at him.

The cobra handler’s eyes mesmerize, intense.

The musical instrument he plays looks more like a pop gun, but the snake is flared.

Instruments are rudimentary, home-made and for sale. Interesting shapes. They didn’t wake up his well fed dogs.

When we arrived in the cold, early morning, this bull was asleep on the steps.  Someone anointed him.

We walk back to the bus. Ranvir points out the pilgrims headed for the river are barefoot.

This group of women were laughing and giggling.

I asked what was so funny. It seems one of them had broken her shoe.

Best friends.

Breakfast or lunch is ready.

Hefting their wares closer to the river for sale.

More beggars.


A young father with his son. We reach the parking area and load into the bus.

On the way home, Ranvir asks the bus to slow down so we can see a typical laundry. The main necessity, a steady source of water.

After lunch, some visit a silk rug shop. I was hoping the first rug shop would show the entire process. The removal of the silk worm larvae, winding the fibers, dying the fibers and then weaving rugs. I’ve seen it before, but Theo has been sleeping a lot and chose to stay in his room.

The bus took us for an afternoon visit to a Buddhist Museum.









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It’s hard to look at people with elephantiasis. Both feet are affected. This man lives by begging. His hangout is the train station and I suspect he does well. Another man here had swollen  thighs that looked as though his flesh was made of stacked rubber tires the size of a kids wagon wheels. The Jhansi station was very dirty.

I was glad to load into a bus for the five hour drive to Khajuraho to visit the Bundela civilization.

This is what we call “out in the boondocks” at home. People we pass seem to be poorer in these small towns and villages.

The little girl in the back is blind. She fends for herself. Probably attached to the family waiting on the edge of the street.

We are not accustomed to the idea that where you live is where you sleep and keep your belongings. All business is on the street. You eat, get your hair fixed, buy food, clothes, paper,  tools, whatever you need is on the street. This barber shop has a mirror. Most have only a hand mirror.

Fresh chickens for sale.

Or a ready made meal.  These dumplings in our hotel restaurants, are quite tasty. Some are rice, some lentil.

On the side of the road, we saw a young couple making bricks. Ranvir stopped the bus and we watched. It takes around five 5 seconds to make a brick. They said they each make about 300 bricks a day. At the end of the season they will sell them for three cents each.

If you need iron work done, you have to wait for the gypsies to come to town.

Ranvir gives a standard warning. Thieves. They steal everything and you have to be watchful until they leave.

Heavy loads are standard everywhere in India, it seems.

At first I thought this was a woman. He plays a homemade instrument for his rupees but he has a ring and leather shoes.

We stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Cobra handlers seem quite at ease with their snakes.

After watching a Youtube video called Cleaning The Cobra Pit some years back, my impression is they are not an aggressive snake. But they are still deadly.

My oldest son kept snakes and they don’t frighten me, but Ranvir didn’t want us to get close.

Lunch here was some of the best food I’ve tasted in India. Not overly salty. Really fresh tasting. After we praised it, Ranvir told us his two nieces,  run the restaurant.

Theo is still not feeling well. It seems to be a respiratory ailment that hangs on.

When we left the restaurant, one handler was educating the bus driver’s apprentice about his snake.

We arrive at our hotel. I’ve forgotten what hotel had monkey security guards. We were cautioned to lock our balcony doors because the monkeys have learned how to open them.

This hotel had live music and wonderful art work.

In the morning, we will visit the park of the Chandela civilization. There were many sects from the area that believed the act of sex was a God sent pleasure of all living creatures to be encouraged in all of its forms. Be warned that the next blog will contain erotic carvings from the Khajuraho monuments.





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