On the Balcony

Agra Travel Blog

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Camel lapping from a traugh next-door to the Relax

Chris and I spent a lot of time on the balcony relaxing, writing post cards, or planning our days while sipping chai and ogling the neighborhood . India was full of intrigue, even at night. As we huddled around a cow chip, burning warm and smoky on our balcony, we noticed the soft jingle of rhythmic bells on the street below. Camels loaded with cargo lapped water from a trough next door, just below our balcony while their drivers checked-in at a government office across the street. The scene resembled a caravan version of a western truck stop without jake brakes or diesel fumes.


Nearby shopkeepers swept their floors and eatery kings scrubbed pots and pans while donkeys, sacred cows, and dogs foraged street-side trash and garbage.

Camel waits while its driver checks-in.
The quiet calm was broken by eight men shouting a prayer in cadence as they passed at a brisk pace. They held a stretcher high overhead containing a body draped in a white sheet. A ninth man, with an expression of stunned grief, trailed behind as the procession jogged toward the burning pits.


But not all of the dead were cremated. The lowest Class of the Hindu sect: beggars, lepers, and those with polio or smallpox, were said to be unworthy of burning. Their remains were constrained in rickety wooden frames, rowed out to the middle of the river, and disposed of like a burial at sea. Often, those corpses washed ashore downstream in various stages of decomposition - in the same waters the living used to bathe and drink.

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Camel lapping from a traugh next-d…
Camel lapping from a traugh next-…
Camel waits while its driver check…
Camel waits while its driver chec…
photo by: rotorhead85