‘Sacrilege’: Varanasi priests warn Ganges luxury cruises could contaminate river

5128Source: The Guardian

BY  in Delhi

Plans for a new luxury cruise liner on the Ganges river in the holy Hindu city of Varanasi have run into trouble, with priests worried that alcohol and meat will be served to foreign tourists onboard, contravening Hindu custom.

Nordic Cruiseline is due to start the sunrise and sunset trips later this month that will take visitors along all 84 sets of steps – known as ghats – that lead down to the water.

According to Hindu legend, Lord Shiva unleashed the Ganges from the knot of his hair and millions of Indian pilgrims travel long distances to immerse themselves in the water at Varanasi each year.

The cruises will include the cremation ghats where bodies are burned as part of Hindu funeral tradition.

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