Shay Mitchell is living up every moment during her current trip to India. The actress gushes about the raw beauty of the country as she documents her travel through breathtaking photos on Instagram. But it was one specific place that made her philosophical - the cremation ground on the banks of the river Ganges, the holiest one in India.
In a lengthy post shared on the image-sharing website, the Pretty Little Liars actress narrates her spiritual experience while looking over the river bank with burning pyres. "The Ganges river is one of the holiest, most sacred place in all of India. The locals simply refer to her as 'Ganga'. I was lucky to get to spend time in Varanasi, which is the oldest of India's cities, and experience the burning ghat," she captioned the image in which she is seen looking over the crematorium.
The crematorium across the river Ganges is an important destination for Hindus. As per popular belief, those cremated at the sacred place avoid the cycle of birth and death and go straight to heaven. Mitchell, in her post, reveals that the experience of witnessing life and death at the same place has been "life-altering" for her.
"Each day tens of thousands of people from around India and even the world, bring their deceased loved ones to be cremated and bathed in the river, in hopes their soul will be transported to heaven. I have never witnessed something so life altering and raw as I did here," her post reads.
"I got lost in the hissing sound of the fire and the bright orange embers that lit up the sky while at the same time, I was brought back to the harsh reality of watching a young boy say goodbye to a family member about to be cremated. It made me realise how different each culture handles death. That's what the river teaches us all, keep flowing," she added.
The 30-year-old American actress is in the country for a photo-shoot and is sharing her experience in cities across India with her followers. She has already visited Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Agra, Jaipur and Varanasi.
The actress and her photographic crew also created a "Beauty and the Beast" moment in Jaipur's Umaid Bhavan palace.