Varanasi

Varanasi was a difficult place to vist, made more difficult by a fairly lacklustre guide more interested in selling us silk than explaining just why perfectly sane people were immersing themselves in a river frequently described as an open sewer, and moreover doing so in a clear state of religious ecstasy.

Varanasi

Varanasi Ghats
Varanasi Ghats
Boats Varanasi
Boats Varanasi
Boats Varanasi
Boats Var
Ghats, Varanasi
Ghats, Varanasi
Varanasi Ghats
Varanasi Ghats
Varanasi from the Ganges
Varanasi from the Ganges

Varanasi is possibly the world’s longest continually inhabited city, lying along just one side of the holy river Ganges. It is said to have been visited by the God Shiva and to be one of seven holy cities which can provide moksha ( Ayodhyā, Mathurā, Gayā, Kaśī, Kañchi, Avantikā, and Dwārāvat) or liberation.

Tourists Varanasi
Tourists Varanasi
Varanasi
Varanasi
Varanasi: Religion vs functional washing
Varanasi: Religion vs functional washing
Varanasi: Taking the water
Varanasi: Taking the water

So like many tourists, foreign and Indian, secular or religious, we duly took a boat ride along the river and viewed the many ghats and the people using them.

varanasi: riverside
Varanasi: riverside

It was a fairly normal morning, no special religious significance, and yet the river was still busy with worshippers.

Ganges, Varanasi
Ganges, Varanasi

It was also busy with many of the people who make their living from the river, from barbers to the washer men carrying their linen down to the river and beating it senseless in the polluted waters,

Barber, Varanasi
Barber, Varanasi
Washing, Varanasi
Washing, Varanasi
Washing, Varanasi
Washing, Varanasi
Washerman & son, Varanasi
Washerman & son, Varanasi
Washerman, Ganges
Washerman, Ganges

And ofcourse the cremations.

Varanasi Cremation
Varanasi Cremation
Cremation, Varanasi
Cremation, Varanasi

There were the many stands of yogis and brahmin priests alongside the river either working on their own enlightenment on their followers.

Holy man Varanasi
Holy man Varanasi

A couple had very beautiful female attendants.

DSC_0217

We walked back through the old town with it’s tiny alleys, muddled up together with their starving dogs, cows searching through the rubbish left over for food and the tiny little woman, huddled over her cart unable to keep up with the detritus of her slightly higher caste neighbours.

Varanasi Old Town
Varanasi Old Town
Old Town Varanasi
Old Town Varanasi
Varanasi Doorway
Varanasi Doorway

Not the caste is an issue in India anymore…

Old Town Varanasi
Old Town Varanasi

And all of the time, keeping watch on a beautiful sunrise on the empty bank of the Ganges.

Sunrise, Varanasi
Sunrise, Varanasi

Sunrise from the Ganges

View away from Varanasi
View detail away from Varanasi
Sunrise, Varanasi
Sunrise, Varanasi

Sunrise, Varanasi

Sunrise, Varanasi
Sunrise, Varanasi

All about me!