varanasi Photo Essay

Varanasi is packed, and nowhere is seemingly big enough to accommodate the mix of locals, tourists, cows, and tuk tuks, which means you get up close and personal with all that the crazy city has to offer.

Varanasi is at its best on a sunrise stroll along the ghats, when the crowds are yet to materialise and people make the most of the relative sense of calm. Even then, it is a heddy mix of morning joggers, tourists meditating, and locals bathing and washing their clothes, which are then hung out to dry to create a multi coloured patchwork along the steps of each ghat.

 

These strolls are one of the best ways to gain an insight into the whole of Indian life. From bathing and cleansing in the holy Ganges river to the businesses that thrive off the tourist traffic, and finally the cremations and burning bodies downstream, the circle of life is very apparent.

A group of young boys and girls provide my favourite entertainment and best place to people watch. Every day they scuttle down the steps and set up a wooden barrier on the footpath, which is kindly raised once you hand over 10 rupees to the smiling boy. Grab a book, grab your camera, and settle yourself down to watch how different people meet, or avoid, this challenge.