The ghats of Varanasi are a fantastic interaction with India in all shapes, sizes, forms and volume levels! Like a densely packed Gujarati thaali, there is always something new and lots of choice to find your favourite!
Cows jostling along with the faithful, and the street dogs chasing each other, the fervent believer dipping his head in the water, making his offerings to the river, the sun and God and beside him, the howling child on his first visit to the murky, holy river. Then the local boys, dipping in and out and swimming with such ease as if it is their neighbourhood pool. The sadhus or holy men are on display in a wide range- some grim, some doped, some wannabe, some so fake that you would make a better sadhu! The business then comes alive- different people doling out their services for money, from flowers, diyas, puja samaan to fortune tellers, astrologers and musicians asking for patron support. In the middle of all of this, the beggars crowd for your attention. The river is a first class people watching experience – you’ll see some washing their clothes and buffaloes, others playing cricket, masseurs, barbers and numerous others just hanging around watching the scene, very much like you and me!
The ghats give you a ring-side view of this tamasha that takes place everyday by the ghats- it is awesome fun, albeit chaotic but fulfilling even if only in a voyeuristic way. These simple steps to the river are your ‘ghat-way’ to the world of all things Varanasi- find that something which steadies your wandering eye too and click away. From dawn to dusk, the Ganga shines in all her beauty and you are definitely charmed. She makes you pay her homage, and you gladly do so, even if it’s in the form of a series of photographs, the way I do!
This trip was originally published on Merry to go around.