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Varanasi, Benaras, Banaras or Kashi

Sunrise over the Holy Ganga....Ripples spread across the glassy surface from bathers cleansing their spirits in the waters, a gaggle of colour and motion.

A lone priest performs Puja to the rising sun, a burnt orange ball slowly emerging from the haze of mist, cow dung fires and funeral pyres clinging to the city. Like an ochre bindi (a forehead decoration), the sun blesses the Ganga with a streak of ochre light rippling slowly on the surface.

The shore is scattered with boats, still, silent, bearing witness as humanity awakes to the city on the edge of the world. The boat in front of mine glides gently along the river.

The sun is nearly too bright to look at now, as it emerges from the dawn blessing. The remnants of last night still graced the Assi Ghat: packets, matches, cigarette butts and innumerable fragments of human consumption that packed the Ghat. A goat eats rubbish off a table, the sweepers perform their daily ritual, soon to consecrate the rubbish through fire to join the bodies drifting heavenward from the fires.

Took this picture as my boat neared Assi Ghat, an important ghat of Varanasi traditionally constituting the southern end of conventional city. Numerous References about this ghat are found in early literature The Ghat sits on the confluence of Rivers Ganga and Assi & hence the name of the Assi ghat.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7724 W: 324 N: 15464] (54489)
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