Photographer's Note

A distinguished looking Sadhu on the Ghats of Varanasi with his trident, representing the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu.

I took this picture just two hours after arriving in Varanasi, but it was to be my last in the City. I was arrested by a policeman for taking it. I protested that I had asked the Sadhu’s permission, but he barked back that “Sadhu is not the boss of Varanasi – I am the boss”. After barking at me a little longer about stealing Hindu culture, threatening me with prison and taking my camera he got to the point. For 500 rupees (~$10) there would be no problem.

What to do? Thinking it was a pretty clear case of corruption I suggested we go to the police station. “How much you want to pay? 300?” he replied. But a funny thing happened on the way to the station. The police man foolishly decided he needed to go to the toilet and equally foolishly I decided to get away. But with good timing, some neat footwork and the help of the maze-like streets of the old city I escaped. The cost for me though was to avoid the city’s principle attractions for my rest of my stay here. :-(

Varanasi used to be called Benares, and for a while I decided to rename it “VeryNasty”. But it really is one of the most magical places on earth so I won’t let this colour my view of the place. Next time I will just try to keep a low profile.

Floydian, Zumosol, tjanze, Cuba-Junky, elihesamian, jdurbas, scalerman has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by John Hopkins (johnhopkins) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 194 W: 53 N: 161] (866)
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