Photographer's Note

Arriving at Varanasi by air, nothing indicates the deeply spiritual nature of the place. While Amritsar airport is old and full of arriving Sikh pilgrims, its equivalent at Benares is modern and featureless. In fact the only feature I found was worth noting in my diary was a WH Smith (a British retail chain) store. But as soon as my taxi reached the narrow streets of the area by the Ganges Varanasi started working its magic. The surroundings changed so much that I had to get off and continue on foot, for the streets leading to my hostel were too narrow to continue by car. It was late and dark and I was lucky to bump into someone who was able to show me the way.

I was staying in Varanasi for two nights but only one full day and had no time to waste so, much as I like to wander and shop around, I booked a boat trip to the nearby Assi Ghat for the following morning. As I appeared in the reception a few hours later at 4:30 am, my skipper was already waiting for me. I followed him through a maze of narrow alleyways to the shore where we got into a boat and paddled on. Assi Ghat holds music and yoga events at sunrise, including a short Aarti ceremony. What you can see in the photo is the preparations to that event. All three photos uploaded here are very high ISO and you may be disappointed with the quality but I feel they reflect the mood of that dark morning and my first encounter with the Ganga.

I’m not going to upload photos of Aarti in this post, there is a really good one posted by Malgo here:

and I uploaded a short video made at Dasaswamedh Ghat in the evening of the same day to youtube so you can listen to the music:

I was once able to witness that ceremony from afar in Kathmandu. Non-Hindu visitors were not allowed in but I just happened to be on a hill above the temple:

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Additional Photos by Kasia Nowak (kasianowak) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1692 W: 9 N: 3499] (17676)
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