Varanasi and the Ganges River
Varanasi, the holiest of the seven sacred cities in Hinduism and Jainism, gave me strong memories. It was the filthiest place I’ve ever been, and the whole atmosphere was quite intense. Many Hindu pilgrims, persistence soliciting locals, cows, goats, dogs, and people: everything is powerful in Varanasi. An excellent place to visitors, and especially for photographers. This city on the banks of the Ganges has been a cultural center of North India for several thousand years and has a history that is older than most of the major world religions. The Hindu pilgrims visit Varanasi during their journey to bath in the Ganges.
The narrow streets are connected like a small spiderweb, hard to find the right direction. Sometimes you can walk in the narrow streets for hours and not see the open space. Many of the streets are connected to the ghat, a flight of steps leading down to the Ganges. Through out the day, especially early in the morning, people visit ghat to bathe. Hindus bathe while paying to their ancestors and to their gods by cupping the water in their hands, lifting it and letting it fall back into the river. They also offer flowers and rose petals and float shallow clay dishes. The Ganges River was ranked among the five most polluted rivers in the world, but the fact can’t stop the religious ritual has been continued for thousands of years. They worry about their spiritual hygiene rather than the physical. Evening ceremony at Dashashwamedh Ghat is an important religious event to attend. You can meet many well-dressed Hindus at Dashashwamedh Ghat at night.
Witnessing the life around the Ganges was an important part of my journey in India. From religious bathing in the Ganges to the burning ghat, Varanasi will remain as one of the most memorable destinations in India for sure.