Varanasi is a city in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh dating to the 11th century B.C. Regarded as the spiritual capital of India, the city draws Hindu pilgrims who bathe in the Ganges River’s sacred waters and perform funeral rites (see earlier post on sunrise at the ghats).
Upon arrival it takes some getting used to, the streets are a frenzy of cars, buses, motorbikes, bicycles, rickshaws, tuktuks and of course cows and dogs just loitering around. Given there are no pavements, nor much of a sense of road etiquette, it’s a truly chaotic experience!
Once you’ve managed to get your head around the road environment, you start to soak up the wider experience of the street, the numerous small stall holders and the myriad of types of people going about their business.
All of this provides for a rich, if initially, overwhelming experience. The warm and engaging people, the colours, the smells and the sounds are something that’s hard to forget…
These last three pictures show a small element of the Aarti evening ceremony with local and tourist observers converging on land and on boats!