Varanasi; Life at the Ghats of Ganges…

Varanasi, referred as a place where old people go during their last years of life, as it as the ultimate place for Hindu pilgrimage and secondly, taking one’s last breath at Varanasi was considered as attainment of moksha (liberation from the vicious cycle of life and death). Later on when I picked up my interest in photography, Varanasi became one among the list of the dream place to shoot as it was an ancient city were you get to see lots of variety people from various parts of India and beyond…

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This small dream was buried as I got busy with my routine work and life in Bangalore. Later on, when I shifted to Dubai, I got into a conversation with my cousin, who also happens to share the same interest in photography. He mentioned that he had met someone in the airport from a photo tour company called ‘Indian photo tours’ and their next tour was to Varanasi in March. I was all charged up to hear this as it was in par with my annual vacation to India.
Varanasi greeted us with a beautiful rainy day! The view Ganges River during the rain from the balcony of our hotel was totally breathtaking. The mentor of the tour gave us a brief insight of the kind of pictures we could take during our shoots. I was amazed with all the pictures in his presentation, really awe struck by how he spotted details in a chaotic situation and made a story.
The next days of the tours were adventurous for my cousin and me. We took a stroll along the Ghats and the inner streets, tried street food, took a boat ride and interacted with Sadhus as well. Among the few things that interested me the most in the trip was the burning ghats and the Ganga aarti. Burning ghat or the Manikarnika ghat was one of the many ghat along the Ganges where the cremation is done. The ghat had lots of shops which sold different types of wood for fueling the cremation fire, a huge weigh-balance was used to quantify the amount of wood needed.
The second interesting was the Ganga aarti, which is performed twice, once when the sun rises and just after the sunset. This aarti is a way of paying respect to the holy Ganges. Seven boys execute a set of actions in a synchronous manner with a huge Aarti diya in their hands. You get to see lots of people gathered to take part in this aarti.
Apart from these two, I was totally taken aback by the way people live in Varanasi; you see different genres of people around you while you walk along the Ganges and in the streets. I have picked up a few of my best frames to give you a sneak peak of the life at the Ghats of Ganges….
Usually they say when one visits Varanasi, one need to leave something behind, but in my case, Varanasi has given me a decent amount of experiences and a whole bunch of amazing pictures! I doubt how much my pictures can reflect my experience of Varanasi, because this place is full of surprises and one really needs to experience this place in person to get a hang of it. Apart for these things, my cousin and I found some really cool friends with the team of ‘Indian Photo Tours’, without them this trip would not have been this much interesting and smooth. On the photography side, I got to learn a lot of things on how to spot and frame your subjects to create a story. Like my cousin quoted, ‘We stopped clicking pictures, we started framing stories…’
Love and Peace;
Vinayak
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3 thoughts on “Varanasi; Life at the Ghats of Ganges…

  1. wow! i was looking for a Varanasi picture to put as my phone wallpaper, couldn’t find one, so i settled on a Varanasi painting. now i guess my search has ended! 🙂 lovely shots!

  2. Pingback: Serene Sarnath | Vinayak Bhat

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