“Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it’s produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.”
~ Ken Robinson
It was an ordinary evening in Varanasi that we were boating along the river Ganges. The lights on the ghats turned on one by one as the dusk fell over the city. The priests were waving the lamps towards the holy river Ganges to perform the evening aarti, which is a ritual performed regularly on the famous Dasaswamedh Ghat in Varanasi. The tapering flames of the lamps were clearly visible from a distance. The reflection of lights in the rippling water made the scene extraordinary. It looked like the water caught fire. 🙂
I tried to capture the view with my Sony Cyber Shot W-190. But, I was standing in the middle of a moving rowing boat and made quite an effort to maintain my balance. 🙂 So, you can see, most of the images became blurry. That time I was upset and thought about deleting these images. But thank god, I didn’t! Now when I look back these ordinary images they remind me of those ‘extra’ ordinary moments in Varanasi.
Varanasi is a place where you will see them anywhere and everywhere – on the Ghats, in the alleys, at the temples. Some maintain the attire in which they came on this earth, some wear saffron clothes. Some are completely absorbed in their own world, some are very conscious about the surroundings – whether passersby pay attention to them or not (I hope you understand why 🙂 ). Some draw tika on their forehead while some smear ashes on the skin. Many of them wear matted hair coiled up on their crown. Yes, they are the Sadhus (hermits) – they belong to Varanasi’s culture.
While I was taking a stroll along the Daswaswamedh Ghat in one fine morning I spotted him. He came down the stairs, spread his rug on the floor, arranged his belongings in order, then sat down and looked at me curiously. As I approached him he wore a pleasant smile.
“Kya mai ek photo le sakti hun apki?”, I requested. (Can I take a photo of yours?)
He instantly gave his approval, “han, zaroor…le lo”. (Yes, of course, go ahead)
And there he goes – our smiling Sadhu Baba.
P.S.: I took this photo with my old SONY Cyber Shot W190.
On the next and the last day, I decided to explore the ghats on my own while my family went to Viswanath Temple for the second time. The main ghat was a 5-minute walk from the guest house. It was early morning and I roamed the ghats to ‘feel’ Varanasi for the last time. The river, the boats, the flowers in the floral shops, the sages in saffron and the people taking holy bath … all looked so different in the soft light of morning sun. I tried to capture some regular activities along the ghats.
Here are some for your eyes only… 🙂
In spite of its zigzag narrow lanes, enough to give you the feel of labyrinths; dirty overcrowded ghats, polluted water, congested roads and no traffic rule at all, Varanasi has its own charm with its age-old edifices, temples and a laid back attitude towards life. It was really a wonderful trip to the holy city in late February when the weather is pleasant. I think this is the best time to visit the place if you want to avoid both the chilling winter and the scorching summer of Northern India.
Gradually our time in Benares came to an end. I chose the Travera of the guest house for extra comfort. Pickup and drop cost us a total of Rs. 1200 which could be cut down to Rs 300-400 if we took auto rickshaws. But I don’t mind that extra bucks for the comfort and convenience of my family.
N.B: If you need to dry your laundries out in the sun don’t forget to clip them tight. Otherwise, you may lose them forever… courtesy monkeys. They have a tendency to grab anything and everything that belongs to human species… 😉 . Take care and have a nice trip!