Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A day in the Ghats of Benaras

The great river banks at Benaras or Varanasi (or Kashi), built high with eighteenth and nineteenth-century pavilions and palaces, temples and terraces, are lined with an endless chain of stone steps - the ghats - progressing along the whole of the waterfront, altering in appearance with the dramatic seasonal fluctuations of the river level.Varanasi is symbolized by its Ghats. There are as many as 81 Ghats in Varanasi for different purposes. Some of them are related to particular deity while others are simply to bathe. Some have crumbled over the years; others continue to thrive, with early-morning bathers, brahmin priests offering puja, and people practicing meditation and yoga. For the casual visitor, however the easiest way to see the city is to follow a south-north sequence either by boat or on foot. If one roams about these ghats through out a day, he/she can witness lots of activities there. A great place for a photographer. Some times you can feel that you are not in 21 st century, you are visiting 18 th century India. Varanasi is still maintaining the heritage of great India.

A special type of umbrella made of some tree leaves are trade mark of the ghats of Varansi specially the Dasaswamedh ghat. People starts bathing and praying from the dawn, long before the first ray of sun appears

Then the sun rises in the east keeping all mum in wonder and respect. The tourist enjoys this heavenly scene with a boat ride.

The pigeons welcome the Sun in their own fashion.

The photographers become very active. Some photographers don't want to miss any activity during the morning.

The priests starts to worship Sun.

When this worship is over, the sun shines with his full glory, some priests starts to read some religious books and explains the meaning to the interested devotees. They are known as "Kathak Thakur"

You can see some sadhu preparing themselves for the day. I picked this Sadhu who was sitting in the balcony of a royal building with a kingly pose.

Smiling faces some innocent kids are also a very common scene there.

But don't think that eternal happiness prevails there, every body is living there with joy. There is an opposite side of the coin.
Kashi had been an unorganised old age home for the Hindu widows since long. These widows had to spend their last days here willingly or unwillingly whatsoever the situation..... People still consider that death at Kashi opens the closed door of heaven !!! These widows have to count their days alone, being mercilessly thown away by their own beloved family members.Everybody turns his face, clearly showing no interest in their misery. The sadness in the eyes of these old lady describes tragic stories of these unfortunate widows...

You can see the sadhus are giving medicine to the people for physical and mental problems, family problem and in lieu of that getting some money from the devotees. But this sadhu asked me for some medical help. He himself was sick.

At the evening the prayer starts again by the priests. This time they make an "Aarti" to the river Ganges.Thousands of people witness these Aarti from the steps of the ghats and from the boats as well.


  1. Very nice pics..I am coming to india this August as accor group has recently announced a great discount offer which will help me to reduce my travel expense up to 60%. You may also check out http://tinyurl.com/n5lnku for any further details.

  2. Sumit, how do you manage to get such great photos. Please tell me the specifications of your camera. Do you edit photos? If yes, on what softwares? Can you spend a little time and write a comprehensive post on your photographic and editing methods and tools. Although, this is not the theme of your blog, but such a post from a photographer like you will be of great value.

    always, with an appreciation for you,


  3. Hi Sanjiv,
    Thanx 4 ur appreciation. The photos of Benaras ( as u mentioned in my blog post) are taken with a canon G7 PnS camera.
    Yes I do edit photos using photoshop , but no major change, only resizing, adding frame, brightness/contrast control etc.