BENGALURU: The ghats of Varanasi are a fantastic summation of India in all its glory, diversity, forms and volume levels! Like a densely packed Gujarati thaali, there is always something new and lots of choices to find what will suit your palate.
Cows jostling along, street dogs chasing each other, the fervent believer making his offerings to the river, to the sun and the Gods. Next to him, the howling child on his first visit to the murky, holy river.Then the local boys, dipping in and out and swimming with ease in their neighbourhood pool which just happens to be the Ganga. The sadhus or holy men are on display in a wide range of avatars. Some grim, some doped, some wannabes, some so fake that you could teach them a thing or two about faking it. The business angle comes alive too with different people doling out their services for money, selling everything from flowers, to diyas and puja things. You will encounter fortune tellers, astrologers and musicians. In the middle of all of this, the beggars jostle for your attention. The river is a first class people-watching experience. You’ll see some washing their clothes and buffaloes, others playing cricket on the banks, masseurs, barbers and numerous others just hanging around watching the scene.
The ghats give you a ring-side view of life that takes place everyday. It is fun, albeit chaotic but fulfilling even if only in a voyeuristic way. These simple steps to the river are your ‘ghat-way’ to the distillation of all things... Varanasi.
From dawn to dusk, the Ganga shines in all her beauty and you are definitely charmed. She makes you pay her homage and you gladly do so even if it is in the form of a series of photographs.
Bhavani blogs at http://merrytogoaround.com