My last post from Varanasi will show pictures from yet another early morning boat ride, this one a bit less misty, thus providing more clear pictures.
In the mornings there is always alot of life at the Varanasi ghats, and it is usually a strange mix of the religious and the practical. You will see old ladies doing puja, to save their souls.
But you will also see dhobis standing all day doing laundry. Notice that he is standing knee deep, for hours in ice cold water. How he avoids catching pneumonia I simply don't understand.
The beautiful Scindia Ghat, with it's sunken temple in the foreground. The whole thing was simply too heavy and sunk when it was being built. In the wet season most of the temple is covered by water.
Lots of life by Scindia Ghat. I love the way there seems to be a lot of purple in this picture.
One of the most important ghats is Marnikanika, where Hindus come to cremate their dead and immerse their ashes in the Ganges river. In this way Varanasi is both very lively and still very closely tied to death. In fact Hindus believe that anyone who dies in Varanasi attains immediate Moksha (sort of like Nirvana). Quite a short cut! In the picture above you can see huge stacks of wood, and even the smoke from a couple of funeral pyres. Notice on the right part of the picture people washing their clothes (and they also bathe) in the river less than 30 metres downstream from where the ashes of the dead are thrown into the river.
A magnificent building at Bhonsale Ghat.
At Meer Ghat there is a Nepali temple. The main part of it is mostly hidden behind the large tree, but the red and white building to the left is also part of the Nepali temple complex.
More colourful Ghat life.
A soapy man taking the plunge into a very holy and very polluted river.