My favorite city in India (probably the world) is Varanasi. Here are just a few images I was lucky enough to capture on a recent trip at the end of last year.
Manikarnika ghat is the most important of all ghats in Varanasi. It is said to be the place where the earth was both created and where it is destroyed. The sacred well dug out by Vishnu at the beginning of time is here as are the cremation grounds where the material order is consumed, at the end, by flames.s Bathing in the waters here, the city’s largest burning ghat, and having a darshan of Lord Vishvanath, (Shiva) has long been considered the most auspicious of all pilgrimage activities.
A pujari reads from a Sanskrit text, most likely a mix of scripture and fabulous stories of the divine beings that make Varanasi their home, in the galis near Manikarnika ghat.
One morning we were woken to a loud clanging of cymbals and blaring trumpets. A brass band announced and led a huge conclave of saffron-robed men to a wide river-side flat where they sat for the next two days chanting bhajans and listening to hard-right Hindu nationalist/political rhetoric. This old guy was finding it hard to keep up and leaned heavily on his bamboo lathi.