Varanasi (Banaras)
Up Agra
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VARANASI: Someone with a sense of humor draped flowers over this cow.


VARANASI: People continue to stare at me, but the looks have changed whenever I put on the mask, something necessitated by coughing fits. Filtering out the dust has helped a lot with the chest tickle. People here must have a lot of respiratory problems.


VARANASI: Wonder why people are staring at me? At least I can breath without coughing when wearing my spaceman mask.


VARANASI: A typical scene along the banks of the Ganga River in the area of the Ghats, stone stairs leading down into the river. 


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing four holy men doing yoga and chanting as the fellow in white receives their blessing.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing a street barber at work on a pilgrim who has just had his head shaved... to become another "holy man" I presume.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing one of the entrances to the river front. There are only four or five along the several kilometer area of the Ghats. Old bearded guys sit along the way with begging bowls... hungry holy men, I guess.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing some holy men taking a lunch break.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing a vendor's wares which includes plastic bottles in which to carry home some of the Ganga River water.


VARANASI: A street cobbler at work. I stood watching him for several minutes without hm taking notice.


VARANASI: Cargo deliveries still are made the old fashioned way; by horse drawn cart.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing holy men and others who seem to be doing nothing, but watching.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing one of the hundreds of temples in and around the area of the Ghats.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing a small group of boats waiting for passengers. A half hour run up and down the river in the area of the Ghats will cost about 50 Rupees... about a dollar.  The fully dressed guys presumably are either touts or boat operators.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing a small group of boats waiting for passengers. Some look more "sea worthy" than others.


VARANASI: Exterior shot of the Pradeep Hotel ($25) where I spent two nights after one night each in the $100 Radisson and the $75 Clark's Tower. The Pradeep is an excellent value and much closer to the Ghats; not luxury, but clean and well maintained.


VARANASI: School kids in their rickshaw, peddle powered school "bus."


VARANASI: School kids in their rickshaw, peddle powered school "bus." The grandfatherly diver tenderly helped each kid from his doorstep to the waiting bus, packing them in like sardines.


VARANASI: School kids in their rickshaw, peddle powered school "bus." They got interested in me and my camera and eagerly posed with gusto for photos.


VARANASI: In the narrow, twisting alleyways of the galis can be found most of the budget hotels favored by the backpackers and young at heart... or just budget minded travelers.


VARANASI: A beautifully carved door panel on the entrance to a Seik Temple.


VARANASI: Another of the budget hotels favored by budget minded travelers.


VARANASI: The ultimate biodegradable dish is made from pressed and dried leaves. Here, a pile of used dishes already disintegrating.


VARANASI: Stuff for sale on the street. The irregularly shaped items to the left are dried cow dung "fire wood."


VARANASI: In the narrow, twisting alleyways cows, bicycles, rickshaws and motorcycles compete for passage.


VARANASI: An Indian "lumber yard" or ladder factory... not sure which.


VARANASI: Part of the inventory in this Indian "lumber yard" or ladder factory... not sure which.


VARANASI: An Indian "lumber yard" or ladder factory... not sure which.


VARANASI: Part of the inventory in this Indian "lumber yard" or ladder factory. It looks like builders have their choice of bamboo or bamboo.


VARANASI: Main Post Office here. Nothing fancy, but I guess they can deliver most of the mail.


VARANASI: Main Post Office here. This sign in three languages says not to give any employee a bribe and to report any request for a bribe. One wonders what is behind the sign. Recent briberies?


VARANASI: I saw a few of these Post Office boxes around town. Nothing fancy, but I guess they do the job.


VARANASI: Those are not carrots, though they look like carrots which have been painted red. They taste like a cross between carrots and radishes.


VARANASI: A friendly bystander said this is an image of the Ganga River god. The fanciful creature seems to be a combination of fish and elephant.


VARANASI: A wholesale tea distribution operation.


VARANASI: This is the main railroad station about a twenty minute walk from my Hindustan International Hotel.


VARANASI: Here at the main railroad station a man washes a kid's hair, occasionally plucking something from the suds... lice?


VARANASI: Here at the main railroad station a woman and her child wait for a train.


VARANASI: A fleet of rickshaws wait for passengers here at the main railroad station.


VARANASI: At the Kashi Railroad Station I spotted about ten fancy carts like these, presumably used in a recent parade.


VARANASI: I started the trip using the second hole in the belt. Three months later I'm up to the fifth hole! That's a reduction of about four inches in girth. Some of it might be from sucking in my gut from all the walking, but at least part reflects a healthy loss of body weight.


VARANASI: Street market scenes near the hotel one morning during rush hour.


VARANASI: Another view of the street market scene near the hotel one morning during rush hour.


VARANASI: Rickshaw manufacturing shop.


VARANASI: Rickshaw manufacturing shop.


VARANASI: Rickshaw manufacturing shop.


VARANASI: One of the women processing coconut husks for rope. She is weighing her production.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat Typical scene along the several kilometers waterfront. Notice the people watching me.


VARANASI: One of the hundreds of small "temples" located around the City of Lights.


VARANASI: One of the hundreds of small "temples" located around the City of Lights.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing a small group of boats waiting for passengers. A half hour run up and down the river in the area of the Ghats will cost about 50 Rupees... about a dollar.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing a small group of boats waiting for passengers. The fully dressed guys presumably are either touts or boat operators.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat lined by boats waiting for the tourists.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing one of the entrances to the river front. There are only four or five along the several kilometer area of the Ghats.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing either a bunch of beggars or holy men. It is hard to tell some of them apart as both beg.


VARANASI: A typical scene along the narrow alleyways near the Ghats.


VARANASI: In the narrow, twisting alleyways known as galis can be found most of the budget hotels favored by the backpackers and young at heart... or just budget minded travelers.


VARANASI: View from my room #102 in the Hotel Hindustan International.


VARANASI: Panorama right to left of the area around the cyber cafe I used near the Hindustan Hotel.


VARANASI: Panorama right to left of the area around the cyber cafe I used near the Hindustan Hotel.


VARANASI: Panorama right to left of the area around the cyber cafe I used near the Hindustan Hotel.

 

18 February - 1 March 2004 

Hello from the Ghats of Varanasi, 

Gee gads. What's a Ghat?  I kept hearing about the bathing Ghats and the burning Ghats of Varanasi weeks before deciding to visit the city. I knew they had something to do with the funeral pyres shown in travelogues and devotional dunkings in the holy River Ganges. When I finally got there I did see a lot of bathing and some cremation fires along the river, though no bereft widows throwing themselves on the pyres, an ancient custom now rare, though others which mistreat and exploit widows do continue.  Smoke around the area of the burning Ghats carried a peculiar, though not totally unpleasant smell. Mingled with the other olfactory treasures from burning cow dung, bulk displays of powdered curry and other spices, the ever present smoldering incense sticks offered to the denizens of the area favored by the young backpackers, and frequent wafts of urine freshly splashed on the walls of narrow streets, all masked the unique smell of the burning flesh on funeral pyres. Such rituals have been occurring for thousands of years here. Varanasi may be the oldest living city in the world.

Death chants of mourners, the sing-song sounds of Hindu priests, taxi tout assaults, honking horns and tinkling rickshaw tricycle bells, individuals unselfconsciously singing as they work, agitated merchants hawking their wares, clusters of friends chatting at the top of their voices all conspired to create a constant aural ambiance unique to Varanasi. There is almost no western music played anywhere in the city; even the hotels favor soft traditional Indian music for dining. Some locals still refer to the city as Banaras as do older maps.  

My train from Agra stopped at the Mugulserai station 18 kilometers from the city proper. The usual mob of taxi touts and drivers waited for stranded passengers from the train platform to the chaotic street. All had horror stories to tell of those unwise enough to refuse their transport services. Eventually, I and three others with whom I'd shared the train negotiated a 200 Rupee ride to the Radisson Hotel. As we arrived after dark I opted to stay in the $100 Radisson that first night. Later, I discovered we were in an area far from the "main" Ghat. Many of the expensive up scale hotels are here in this quiet and unexciting area, not far from the principle railroad station. As is my practice I went hotel shopping the next morning and found the luxury Clark Tower Hotel not more than 50 meters away at $75. With more shopping the Hotel Pradeep at $25 became my abode for three nights before stumbling on the deluxe Hindustan International at $45. It is not far from the main street and much closer to the river and the Ghats.  

One morning at 05:00 in the Pradeep Hotel a loud commotion not far from the hotel escalated into near pandemonium as a funeral procession worked its way down the street below my window. Fully awake I watched as the mourners slowly shuffled by our hotel to the accompaniment of amplified Hindu chanting and cymbals. Several people carried the body covered with flowers on a "stretcher" above their heads. The ritual continued for a half hour, making this an early rising morning for me. 

Bitter experience has taught me to mistrust the Indian Government Tourism Offices; their maps and descriptive brochures are fine, but accommodation advice is always misleading. With a little hotel shopping I always find much better values than is ever suggested by the people in those "official" offices. They claim to be looking out for visitors, but in fact seem to be driving traffic to lodges which cannot successfully compete on their own merit. 

Food sellers on the street serve food in bowls made from pressed leaves, the ultimate in biodegradable containers. Piles of these discarded dishes awaited collection or trampling along with disposable clay cups in which street tea is served. 

My Phillips KEY007 camera continues to attract unabashed curiosity here. Every time I pull the little guy out, groups of people will approach me with questions or inquisitive stares. Often, my stolen pictures show sour, angry faces. Nothing could be further from the reality. The intensity is fascination, admiration, approval and soon after I've gotten my picture the scowls turn to wide smiles. 

Every upscale hotel in Varanasi has a flock of rickshaws hovering around the entrance, ready to pounce on guests every time they venture out. Here in Varanasi locals pay 5-10 Rupees for most rides anywhere in the city. Foreign visitors are always asked to pay 20-60 Rupees. Eventually I learned to walk away from inflated fare quotations. On every occasion the driver rushed to catch up with my brisk pace and countered with his own "How much?" Out would come my ready ten Rupee note which eventually would be accepted for the ride. A second ruse commonly practiced by drivers starts with an offer of sight seeing for ten Rupees an hour or a single ride to the river for that fare. Later in the trip the driver wants to take you to a special "government shopping bazaar" or suddenly notes your destination is far and you must pay 50 Rupees! To complicate matters, drivers never speak good English and many are illiterate... or pretend to be. 

The river is lined with buildings, some newer, most old and all blocking access to the river and the Ghats, save for three or four public alleys which wind their way from the tangle of narrow streets and alleys called galis of Old Varanasi to the top of the stairs leading down to the river. This is a Ghat. Young backpackers flock to the invariably cheap guest houses and cafes situated in the area. One sign caught my attention: "APSARA Restaurant: Yes, we are less dirty..."

Through the narrow streets of Old Varanasi rickshaws, wildly maneuvering bicycles, loud motorcycles, pushing pedestrians, languishing shop owners and the ubiquitous herds of cows crowd the way, sometimes making progress impossible. Several of the cows wandering the streets had seriously injured hooves; one so badly it dangled from the end of its leg. "Watch where you step." advised one experienced visitor. Good advice, as a fresh pile of cow plops is never more than a nose throw away. Near my hotel one hapless lady struggled to wipe a mess off her soiled shoe, making little progress. "Better use a stick or take it back into the hotel and hold it under the shower" I advised. "Well I would but my bus leaves in five minutes" she whimpered. Glad I missed that particular bus.  

The burning Ghats might more appropriately be called the laundry Ghats. For ever funeral pyre I saw a hundred guest-house laundry people beating the devil out of travel garments left in their safe keeping by trusting guests. Washed clothes ended up spread out for drying on the unused cremation platforms and on the stairs of the Ghats. In one place the array of drying clothes blocked easy passage from one side of the Ghat to the other. Below a recently concluded cremation several enterprising men were sifting through the sand where the deceased ashes had been dumped. I presume they were "panning" for gold, having established the remains came from a well-to-do "dearly departed." 

People brush their teeth on the street using the smashed end of a stick, something I first saw in Africa. Toothbrush sellers with piles of sticks made from one particular wood favored by users can be found along the streets. 

Internet access quality and costs vary a lot: from a low of 15 Rupees per hour up to 50 Rupees (35 cents to $1.10/ hr). Frequent power outages make a UPS essential and not all cyber cafes have them. I got caught twice with significant creative writing flushed into the either by a suddenly dead computer. Here in India matrimonial websites are popular. Both young men and women worked at finding mates on the net. Most marriages still are arranged by the families with the help of "brokers" I learned from the front office manager in the Hindustan International Hotel. Chandra told me how his arranged marriage, scheduled for this month had to be postponed for a year when his fiancÚ's father unexpectedly died a few months ago. Hindu custom requires the bereaved to abstain for a year from most forms of celebration, including a wedding.  

On the streets of downtown Varanasi traffic is bumper to bumper, literally. Every rickshaw driver is constantly bumping the axle ahead of him and in turn being bumped by the guy behind him. Muted angry words between drivers are common, though I never saw any of them escalate into something serious. Sunday, most stores are closed and traffic is much lighter. By mid-day the air is nearly unbreathable with airborne dust and exhaust fumes. Shop owners are constantly sweeping new clouds into the air as they engage in futile efforts to keep the areas in front of their stores clean. So bad is the air pollution I finally got wise and bought a dust mask to wear most of the time on the streets. Clogged open sewers can be seen all over town. To their credit, store owners try to keep them cleaned out but the efforts are soon defeated by the constant stream of new rubbish flowing in the water. I've now come to realize that filth is relative and that there are different categories of filth. Some assault the senses; some threaten our health; some merely irritate our cultural sensibilities. 

Milk distribution is handled on the streets at various locations established by custom. I watched transactions between dairymen and buyers for a while, snapping a few pictures. Like any prudent shopper, buyers wanted a sample of the merchandise before making their purchase. Off came the top of the ten gallon size stainless steel can and in went the buyer's cupped hand for a sample. If the buyer approved, the seller poured a quantity into the buyer's can. Other potential buyers came and went repeating the procedure, leading me to wonder if everyone washed their hands before going out to buy milk.  

A wonderful on-line book by Chris Baxter includes a chapter on Varanasi. Take a look at his book.  

That's it for now.  

Peace,
Fred L Bellomy

PPS: For anyone following my wanderings it will become apparent there often is a significant delay in getting out the postcards. At the moment I am in Bangkok and leaving for Hong Kong tomorrow morning. FB


VARANASI: Along the narrow galis near the Ghats I came upon this beautiful man who wanted to see my camera.


VARANASI: 27 February a noisy parade slowly passed our hotel. On the street I saw this scene and noticed a cargo cart containing several "5 gallon" stainless steel pots. Helpers were ladling a mixture of milk and honey into plastic glasses which were greedily consumed by an endless line of takers. One of the rickshaw drivers said people were celebrating the arrival of a "holy baba," or holy old man.


VARANASI: School kids in their rickshaw, peddle powered school "bus." They seemed to be enjoying me as much as I delighted in them.


VARANASI: School kids in their rickshaw, peddle powered school "bus."


VARANASI: Entry driveway into the Deluxe Best Western Hindustan International Hotel ($40) where I stayed for the last part of my time in Varanasi. It is a bubble of luxury in a typically cluttered and filthy area... actually, there are no areas here that could be described as clean and well maintained.


VARANASI:Meet Mr. Supradeep Chandra, sales manager of the Best Western Hotel Hindustan International in Varanasi. After checking many hotels I concluded the Hindustan is by far the best value for singles. At $40-44 and luxury facilities, it is hard to beat. As far as I can tell it is the closest house to the principle tourist attractions, the Ghats.


VARANASI: View from my room #102 in the Hotel Hindustan International.


VARANASI: Exit driveway from the Deluxe Best Western Hindustan International Hotel where I stayed for the last part of my time in Varanasi.


VARANASI: Looking down a typical side street near the Hindustan International Hotel.


VARANASI: I paused to check out an Indian "lumber yard" or ladder factory... not sure which. This guy is manufacturing ladders, however. That is certain.


VARANASI: A beautifully carved door panel on the entrance to a Seik Temple.


VARANASI: Lady weighing out a portion of potatoes for a customer.


VARANASI: Blacksmiths still have work in India. Here one is replacing iron shoes on a "holy" cow.


VARANASI: Taking a nap between sales. 


VARANASI: One of my many rickshaw drivers.


VARANASI: Cute baby and proud grandfather... an older brother in the background?


VARANASI: While waiting at the main railroad station this boy exhibited interest in my camera so I did the "CAMERA, COMPUTER, INTERNET" routine for him. A bystander translated for us. A very bright boy who could not afford to be in school. He must work for food! So, I bought five orders of his nuts and instructed him to give them to other bystanders... not a handout...


VARANASI: A five "chair" barbershop... Indian style. "You're next!"


VARANASI: One of the barbers noticing my long hair at the five "chair" barbershop gestured indicating I could use a haircut... the nerve.


VARANASI: One of the women processing coconut husks for rope. She motioned for me to take her picture.


VARANASI: Lady at the neighborhood water pump.


VARANASI: A typical scene along the banks of the Ganga River in the area of the Ghats, stone stairs leading down into the river.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing holy men and others who seem to be doing nothing, but watching.


VARANASI: A typical scene along the banks of the Ganga River in the area of the Ghats, stone stairs leading down into the river.


VARANASI: At the "main" Ghat "holy men" sit waiting for clients wanting to be blessed.


VARANASI: Another couple boys in a group who became fascinated with my camera.


VARANASI: Street vendors haggling with customers.


VARANASI: In the galis; a typical scene.


VARANASI: In the galis alleyways; a typical scene.


VARANASI: 27 February a noisy parade slowly passed our hotel. On the street I saw this scene and noticed a cargo cart containing several "5 gallon" stainless steel pots. Helpers were ladling a mixture of milk and honey into plastic glasses which were greedily consumed by an endless line of takers. One of the rickshaw drivers said people were celebrating the arrival of a "holy baba," or holy old man.


VARANASI: At the Kashi Railroad Station I spotted about ten fancy carts like these, presumably used in a recent parade.


VARANASI: Street market scenes near the hotel one morning during rush hour.


VARANASI: Panorama right to left of the area around the cyber cafe I used near the Hindustan Hotel.


VARANASI: Panorama right to left of the area around the cyber cafe I used near the Hindustan Hotel.


VARANASI: Panorama right to left of the area around the cyber cafe I used near the Hindustan Hotel.


VARANASI: Here at the main railroad station a fleet of rickshaws waiting for passengers.


VARANASI: Taking a nap between sales.


VARANASI: Big sale at the street market.


VARANASI: Delivery carts and their drivers taking a noon nap.

 

End

 

 

 


VARANASI: At the "main" Ghat "holy men" sit waiting for clients wanting to be blessed. 


VARANASI: At the "main" Ghat "holy men" sit waiting for clients while boat ride touts and others loiter about.


VARANASI: Where have all the flowers gone? After one celebration or another piles of flowers are discarded. Here, holy cows make this pile breakfast.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing another holy man... What's he doing? Checking his beeper, I think.


VARANASI: Let me take a closer look at that camera. So, I poked it right in his face and tripped the shutter.


VARANASI: A couple more rickshaw drivers wanted to take a close look as well.


VERANASI: Pretty soon, every rickshaw driver in the area clustered around me and my tiny white and orange wonder. What a great device for getting close-up pictures of local people!


VARANASI: Photo taken as these curious men inspect my white and orange gadget. They are not mad, just very curious!


VARANASI: Another photo taken as these curious men inspect my white and orange gadget. Like the others, they are just very curious!


VARANASI: Three mischievous kids got interested in my camera and indicated they wanted me to take their pictures. One turned away, but these two continued to act up for the camera.


VARANASI: Another photo taken as this curious kid takes a close look at my fancy tiny camera. The main problem with my sneaky portrait technique is that hardly anyone ever smiles.


VARANASI: Another guy curious to have a look at my camera. At least I caught him smiling.


VARANASI: More guys curious to have a look at my camera. I do get some strange portraits with this technique.


VARANASI: More guys curious to have a look. I liked the turban on the guy to the right.


VARANASI: Another curious kid. Minutes earlier he smiled; now his expression shows his intense curiosity as I hold out my camera for his inspection.


VARANASI: Another curious kid who fell for my trick of holding the camera close for his inspection. After a while I got pretty good at framing the subject in the center of the picture, unlike this shot.


VARANASI: Nothing wasted. Here are the results of the efforts of little girls who collect cow dung and make patties that are dried in the sun and then used as fuel for cooking fires.


VARANASI: Meet Mr. Supradeep Chandra, sales manager of the Best Western Hotel Hindustan International in Varanasi. After checking many hotels I concluded the Hindustan is by far the best value for the single traveler. At $40-44 and luxury facilities, it is hard to beat. As far as I can tell it is the closest house to the principle tourist attractions, the Ghats.


VARANASI: Milk distributors in the street market near the "main" Ghat. These are the dairymen selling milk to people who use their cupped hand to dip out a sample before deciding to buy... the right hand, but who knows where that has been!


VARANASI: Milk distributors in the street market near the "main" Ghat. Straw is wedged around the lid to keep it in place.


VARANASI: Milk distributors in the street market near the "main" Ghat. These are the dairymen selling milk to people who use their cupped hand to dip out a sample before deciding to buy... the right hand, but who knows where that has been! I think I saw one customer pay 15 Rupees for a liter; that's about 32 cents a quart!


VARANASI: Milk collection and distribution center. I watched this scene for several minutes as people skimmed leaves and other brown things from the surface of milk being sold here. Having worked on a dairy, I suspected anything less than excellent sanitation might not meet my finicky standards here in India.


VARANASI: Even the cattle come down for a dip in the holy river.


VARANASI: Swimming, bathing, boating: it is all here along the banks of the Ganga River in the area of the Ghats, stone stairs leading down into the river.


VARANASI: Motorcycles vie with pedestrians along one of the streets in the maze of narrow shopping alleyways that wind their way through the area adjacent to the river.


VARANASI: Bicycles are a popular mode of transport along one of the streets in the maze of narrow alleyways that wind their way through the area adjacent to the river.


VARANASI: On one of the streets/alleyways along the buildings lining the riverfront. People, bicycles, motorcycles, and cars crowd the way.


VARANASI: The potato seller.


VARANASI: In the narrow, twisting alleyways of the galis people sell all sorts of produce.


VARANASI: In the narrow, twisting galis these guys became fascinated by my camera.


VARANASI: In the narrow alleyways of the galis side streets one see all kinds of traffic; here cows.


VARANASI: In the alleyways of the galis; a typical scene.


VARANASI: Another typical scene in the narrow galis.


VARANASI: Residents mingle with tourists in the twisting galis alleyways; a typical scene.


VARANASI: At the "main" Ghat sellers offer things devotional. The containers are to carry some of the holy Ganga River water back home.


VARANASI: In the narrow, twisting alleyways of the galis I came upon these flower sellers.


VARANASI: More flower sellers in the street market near the "main" Ghat.


VARANASI: Friendly flower sellers indicated I should take their picture.


VARANASI: This is not the picture I intended to take. This betel nut chewer had heavily stained teeth and smiled a lot. The minute I snapped the photo he closed his mouth!


VARANASI: Someone has a great sense of humor... aided no doubt by the hoards of backpackers which frequent this particular part of the river area.


VARANASI: Where have all the flowers gone? After one celebration or another piles of flowers are discarded. Here, holy cows make this pile breakfast.


VARANASI: Where have all the flowers gone? After one celebration or another piles of flowers are discarded. Here, holy cows make this pile breakfast.


VARANASI: Left over vittles from the same celebration I presume, attracts the attention of a stray dog. She decides curry is not to her liking... sniffs, tastes and wanders away. Worry not; nothing here is wasted.


VARANASI: Pigs make a feast of food thrown out after a party last night. A dog earlier refused to eat it!


VARANASI: Pigs are less fussy and make a feast of food thrown out after a party last night. A dog earlier refused to eat it!


VARANASI: This makeshift dwelling formed the background for the pile of flowers and I later noted human forms barely visible in the dark interior watching the strange antics of the foreign tourist with the tiny white and orange "thing" he kept waving around.


VARANASI: One of the hundreds of small "temples" located around the City of Lights.


VARANASI: Part of the one billion Indians crowd streets along the market area.


Philips Key007 Digital Camera Key Ring. This is the little white and orange thingy that attracted so much attention on the streets of Varanasi. All of the photographs on this page came from this little gadget... as did all the pictures taken during my exploration of India and China during 2004.


VARANASI: A typical scene along the banks of the Ganga River in the area of the Ghats, stone stairs leading down into the river.


VARANASI: A street cobbler at work. I stood watching him for several minutes without him taking notice.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing a tout who just asked me if I wanted to rent his boat service.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing how the waiting holy men keep from getting sun burned.


VARANASI: On the steps of a Ghat here showing a gathering of holy men and others.


VARANASI: In one of the alleyways near the Ghats. Here a cow blocks the way.


VARANASI: In the narrow, twisting alleyways cows, bicycles, rickshaws and motorcycles compete for passage.


VARANASI: Street market scenes near the hotel one morning during rush hour.


VARANASI: Street market scenes near the hotel one morning during rush hour.


VARANASI: View from my room #102 in the Hotel Hindustan International.


VARANASI: View from my room #102 in the Hotel Hindustan International.


VARANASI: Panorama right to left of the area around the cyber cafe I used near the Hindustan Hotel.


VARANASI: Panorama right to left of the area around the cyber cafe I used near the Hindustan Hotel.


VARANASI: Panorama right to left of the area around the cyber cafe I used near the Hindustan Hotel.


VARANASI: Cute baby and proud grandfather.


VARANASI: One of the women processing coconut husks for rope. She indicated for me to take her picture.


VARANASI: Panorama right to left of the area around the cyber cafe I used near the Hindustan Hotel.

 

Reference photo: author
 August 2002
 

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