Varanasi, or Benares, or Kashi

Beloved city of our guide – who had been recounting its perfection and spiritual nature for weeks – I had something very different in mind than what I initially encountered: just another very noisy, commerce-obsessed, unbelievably crowded Indian city. It is only on the banks of the Ganges where things get interesting.

Those banks are studded with countless ghats where extravagant Hindu ceremonies take place; its streets full of sadhu – religious mendicants, who didn’t want their photos snapped. I was also requested not to photograph the burning pyres of corpses, and I didn’t; it turns out I don’t need to photograph things I’ll never forget.

Here are some photos I did take. Hope you enjoy them.

P.S. Last night’s overnight train was not grim like the first one; it certainly wasn’t pleasant, but it was tolerable, until the engine broke and we sat still for three extra hours.

All kinds of critters here, including monkeys, but they were too quick for my shutter in the dim light.

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