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Benaras or Varanasi or Kashi :

The great river banks at Varanasi, built high with eighteenth and nineteenth-century pavilions and palaces, temples and terraces, are lined with an endless chain of stone steps - the Ghats - progressing along the whole of the waterfront, altering in appearance with the dramatic seasonal fluctuations of the river level. Each of the hundred ghats, big and small occupies its own special place in the religious geography of the city. Some have crumbled over the years; others continue to thrive, with early-morning bathers, brahmin priests offering puja, and people practicing meditation and yoga. Hindus regard the Ganges as amrita, the elixir of life, which brings purity to the living and salvation to the dead; skeptical outsiders tend to focus on all-persuasive and extreme lack of hygiene. Ashes to the dead, emissions from open drains and the leftovers from religious rites float by the devout as they go about their bathing and ceremonial cleansing.

I took a boat ride on the Ganges soon after sun rise, having bargained with the boatman to take me across the stretch of the River where the 80 odd ghats lined up one after the other, trying to cover all them, which stretched for some 3 km along the west banks of River Ganges from Assi Ghat in one corner to Manikarnika Ghat & beyond...From the boat you can savour the true flavour of the ghats of Benaras…watching from a distance the myriad activities in the Ghats, which had come alive from before dawn.

This was one of the many sadhus (so called holy men) sitting in his 'permanently occupied' place on the ghats. The design of the sun on the cloth behind him, looked more like a halo behind his head...and as his head moved towards the left, it appeared that the halo was displaced. I found this funny enough to take this shot...not an unusual 'Sadhu Picture' :-)) & hence my title!

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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