Photographer's Note

Almost midway in its long journey from the slopes of the mighty Himalayas to the inflamed shore of Bay of Bengal, the muddy waters of the River Ganga (Ganges) flow by a city that is five centuries older than Christ. The city finds mention in the great Indian epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana. It was already an old city when Rome was founded, and was a flourishing center of trade when Buddha came to Sarnath, some 10 km away, to preach his first sermon in 500 BC. It is a city of temples and for more than 2,500 years, it has attracted pilgrims from near and far. According to Hindu belief, Benaras or Varanasi as it is known, is the cosmic center of the Universe.

The numerous Ghats along the bank of the Ganga present a varied scene from dawn to dusk. A ghat is a series of well-paved steps that lead to the water. A ghat in Benaras usually has small temples built into its side, while the larger structures, housing the powerful gods and goddesses from the Hindu pantheon, form a formidable backdrop to the serene beauty of the meandering river. These ghats numbering more than a hundred, with their entourage of temples, form the axis on which the city developed. For centuries, the Hindus considered it very auspicious to bathe at the ghats of Benaras. Everyday at dawn thousands of pilgrims can be seen offering salutations to the Sun God in waist-deep water, secure in their conviction that the muddy waters of the Ganges will wash away all the accumulated sins of their life. The dirt, the squalor, the pollution would easily raise questions in the mind of a traveler and I was no exception. But what is here that attract people from cities and towns 10s of thousands of kilometres away, year after year? Experience yourself, my friends…

This is a perspective along the river and the ghats of Ganga. The two local boys seemed interested with what I was photographing.

Pls do check the Workshop, where I tried my hand in doing some PP to give an ageless feeling to this picture…because the Ghats of Benaras are truly ageless!

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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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